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Daily and Easy AI - Sales and Marketing

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Artificial intelligence is currently spoken about in “Matrix” style lore. The examples used in news articles are either grandiose or foreboding, depending on the desired editorial spin. Based on what publication you read and the day of the week, AI is either going to send us into the next dark age, or make sales and marketing so efficient, it will not only know what Alexa needs before Alexa knows it needs it; AI will also close the deal.

Red and blue AI pills
The proverbial red and blue pills of the Matrix.

Let’s take a deep breath. AI is not a choice between a blue or a red pill. AI is “tool” like many before, and will be henceforth part and parcel of our daily business lives. Debating that fact or the merit of the technology is an exercise in futility. Learning how to make the most of it in your profession is a must.

That said, and making every effort to use AI ethically, responsibly and with clear and proper guardrails; let’s take the conversation on AI down to practical place, and discuss three concrete examples of what it can do for specific business teams.

Let’s focus today on Sales and Marketing professionals and on these three topics below.

Preparation and Research.

Better than using Google, Bing and Wiki searches. Thank you; that was my TED talk.

Any “President’s Club” Sales and Marketing professional worth their salt knows that preparing before a sales call is not an option or a joke. Knowing the who, when, why, how, problem, want, need; knowing all those facts is job #2. Job #1 is closing the deal, and you can’t get to it without #2. Let’s say it out loud too, research and preparation are tedious work. That is a problem that AI can diminish.

Knowledge is power, and with a simple and short sentence (ok, the fancy word in the industry is “prompt”) and a well-designed AI user interface, a hungry Sales and Marketing professional can turn themself into a knowledge beast. With knowledge in hand, they are in a better position to succeed at their job.

What comes back from AI engines like ChatGPT or Claude AI is not perfect. Neither is what comes out of Google, Bing or Wiki. What is true (at least for now) is that current AI engines return information packaged as contextual knowledge instead of data nuggets buried amidst paid search and advertisement materials.

Let’s say you manage a sales team, and one of your Sales professionals is slated to make or send 50 sales phone calls or emails. Let’s say that on top, they also need to make 10 follow-up voice calls trying to close prospects’ deals.

Using AI, they can most efficiently generate pre-defined scripts for calls and emails specifically generated for each prospect in mind. They can get this done in hour one of a forty-hour week.

Don’t get me wrong, AI is not perfect, so they still have to spot check what comes back before they send or dial, but they will be in a better place to do this more effectively, efficiently and faster.

Even spot-checking AI, adjusting, correcting and making “cosmetic” changes, Sales professionals using AI for preparation and research can easily repurpose 25% of their time from research to true prospecting and closing work.

For the average small business with four Sales professionals, using AI could easily mean $100K/year cost savings, and a top line revenue increase of 25%.

Content Development

Don’t plagiarize work, and hey - It’s not a research term paper; it’s a piece of collateral.

Our elders walked to the local library uphill in both directions after school, for ten weeks straight while in high-school and college, preparing each and every term paper they did. If you are younger, your elders may have told you they used “Cliff Notes” or “Jeeves” to prepare their outlines and gather content for their term papers. If you don’t recall, just ask them during your next family gathering. (Be sure to have popcorn in hand, it’s a great serotonin boost)

As they go on, fast forward them to their 25th year class reunion, and ask them if their teachers told them that the purpose of the term papers was to teach them the research process and methodology. Unless they were engaged in developing the Manhattan project or their PhD dissertation, creating unique original content was NOT the point of the term paper.

We must respect copyright laws and compensate those whose work we copy and use. That said, let’s not get lost on the argument that AI is not qualified to build the next generation space station, or to develop by itself the cure to an illness we yet know.

If you are developing content for marketing purposes AI is more than perfect for the task. I can assure you that in the late nineteen nineties and early two-thousands, when there was no AI, phrases like “next level”, “single necktie”, “one stop shop” and many others were used relentlessly. We survived.

