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Posts tagged ‘marketing automation’

10 Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Sales

  • Sales teams adopting AI are seeing an increase in leads and appointments of more than 50%, cost reductions of 40%–60%, and call time reductions of 60%–70% according to the Harvard Business Review article Why Salespeople Need to Develop Machine Intelligence.
  • 62% of highest performing salespeople predict guided selling adoption will accelerate based on its ability rank potential opportunities by value and suggest next steps according to Salesforces’ latest State of Sales research study.
  • By 2020, 30% of all B2B companies will employ AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes according to Gartner.
  • High-performing sales teams are 4.1X more likely to use AI and machine learning applications than their peers according to the State of Sales published by Salesforce.
  • Intelligent forecasting, opportunity insights, and lead prioritization are the top three AI and machine learning use cases in sales.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning show the potential to reduce the most time-consuming, manual tasks that keep sales teams away from spending more time with customers. Automating account-based marketing support with predictive analytics and supporting account-centered research, forecasting, reporting, and recommending which customers to upsell first are all techniques freeing sales teams from manually intensive tasks.

The Race for Sales-Focused AI & Machine Learning Patents Is On

CRM and Configure, Price & Quote (CPQ) providers continue to develop and fine-tune their digital assistants, which are specifically designed to help the sales team get the most value from AI and machine learning. Salesforces’ Einstein supports voice-activation commands from Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google. Salesforce and other enterprise software companies continue aggressively invest in Research & Development (R&D). For the nine months ended October 31, 2018, Salesforce spent $1.3B or 14% of total revenues compared to $1.1B or 15% of total revenues, during the same period a year ago, an increase of $211M according to the company’s 10Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The race for AI and machine learning patents that streamline selling is getting more competitive every month. Expect to see the race of sales-focused AI and machine learning patents flourish in 2019. The National Bureau of Economic Research published a study last July from the Stanford Institute For Economic Policy Research titled Some Facts On High Tech Patenting. The study finds that patenting in machine learning has seen exponential growth since 2010 and Microsoft had the greatest number of patents in the 2000 to 2015 timeframe. Using patent analytics from PatentSight and ipsearchIAM published an analysis last month showing Microsoft as the global leader in machine learning patents with 2,075.  The study relied on PatentSight’s Patent Asset Index to rank machine learning patent creators and owners, revealing Microsoft and Alphabet are dominating today. Salesforce investing over $1B a year in R&D reflects how competitive the race for patents and intellectual property is.

10 Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Sales

Fueled by the proliferation of patents and the integration of AI and machine learning code into CRM, CPQ, Customer Service, Predictive Analytics and a wide variety of Sales Enablement applications, use cases are flourishing today. Presented below are the ten ways machine learning is most revolutionizing selling today:

 

