4 Ways to Hack Your Growth With AI

Matt Amundson

The world of business to business (B2B) selling is like a gridiron. In an environment where the needs, goals and plans of your prospects and competitors are constantly changing, it’s hard to know whether to punt or go for the touchdown.

Like deploying a gadget play or the play-action pass, innovations in strategy and technology are often decisive in winning the game. Growth – more opportunities, higher sales velocity and expanding market segments – is the prize of victory and the successful growth hacking tactics of business to consumer (B2C) companies are becoming more popular in B2B.

Regardless of your organization’s size, stage or current position on the B2B playing field, the key to victory is knowing your strategy. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest technological innovation that will give your team the edge. Here are four ways to hack your B2B growth with AI.  

1. Identify a common set of target accounts for sales and marketing

A study of high-performing marketing teams shows they are twice as likely to have a close collaboration with their sales counterparts. Creating a mutually beneficial, collaborative environment for these teams is challenging and for more than half of marketers the biggest barrier is understanding who exactly their target audience is. To avoid wasting time on targets that are a bad fit, you need rich, nuanced, up-to-date insights that go deeper than the usual tip-of-the-iceberg profiles. You need access to the most comprehensive company-level data with tens of thousands of data elements and tens of millions AI-derived signals.

Only this level of insight can truly differentiate the good from the bad targets. According to Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group, “... AI isn’t as complex, scary or confusing as James Cameron and “The Terminator” would have you believe. Many of today’s AI-powered platforms are designed to plug and play into existing martech stacks.”

They can provide access to deep profiles on every company. So, it’s hardly a surprise then to see that Salesforce’s State of Marketing Report shows that 72% of high performing marketing teams have already adopted AI technology.

2. Reduce time spent on research

Prospects expect cold calls and emails to be personalized. But digging up all the relevant and current info on a prospect’s tech stacks, strategies, revenue and hiring momentum is tedious and time consuming. The average sales person takes 128 minutes to find and research prospects before the first contact; this is an awful lot of valuable selling time to invest on research.

An AI platform built specifically for B2B sales teams puts rich company profiles and insights directly at their fingertips, within existing CRM workflows -- this will save significant research time while still allowing for highly personalized outreach.

3. Allow sales to prospect intelligently

When a salesperson closes a great new deal they inevitably wish they could find 10 more prospects “just like that one”. You want to make it easy for her to build on the existing, positive momentum with some hunting while also keeping outbound activities focused on the accounts with the highest fit to your ideal profile.

Self-service AI solutions are the key, because you can’t have sales people waiting weeks, or worse, months to turnaround a new model and target list. To be actionable, the AI to identify net new accounts “just like this one” and score it based on your ideal profile must be on hand with the needed sales intelligence whenever serendipity strikes.

Another way AI helps sales teams to prospect intelligently is through identifying when target accounts and potential new companies may be entering a buying cycle, also known as showing intent.

4. Stay agile

92% of marketers say complete and accurate data is key to understanding their target audience, yet half admit they still have problems getting good data. A time consuming process of collecting and verifying data doesn’t allow teams to react quickly to changes in the market or new opportunities.

AI is a game-changer for truly agile marketing. Self-service AI platforms allow teams to build models in minutes, rather than waiting weeks or months. And models and target account lists can be based on a wide variety of data inputs rather than relying on a single source.

The cutting edge of growth hacking

Today’s sales and marketing players need to rely on applied AI to hack out an advantage. Self-service AI-assisted sales and marketing platforms take on the tedious and time-consuming data-intensive tasks including total addressable market (TAM) analysis and territory planning, daily prospecting and sales intelligence. An AI assist for these tasks makes it faster and easier for your marketing and sales teams to coordinate targeting, reduce research hours and spend more time on intelligent and agile prospecting.

By the end of 2017, nearly half of B2B orgs say they will be using AI to help sales focus on best fit customer, driving efficiency and velocity. If your business is not considering AI to hack your growth and ensure Marketing and Sales spend less time qualifying and more time selling, you’ll be blitzed more often than not on the B2B playing field.

Matt Amundson is vice president of marketing and sales development at EverString. With more than 12 years of sales and marketing experience, Matt has held various positions with organizations such as Red Bull, Marketo and Tibco.