The modern business landscape is characterized by one aspect above all others. In simple words, that is the constantly changing nature of business environments. Every few years, powerful technology emerges that disrupts and transforms workplaces forever. In turn, as this technology grows, it gives birth to even more powerful technology, leading to another transformative change in the near future. Perhaps one of the greatest game-changers of our time is advancements in Artificial Intelligence technology and its ready applications in business functions. Potentially, AI can do basic human tasks, such as offering information on a Spectrum bulk account or logging a complaint about poor customer service at Chucky Cheese. But by far, one of the most important areas of AI application is lead generation, which this blog explores in detail.
How Artificial Intelligence Helps Businesses Generate More Leads
Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. Naysayers and doomsday conspiracy theorists will tell you that artificial intelligence is a potential threat to human extinction. Personally, we believe they’ve taken movies like Terminator and 2001: A Space Odessey too seriously. Can an AI like SkyNet emerge and trigger a nuclear apocalypse as it becomes self-aware? That is unlikely by any stretch of the imagination. At the very least, for the next few decades, AI has a long way to go before it can actually reach somewhere near that level of intelligence. So you don’t have to worry about killer machines from the future showing up at your doorstep.
The same principle applies to AI in business settings. It is very unlikely that AI will completely take over processes and eliminate key human players from the game. Remember, AI is still a relatively new technology that is in its early stages of infancy. Yes, it has massive potential and is in fact widely in use in many businesses and industries, but it is still not powerful enough to become completely autonomous. That is why humans and AI will need to work together, both accomplishing more together than either could alone. In the all-important lead generation function, which is a crucial part of any business’s customer acquisition efforts, AI is helping in the following ways:
- Saving Time And Money
- Faster Responses At All Times
- Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences
- Acquire Better Quality Leads
- Convert Leads Into Sales
- Data-Driven Customer Retention
Let’s examine these areas in more detail below.
Saving Time And Money
Artificial Intelligence systems don’t necessarily have to be high-powered software custom-built to your business specifications. There are plenty of off-the-shelf AI applications that cost virtually next to nothing and still give you a powerful ROI on using them. A good example would be Facebook’s chatbots. These are a very basic form of AI, allowing you to program responses to specific queries. An AI does not have to come with a complicated algorithm to benefit your business. AI software like chatbots can handle customer queries on your social media pages and websites, for a far lower cost than human resources. Moreover, it frees up those human resources to sort through the leads it generates, and work on nurturing them with a more personal touch than the chatbot can manage. The output generally results in a more cost-efficient way to acquire new customers through leads.
Faster Responses At All Times
This is another aspect where even simple Artificial Intelligence like chatbots can help businesses significantly. Unless you’re offering 24/7 customer service or support, the chances are customers can only reach your business during business hours. Of course, in a world built on impulse buying, even a few minutes’ delay can mean a lost customer and lost revenue. This is where chatbots are so useful, in that they can handle incoming queries and chats all around the clock, 365 days a year. Faster responses are more likely to keep the customer engaged, so even if it takes a while for a human representative to get back to them, the AI can still qualify them as a lead.
Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences
Unless you hold a monopoly over your industry or niche, the chances are good that your brand competes with dozens, if not hundreds, of other brands selling similar products or services. This is why it is so important to establish a brand identity that connects with your audience and potential customers. One good way to stand out from the competition is to offer a personalized customer experience to every customer or visitor. Of course, until a few years ago, the sheer number of customers or website visitors made this virtually impossible. However, advances in cognitive programming and machine learning have made the numbers irrelevant. AI can be programmed to recognize returning customers, track browsing data, offer personalized suggestions, and even retarget them on other websites and platforms.
Acquire Better Quality Leads
Acquiring leads is one thing, but sorting through them to separate the more promising ones from the others can be challenging. Human workers would have to painstakingly sort through each lead interaction, using facts as well as their own judgment to identify which leads are worth further cultivation. After all, no sales rep wants to waste time on a poor or shaky lead when the same time can be spent towards converting a more promising one. Luckily, Artificial Intelligence can not just generate leads, but also sort through them to identify the ones that should be prioritized. It does so using neural networking, understanding textual cues in a conversation that helps it rank a lead in terms of quality. This doesn’t just save the sales team time, it also ensures the most effort goes into the best leads first.
Convert Leads Into Sales
While most businesses are content to use AI to simply handle incoming leads, you can also go several steps beyond that. Namely, there are very real applications of AI for not just generating leads, but assisting in their conversion to paying customers. This type of AI operates with a focus on generating as high a conversion rate as possible. Making use of automation, predictive ability, and language processing, the AI can target and retarget promising customers with appealing deals. Using its superior ability to calculate many variables at the same time, the AI is able to determine the right deal for a customer with a higher likelihood of successful conversions.
Data-Driven Customer Retention
Acquiring new customers is how businesses grow, but retaining the customers they have is how they stay in business. Businesses need to give due importance to nurturing and maintaining their existing customer base, and this is an area where AI can be particularly useful. It can be used to deliver personalized messages, deals, and content to individual customers. This creates a sense of value in your customer’s minds, you will likely appreciate getting personalized attention. For example, an AI could target an internet-only customer with an exciting promotion on Spectrum TV packages prices, encouraging to bundle services or switch providers. With the right targeting, you can continue to generate repeat revenue from your existing customers, as well as acquiring new ones.