  1. AI and machine learning technologies excel at pattern recognition, enabling sales teams to find the highest potential new prospects by matching data profiles with their most valuable customers. Nearly all AI-enabled CRM applications are providing the ability to define a series of attributes, characteristics and their specific values that pinpoint the highest potential prospects. Selecting and prioritizing new prospects using this approach saves sales teams thousands of hours a year.
  2. Lead scoring and nurturing based on AI and machine learning algorithms help guide sales and marketing teams to turn Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) into Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), strengthening sales pipelines in the process. One of the most important areas of collaboration between sales and marketing is lead nurturing strategies that move prospects through the pipeline. AI and machine learning are enriching the collaboration with insights from third-party data, prospect’s activity at events and on the website, and from previous conversations with salespeople. Lead scoring and nurturing relies heavily on natural language generation (NLG) and natural-language processing (NLP) to help improve each lead’s score.
  3. Combining historical selling, pricing and buying data in a single machine learning model improves the accuracy and scale of sales forecasts. Factoring in differences inherent in every account given their previous history and product and service purchasing cycles is invaluable in accurately predicting their future buying levels. AI and machine learning algorithms integrated into CRM, sales management and sales planning applications can explain variations in forecasts, provided they have the data available. Forecasting demand for new products and services is an area where AI and machine learning are reducing the risk of investing in entirely new selling strategies for new products.
  4. Knowing the propensity of a given customer to churn versus renew is invaluable in improving Customer Lifetime Value. Analyzing a diverse series of factors to see which customers are going to churn or leave versus those that will renew is among the most valuable insights AI and machine learning is delivering today. Being able to complete a Customer Lifetime Value Analysis for every customer a company has provides a prioritized roadmap of where the health of client relationships are excellent versus those that need attention. Many companies are using Customer Lifetime Value Analysis as a proxy for a customer health score that gets reviewed monthly.
  5. Knowing the strategies, techniques and time management approaches the top 10% of salespeople to rely on to excel far beyond quota and scaling those practices across the sales team based on AI-driven insights. All sales managers and leaders think about this often, especially in sales teams where performance levels vary widely. Knowing the capabilities of the highest-achieving salespeople, then selectively recruiting those sales team candidates who have comparable capabilities delivers solid results. Leaders in the field of applying AI to talent management include Eightfold whose approach to talent management is refining recruiting and every phase of managing an employee’s potential. Please see the recent New York Times feature of them here.
  6. Guided Selling is progressing rapidly from a personalization-driven selling strategy to one that capitalized on data-driven insights, further revolutionizing sales. AI- and machine learning-based guided selling is based on prescriptive analytics that provides recommendations to salespeople of which products, services, and bundles to offer at which price. 62% of highest performing salespeople predict guided selling adoption will accelerate based on its ability rank potential opportunities by value and suggest next steps according to Salesforces’ latest State of Sales research study.
  7. Improving the sales team’s productivity by using AI and machine learning to analyze the most effective actions and behaviors that lead to more closed sales. AI and machine learning-based sales contact and customer predictive analytics take into account all sources of contacts with customers and determine which are the most effective. Knowing which actions and behaviors are correlated with the highest close rates, sales managers can use these insights to scale their sales teams to higher performance.
  8. Sales and marketing are better able to define a price optimization strategy using all available data analyzing using AI and machine learning algorithms. Pricing continues to be an area the majority of sales and marketing teams learn to do through trial and error. Being able to analyze pricing data, purchasing history, discounts are taken, promotional programs participated in and many other factors, AI and machine learning can calculate the price elasticity for a given customer, making an optimized price more achievable.
  9. Personalizing sales and marketing content that moves prospects from MQLs to SQLs is continually improving thanks to AI and machine learning. Marketing Automation applications including HubSpot and many others have for years been able to define which content asset needs to be presented to a given prospect at a given time. What’s changed is the interactive, personalized nature of the content itself. Combining analytics, personalization and machine learning, marketing automation applications are now able to tailor content and assets that move opportunities forward.
  10. Solving the many challenges of sales engineering scheduling, sales enablement support and dedicating the greatest amount of time to the most high-value accounts is getting solved with machine learning. CRM applications including Salesforce can define a salesperson’s schedule based on the value of the potential sale combined with the strength of the sales lead, based on its lead score. AI and machine learning optimize a salesperson’s time so they can go from one customer meeting to the next, dedicating their time to the most valuable prospects.
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Roundup of CRM Forecasts and Market Estimates, 2012

CShowing signs of growth through 2013 and beyond, the latest round of CRM forecasts illustrate how quickly behavioral and predictive analytics, greater usability, integration with social media and mobility are transforming this market.

Even with the most usable, easily learned CRM systems, enterprises at times struggle with adoption rates however.  That problem has venture capitalists very interested in finding the next Salesforce.com, which a few have told me will look more like Facebook than a traditional CRM application.

Facebook’s future is going to be defined by how well they manage their migration to mobility, and the same holds true for CRM.  Today there are 110 CRM applications in the Apple App Store and 47 in the Android App Store.  Gartner predicts an exceptional growth rate of 500% by 2014 for mobile CRM.  For CRM vendors to get there from here, they need to make usability and streamlined user experience a high priority.

Key take-aways from the latest CRM forecasts and market estimates are provided below:

  • According to Gartner, Salesforce.com’s worldwide CRM market share was 16.7% in 2011, second only to SAP.  Gartner is predicting Salesforce.com will be the leading CRM vendor worldwide by 2013.
  • SAP continues to be the worldwide leader in CRM software sales, with Salesforce.com ascending to second place according to the latest available data. Oracle was displaced by Salesforce.com in 2011, a trend Gartner and independent analysts have predicted will accelerate through 2013.  The latest market share analysis of the CRM worldwide market is shown below from the latest available report on market share.  Source: Predicts 2013: CRM Goes More Cloud, Becomes an App, Has a New Leader and Changes Name.  The following table provides the most recent CRM worldwide market share analysis from Gartner.

