What is the critical element of any business, B2B or B2C? Almost everyone would say – understanding the customer. B2C companies embrace AI, machine learning, and big data to get vital insights about their customers. Personalization became essential for B2C marketers as it provides better RoI.
Customers prefer the same buying experience, irrespective of B2B or B2C. Hence, B2B marketers need to pay attention to AI, ML, and big data to anticipate customer behavior.
A common misconception about B2B
As B2C companies have a more extensive customer base, many believe that AI and ML can apply only to B2C. But this is not the ground reality. B2B companies have an equal opportunity with AI and ML. Every B2B company that leverages AI can provide the best products, services, and business processes.
The potential of AI in B2B
The Global AI market size is to grow at a CAGR of 36.1% during 2021-28, as per a report from Verified Market Research. But only a third of B2B organizations invested in AI for B2B marketing and sales. The scenario is poised to change. Two-thirds of B2B companies are looking for opportunities to invest in AI-based B2B marketing and sales solutions.
The average number of projects considered by companies seems to change. By 2022, Gartner predicts that each organization implementing AI might have around 35 projects in progress. It is a substantial increase from 2020.
AI investments from B2B companies
Many use cases are under consideration by B2B organizations. But customer analytics and personalization stand out in terms of RoI and impact on others. The other process improvement, decision intelligence use cases, may soon transform the B2B operations. The sales and marketing functions in B2B may no longer be the same with the invasion of AI, ML, and big data.
The sales cycle of B2B customers
The buying cycle in B2B does not end in a single click. It is usually longer and more complex than B2C. Customers need more information about the products and services they intend to buy. They prefer to be informed about the updates and changes in the offerings during the sales cycle. Hence, B2B marketers and sales professionals need to understand the nuances of the customers.
A vast majority of customers expect suppliers to foresee their needs. Similar to B2C, B2B customers also expect to be served with the right product/service offering at the right moment. They no longer continue to rely on the magical solutions by sales professionals. A generic presentation for all the customers may not fit the need.
The digital marketing and decision intelligence landscape can transform in no time with AI, ML, and big data. However, the AI application may change depending on the industry and business scenario.
Let us look at the benefits that AI, ML, and big data can offer to B2B companies.
- Enhanced business lead quality
Collating business leads and identifying contact information from social media and other channels is time-consuming. An effective sales and marketing strategy is critical in lead generation and nurturing for B2B companies.
With the advancements in AI and ML, B2B companies can analyze unstructured data from all these communication channels to provide a unified view of the prospects. Also, technological advancements can predict lead quality, further easing the lead generation process.
AI and ML in business development activities reduce manual efforts, improve results, and streamline processes.
- Improved personalization
Analyzing the behavior of current and future clients is vital for B2B marketing and sales teams. A tailor-made marketing strategy not only attracts customers but also improves conversion rates.
With chatbots, you can also automate the messages.
Communication of the specific challenges and solutions tailor-fit brings more personalization to the potential new customers. Sales intelligence also seems to reach new heights with AI and ML.
- Offers relevant content
Content always needs to be changed in these volatile market scenarios. Updating product/service pages, relevant sales collaterals, templates, and other marketing assets is now possible with AI and ML. The process also reduces efforts while staying relevant.
- Best decision intelligence
Unstructured data is exploding in B2B companies too. They need to focus on the predictive analytics from the location, behavioral,and existing customer and prospect database. Account-based marketing and sales decisions need a deeper understanding of the customers, their interactions, and the predictive lead scoring approaches.
By leveraging AI and ML, B2B companies can improve their marketing funnel and quality of insights. Using AI in BI, businesses can make informed choices about their marketing strategy.
- Improvesclient conversion
B2B client conversion is not simple like the B2C that goes in a few clicks. B2B customers go through a buying process with many decisions and approvals. It also depends on the client’s organizational structure. Offering personalized solutions and providing a deeper understanding of the industry simplifies the buying journey.
The perception of the solutions/services in the buyers’ minds is vital. Hence, a tailored experience proves your thorough understanding to retain/convert the clients.
- Enhances client relationships
To maintain existing client relationships, B2B companies need to get a unified view of the web, CRM, financial, and competitor data. It is impossible to include all this data for insights without leveraging AI and ML. B2B companies may unleash the potential of existing client accounts and identify new opportunities with advanced machine learning algorithms.