Let’s say that your corporate marketing team has scheduled offsite meeting to launch engineering’s brand-new product. Your corporation has hand-picked six middle to senior level executives, contracted a marketing firm and reserved an offsite conference room to have a full day of work, in order to generate a single draft of the product’s conceptual launch plan.

If you are lucky and by that, I mean that the planets align, everyone has sufficient attention span to avoid answering emails, and manages to agree on a resolution, after 10 hours of repetition; you may have one draft of the launch plan. Maybe a second conceptualized as a “spare” should “the one” fizzle through the subsequent two-month review and approval process.

Using a well-designed AI user interface, the internal marketing team could generate no less than ten complete launch plan draft scenarios in the same amount of time. If you want that comparison in “apples to apples” terms, imagine two internal marketing resources and the other four executives in a two hour Zoom call generating the launch plan(s).

An 80% reduction in cost and time to generate this material is not trivial, and can be the difference between beating your competition, or applying to their job board. I assure you they are using AI, and will be ok so long as they don’t infringe in illegal activity.

Using AI is simply faster than, and as ethical as using the Dewey decimal system (let AI tell you about that one) to do your research. The remaining process, and checks and balances of releasing the content are still the same.

Neo stops bullets
AI can help compete on even keel

For the average small business with two Marketing professionals, using AI could easily mean competing on a leveled playing field with much larger enterprises with substantially larger teams in the same market vertical.

Forget “A|B” testing over two months, you can “A|Z” test in real time, twenty-four times a day.

If you have ever heard the term “analysis paralysis” in the context of Sales and Marketing, you are likely to conjure in your mind, images of Sales and Marketing teams at odds, in endless meetings agonizing over crucial elements like:

• The font chosen for the content (we solved the content conundrum above)

• The color palette of the collateral

• The images, size and placement

• The method of distribution

All of these are crucial.

The source of the agony was simple: once a decision was made, corporations had to live with them for months and sometimes years before making a change. Sometimes because making changes to their collateral, website or apps was difficult, tedious and quite frankly, out of the hands of the Marketing team itself. Sometimes because making changes depended on collecting data, and analyzing it with minima bias was a slow and painstaking process.

AI tackles these two vectors nicely. Instead of creating one collateral or website template at the time, AI can help Marketingn teams act like small armies by building multiple templates at once, contextually and with different goals in mind; inform, motivate, close. Instead of having to choose an image, color combination and font, let AI pick and test several at the time, collect data, analyze it and recommend the optimal combination(s).

Why debate AI and its ability to pick the ONE perfect combination of parameters, as if it had “Matrix” like compute power? Let’s allow AI to contextually recommend choices and validate them, distilling a better answer much faster than any human will. Perfect is the enemy of good enough, and AI is great for this kind of task.

Let’s not forget generative AI images. Again, barring outright copyrighted materials and stealing the likeness of a human, it is materially faster to tell an AI tool like Midjourney, DAL – EE 3 and others to generate an image to your specifications, than it is for a Marketing team to find one that pleases everyone and that they can “shoehorn” their campaign to use.

Last but not least, beyond implicit and explicit targeting, AI has the power to tailor content for audience in an unprecedented way. We are not talking about content tailored for a group of cohorts, or for a specific person; we are talking content tailored for a combination of specific person, device, time of day and likely disposition to buy a fraction of a second before the prospect sees the content.

Any business whose Sales and Marketing teams use AI proficiently can neutralize the advantages that their competitors who don’t use AI may have through size, longevity, market share, and regular resources.

If you want to have an academic debate on the use of AI, go ahead. I would advise to do so while learning how to use it. I learned a long time ago that “time, tide and formation wait for no [one]”, and AI is giving the advantage to those who embrace it. Let’s use AI ethically, responsibly and with guardrails that prevent its misuse.

Blue or red pill, AI is a reality of our day-to-day and it has the power to boost Sales and Marketing teams of all sizes like never before. Even to make an army of one punch above its weight class. Perhaps reason enough for some larger corporations to say “nothing to see here; Neo”.

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