Table A Market Share Analysis

  • The role of CMOs relative to CIOs are changing with respect to who is responsible for defining the needs of an enterprise in the areas of CRM, pricing and channel management strategies.  Gartner did a survey on this earlier in the year and found that 72% of the companies have a Chief Marketing Technologist, growing to 87% by 2014.  A slide showing how the differences in marketing-led versus IT-led is shown below.  You can download the entire slide deck from this location for no charge:  High-Tech Tuesday Webinar:  Profile of Marketing as a Technology Buyer.

responsibility in buying cycle for CRM

  • The much-hyped area of social CRM will attain $1B in worldwide sales by the end of 2012, achieving 8% of all CRM spending this year, as Gartner has predicted often this year.  Gartner sees the revenue breakout of this market as follows: Bazaarvoice generating $130M; Salesforce (BuddyMedia, Radian6, Chatter, Jigsaw), $120M; Oracle (Vitrue, Collective Intellect, RightNow and Involver), approximately $45M; Lithium, $45M; Jive, $40M and the revenues of approximately 250 smaller vendors with revenues of less than $2M in 2012 comprising the remainder of the market size. Predicts 2013: CRM Goes More Cloud, Becomes an App, Has a New Leader and Changes Name.
  • Gartner, Forrester and IDC have predicted that cloud adoption rates by CRM subcategory will vary through 2016.  All agree Sales applications will see the majority of net new sales on the SaaS platform.  Of these research firms, Gartner has the most aggressive forecast of CRM SaaS adoption, projecting 50% of all CRM applications will be Web-based by 2016.  Gartner is also predicting 95% of Web analytics applications will be delivered via the Web by 2016, an uplift from the 40% of sales applications delivered via the cloud today.  Source: Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications
  • 30% of sales organizations will issue iPads and tablets as the primary device standard issue for salespeople by 2014. From a personal computing device standpoint, tablets will be the fastest-growing segment, with average annual spending growth of 25% through 2016.  Despite this rapid growth, Gartner predicts that by 2015, only 20% of organizations will have launched dedicated mobile applications for customer service use however.  Source: Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, 2013.
  • Gartner predicts that by 2014, public social media networks will be in use by 80% of sales professionals with only 2% adoption rate of social CRM applications in the same time period. Source: Predicts 2013: CRM Sales.
  • Marketing automation will lead CRM application segment growth with a 10.7% compound annual growth (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a total market value of $4.6B.  Sales will continue to be the majority of CRM software revenue reaching $7.9B in 2016.  The following table provides an overview of the CRM Worldwide Software Revenue Forecast from 2009 to 2016.  Source: Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, 2013.

CRM Software Revenue Forecast

  • Throughout 2013, Microsoft will quickly integrate Yammer throughout the entire Office Suite and demonstrate the value of using social graph databases to increase collaboration.  Many have questioned the decision by Microsoft to spend $1.2B for Yammer.  To see the full value of the acquisition, it’s necessary to get beyond SharePoint and look at the architectural elements of Office itself.  Like Facebook, Yammer relies on a social graph database.  For Microsoft, this architectural approach means they will move very quickly to the cloud in 2013, and also be forced to modify the Office architecture as well.  You can find a presentation from 2011 Yammer produced on their integration strategies at this link:  System of Engagement: Yammer Announces Activity Stream API, Open Graph for Enterprise and Yammer Embed

Social infrastructure services

Source: Microsoft’s Changing Social Software Strategy: Yammer, SharePoint and the Role of Cloud Services Within Office

  •  CRM projects lead by consultants and system integrators (SIs) were completed the majority of time for Oracle installations (26%) down from 35% in 2009.  11% of CRM projects completed by consultants and SIs were based on the SAP CRM application suite with 9% based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Salesforce.com has continued to rise in this area, with 16% of all projects completed in 2012, up from 10% during 2009.  The most common projects were customer service and support at 82%; sales, 74%; customer data, 73%; and marketing, 44%.  Projects ranged in size from $500K to over $10M.  The following graphic shows the percentage of projects by large external service providers by year.

percentage of projects by large external service provider

Source: CRM Applications Deployed by Consultancies in 2012 Show Which Skills Are Prevalent

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