Leads are the lifeblood of any business. No business can survive, let alone thrive, without constantly replenishing and growing its customer base. Sales teams are always on the lookout for new leads.
Even in the digital age, the methods available for generating leads are often still depressingly old-fashioned. Firms are still selling lead lists, and gullible companies are willing to pay for them. These lists are notorious for having out-of-date information and dead ends.
Leads are at their most effective when they are targeted – and buying a list of random names and details is the opposite of this.
However, we are now living in the age of machine learning so there are far more efficient ways to prospect for leads. AI can generate leads that sales teams just can’t. Let’s look at two examples.
Get sales motoring along
When someone thinks about getting a motorcycle, they usually imagine summer trips on winding roads with the sun shining on their face. Wintertime in New York, sloshing through the slushy snow, is not the time that you’d imagine customers are queueing around the block to get their hands on a new motorcycle, particularly not one as costly as a Harley Davidson.
And, until two years ago, you’d have been right. Asaf Jacobi’s Harley Davidson dealership in New York was selling one or two motorcycles a week during the winter. That was before Jacobi tried out an AI-powered marketing platform.
The very first weekend Jacobi used it, he sold 15 motorcycles. That’s nearly twice as many as his all-time record of eight – which he achieved in the height of summer. The Harvard Business Review reported that the platform works across Facebook and Google and autonomously optimises marketing campaigns.
After three months, so many leads were coming in the door that Jacobi had to set up a call-centre with six new employees. Leads had increased by 2930 percent.
The AI-powered platform that Jacobi used in his dealership could analyse campaigns far faster and more efficiently than any human ever could. As the Harvard Business Review said, “AI doesn’t need to sleep, so it can do all this around the clock.”
It discovered that adverts with the words “call now” were far more efficient than ones without for its particular audience.
One ad that said, “Don’t miss out on a pre-owned Harley with a great price! Call now!” – performed 447 percent better than a similar ad that said, “Buy a pre-owned Harley from our store now!”
And AI isn’t just applicable to massive companies like Harley Davidson either; it’s got use-cases across many industries.
Ebsta is a London-based company that targets salespeople and helps them with Salesforce, the Customer Relationship management (CRM) software. Ebsta was a small company with a turnover of less than €1 million a year and it wanted more leads to expand its sales network.
Ebsta came across Englue – a company that used AI or machine learning to help the US Navy identify whether a ship was “friendly” or “suspicious” based on analysing its GPS data, historical information and registration data in real-time.
Its founder, Olin Hyde, said that Englue deciphers, “Whether that’s a commercial vessel traveling outside of traditional shipping lanes or a […] destroyer up to something suspicious. It does this by categorising millions of variables to come up with a unique digital fingerprint.”
That same strategy can also be used to find qualified leads for sales managers.
Ebsta handed over their best 100 clients to Englue and it came back with a list of 100 new contacts for Ebsta.
Ebsta founder Bernhard Peters said, “The quality of the information was so much better than anything I’d ever seen. We had names and direct emails and phone numbers of the real decision-makers.” Working that list, Peters saw a 30 percent conversion rate and slashed the time between initial outreach and a face-to-face meeting from 35 days to 10.
More surprising, AI-based marketing company LeadCrunch opened Peters’ eyes to bigger enterprise-level customers. “It matches our culture with any company’s culture, no matter what size,” he said. “From the outside looking in, I would have thought, ‘No way we get them as a client.’ But LeadCrunch found the person in that company who was in sync with our vibe and would be receptive to our product.”
That’s the beauty of an AI-driven system. It allows companies to generate leads because of its always-on nature – and it doesn’t let human nature get in its way!
Do you want to use machine learning for enterprise to take your business to the next level?
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