AI for sales and marketing: Relevant or creepy?

There is still a lot of talk about the pros and cons of adopting AI. One of the primary pieces of that conversation is personalization. With the advent of AI, marketers are moving towards mass personalization and mass hyper-personalization. But the key question is – is it relevant or creepy?

Imagine this scenario: You are on a beach, and you see the waves that are approaching towards you. What you often easily spot is the bigger waves – they arrive, you are ready for it and there’s no surprise there. But what takes you back is the smaller wave that just follows, which you didn’t account for.

Now, apply that analogy when you use AI for sales and marketing. Are you accounting for the second wave? Are you using AI effectively and sensibly, so as to not freak out your customers but delight them instead?

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Know what to look for

At Fiind Inc., though we are very sure of the quality of insights our AI sensors pick up for our customers, especially in identifying their prospects, we very meticulously conduct workshops with our customers to identify the best signals that suit their customers. Unless we discover the right signals, you will invariably be looking at the wrong insights and interpretations, leading to bad intelligence.

For example, if you are selling cloud solutions – you need to first know whether your prospect and their company is oriented towards the cloud, if your product is the right fit for their tech stack, are they showing any signals of being in the sales cycle such as experimenting a trial version of a competitor, etc.

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Integrated and extended, these insight components could propel your sales pitches, content, ads and more in a personalized manner than prospects are accustomed to. A significant difference, between coming across as creepy and relevant, depends on how to build a conversation using the insights you have gathered. Therefore, augmentation is key.

Data regulations too are making it creepy-proof

However good your AI models are, the results are going to be only as good as the quality of data that goes in. This means, the relevance of marketing messages or sales pitches depend on the quality of sales intelligence, which in turn is again proportional to the data quality. Today’s B2B marketers realize that and have data stewardship programs in place.

However, regulations such as General Data Privacy Regulation are making data quality compliance the new normal.  That regulation is particularly important for companies with a significant presence in the European Union or has customers or partners in Europe.

What this means of keeping customer conversations relevant is – business cannot be attempting unsolicited communications with prospects, without their permission. Customers or prospects need to permit organizations to use their data and also have the right to know how their data will be used by these companies. Also, these companies are thereafter responsible for the security of customer data. And in case of discrepancies found, companies can be fined up to 4% of their annual revenue.

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So..technology is always going to keep moving ahead, be it AI or blockchain or IoT. And we as marketers and sellers will evolve too, as we continuously move along with our customers and prospects. However, there will be hiccups and regulations, address that precisely.

About the Author

Yaagneshwaran is among the top 100 global martech influencers, an author, columnist and also the Director of Marketing at Fiind Inc. He has a certificate in Strategy Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode and an MBA in marketing from Jansons School of Business, Coimbatore.

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