The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Relevant Buyer Experiences

Author: 
Don Matejko Chief Revenue Officer of Showpad

Today’s B2B buyers have higher expectations than ever before, and their criteria for making purchase decisions is evolving. While having a great product at the right price point is certainly important, it doesn’t guarantee success. A study from SiriusDecisions found that 81 percent of B2B buyers today make purchase decisions based on buying experience, rather than product or price.

These modern buyers expect personalized, relevant, and seamless content and experiences throughout the purchase journey, regardless of whether they’re doing research on their own or engaging with a salesperson. But in most cases, sellers are missing the mark. They’re using static, irrelevant presentations that aren’t engaging their buyers, and they’re losing deals because of it. According to Showpad’s New B2B Buyer Experience report, 37 percent of buyers said that sellers provide non-applicable material.

With organizations growing more and more complex, it’s getting even more challenging for sellers to determine what content will help them close more deals. Relying on personal selling experience or informal, tribal knowledge is no longer an effective strategy. Instead, successful organizations are adopting artificial intelligence as part of their sales enablement strategy to better identify and replicate what content works for top performers.

Leveraging AI to Deliver Relevant Content

Content is a key component of a great selling experience. According to research from SiriusDecisions, on average, sales reps use more than 17 pieces of content to enable the selling process. As such, organizations are investing more and more in developing content for all stages of the buyer journey. The Content Marketing Institute found that more than half of organizations have increased their spending on content creation in the last 12 months.

As a result, sales reps at many organizations have access to large, perhaps even overwhelming, libraries of content to help them move deals forward. However, in most cases, reps turn to the same assets time and time again simply because they’re familiar and comfortable with the content.

While a rep’s “tried and true” content may be relevant to some buyers, it’ll fall flat with others. After all, there are a variety of factors that determine whether a given piece of content will resonate with a given stakeholder, including job title, organization size, industry, geographic location, and deal stage to name a few. With so many factors to consider, it’s challenging for a rep to determine what content will make or break a deal. But artificial intelligence is making it a lot easier.

Rather than a rep depending on past experience, AI provides her with content recommendations that are proven to be successful in similar situations. For example, perhaps a sales rep is working with a Senior Marketing Manager at a medium-sized medical device company based in the United States. Fueled by data, AI tools will recommend a piece of content to the rep that is correlated with positive outcomes in similar selling situations. Then, the rep can use these recommendations to deliver content that’s relevant to a specific stakeholder’s needs and interests.

Powerful AI Is Powered by Great Data

AI can be a powerful component of a strong sales enablement strategy. It enables reps to deliver better, more relevant experiences, which leads to more closed deals. But AI is only as powerful as the data it’s built on. An all-too-common trap many organizations fall into is focusing solely on the algorithms behind their AI and neglecting the importance of building the data that fuels it. After all, an organization can develop airtight algorithms, but without data to drive it, these algorithms are meaningless.

In order to build successful AI tools, companies must collect a lot of data to understand how sellers interact with buyers, and how both buyers and sellers interact with content. The good news is, AI gets smarter and more powerful with time. As companies accumulate more and more data on how seller interactions, content recommendations become even more relevant.

B2B buyers have come to expect engaging, relevant content and experiences, regardless of where they fall on the purchase journey. Thanks to artificial intelligence tools, it’s getting easier for sales reps to deliver content-driven experiences that are proven to resonate with buyers and move more deals closer to the finish line.