The spectrum of marketing performance across companies has never been wider. Some marketing teams are crushing it, while others are languishing.
Data from SiriusDecisions and the DMA show a broadening range of performances across marketing organizations, including email open rates and lead stage conversion. What about CMO tenure? Well, CMO tenure remains the lowest in the C-suite at 3.6 years — that’s just half the average duration for CEOs at 7.2 years. It’s rough out there!
As author William Gibson famously said, “The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.” The evolution of marketing continues at an accelerating pace. Pity the marketer who is unable to keep up with the avalanche of new technologies or the volume of data coming at them. Our data-rich systems, especially CRMs and MAPs, have given us the digital building blocks to dramatically improve marketing and sales performance, but too few of us are truly leveraging this gift.
AI has been looming over marketing for more than a decade, but it has largely been beyond the grasp of most organizations. Historically, data was mostly available in raw feeds, difficult to normalize and meant for data scientists only. Early experiments on using AI to improve lead scoring or identify target accounts were often failures. Vendors made big promises, and marketers bought into the dream. You know the story. But better tools with friendlier interfaces have recently emerged that are really changing the game for AI and marketers.
My team at Fuze is using AI in several specific ways. I want to share three of them:
1) Identify Target Accounts Using Predictive Analytics
We have used AI to analyze several years of account history in our CRM to identify a set of predictive attributes associated with prospects who bought Fuze. We all had lots of opinions about our ideal customer profile (ICP), but it was not until AI that we were able to reach a data-driven answer. Equally important, AI identified a set of account attributes to avoid — accounts where we had long deal cycles and poor win rates. This analysis formed the core of our go-to- market strategy.
2) Engage With Prospects At Scale Using A Bot
Do you ever suffer from “the curse of abundance?” That’s when you have more leads than you can possibly follow up with in a timely manner. It happens here about 10 times a year, usually when we come back from a trade show with thousands of leads. There is no way that our BDR team can get through that many leads in a timely manner, so we turn them over to our email bot. Her name is Natalie, and she is able to follow up with 100% of the leads in a timely manner, with personalized messages that convert leads into meetings at scale.
3) Improve Conversion Rates Via Gift Giving
Like most organizations, our ability to connect with prospects via email or phone is poor. Prospects don’t generally answer their phones or email, but we found that they do respond to a personally selected gift in the mail. Reading through a prospect’s social profiles to select a gift is time consuming for reps, but we successfully automated this process using AI to recommend personalized gifts at scale to thousands of prospects.
For our team at Fuze, AI has been a game changer. We have identified target accounts, reached 100% of our leads in a timely manner and personalized gift giving at scale. The largest benefit has been on sales productivity. AI is freeing our reps from the mind-numbing, yet necessary tasks that distract from the core of selling.
Brian Kardon is the CMO at Fuze and is responsible for the company’s market positioning, demand generation, thought leadership and integrated marketing worldwide. He has 20+ years of experience creating and implementing successful growth strategies ranging from startups to global, billion-dollar organizations. In the past year, Brian was recognized as one of the “50 Most Influential CMOs” (Forbes) and “100 Most Influential Chief Marketing Officers in the World” (Richtopia), as well as one of the “30 Tech Marketing Leaders Changing the Industry” (Synthesio).