The sales journey for a b2b company is often lengthy, complex, and downright strenuous. Without the right data to understand buying intent, marketers find themselves running in circles and going through the same motions with their customers. Now, the b2b industry is turning to machine learning for greater insights into each customer lifecycle stage.
Here are some of the ways that machine learning technology is making an impact in b2b marketing technology.
First, let’s understand what machine learning really means
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are common marketing technology buzzwords, and many marketers have a different image that comes to mind when understanding how they work. If you’re picturing human-sized machines typing away at computers at rapid speed, you’ve got a great imagination, but you may be looking a bit too far into the future.
Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that utilizes and learns from existing data to identify common patterns and predict future occurrences. A few common examples of machine learning technology in a day-to-day routine include:
- When a website such as Amazon recommends different items to you based on previous purchases and browsing.
- Spam filters in your email inbox that are triggered from machine learning algorithms.
- When social media like Facebook can recognize a face in an image and asks you if you want to tag the image with someone’s name.
The b2b marketing industry is growing with machine learning
Recent data shows a drastic increase in the use of machine learning technology for b2b marketing. The professional services industry in particular is embracing machine learning according to research. MIT Technology conducted a survey with over 1,400 marketing executives and concluded that the professional services sector was one of the top industries to start implementing machine learning and data analytics.
In the same survey, 58% of marketers have claimed that the methods in which businesses apply their data will strongly influence their potential for growth. Additionally, 64% have stated that companies in the b2b professional services industry will need machine learning to have an advantage over competitors.
Machine learning technology gives real-time data insights
Consider how much data your business has collected over the past several years. There isn’t a logical or realistic way a person could possibly manage all of that information on their own—which is why machine learning is so important.
Machine learning technology interprets and makes sense of existing data, while storing any updates in real-time. This makes it possible to understand current customer behavior and trends, which your marketing team can use when producing relevant content. If your team is using outdated data, it means you’re still focusing on a customer’s outdated needs and interests.
For example, let’s say one of your current customers initially became interested in your business from an eBook you wrote about lead generation best practices. While this may have sparked an interest with them early on, odds are after a few weeks or months they might be looking for new topics. With machine learning technology, you’ll have data that updates as a customer’s behavior on your website does. Then, you can put that data to work and start producing content that appeals to their current needs.
Machine learning helps to predict and identify qualified leads
Lead qualification can be a challenge in the b2b marketing industry. Your company may be generating leads, but how many of those leads are converting over to sales? Without the right data, it’s difficult to fully understand a lead’s potential buying intent and likeliness to convert.
With machine learning technology, your business is able to use predictive analytics to determine which leads will be of the most value in the future. In other words, this technology will use existing data from leads to predict their lifetime value. This information can be based on a lead’s interactions on your website, such as downloading a piece of content or, for SaaS businesses, registering for a free demo.
At Thinkdm2, we specialize in digital marketing and branding, and professional services, in addition to offering solutions within the SaaS and IoT industries. For more helpful resources and strategies for marketing technology, you can find more content from our blog.