We are entering an unprecedented era in Sales & Marketing. I for one am truly excited by it, and I hope you are too.
For the last 6 months or so, I have been following varying stories on how AI is going to change, support, augment the role of sales & marketing. From the likes of Node and their fascinating story of how Falon Fatemi is changing the way sales will map their markets. Through to Bombora and their Surge Data proposition to help you understand when your prospects are likely to want to engage with you. Layer in what Hootsuite is doing in helping you manage all of this.
We then have the CRM war reaching it's final battle, and what a battle it is going to be. Microsoft vs Salesforce. First salvo to Microsoft acquiring Linkedin, and we know this hurt Salesforce, they even tried to block the deal. We saw their recent anouncement at Dreamforce to try and counter this by going all in with Google - they need Google's cloud and by proxy, their AI & ML capabilities to compete with Azure. Microsoft now have their combined Sales Navigator & Dynamics 365 offering of Microsoft Relationship Sales . 3rd Party research by Nucleus shows a 12%-15% increase in productivity and accelerated deals. I know that other CRM, including SFDC integrates with Sales Navigator; the analytics you get as a MSFT customer is next level, and only available to MSFT customers. Yes SFDC has Einstein. MSFT has other tricks up it's sleeve such as its ai powered Social Selling assistant which sits in Dynamics 365, supporting Sales Navigator. Will be fascinating to see where they take this.
Referring to the quotation from this article, all of the above is powered by more and more data. CRM Data, Sales Data, Marketing Data, Social Intent Data. All leading us down the path of Predictive Sales analytics and the holy grail of Prescriptive Sales analytics.
BUT. If you are not being lead by your customers data and what they are telling you - which has been the sales & marketing mantra for as long as I can remember, yet so few actually do this - in this AI powered world you are moving into, get this wrong, and it will make life very hard for you, versus those that recognise this and get it right.
After all, the customer is always right. Right?
“If data is not aligned with consumer priorities in mind, organizations will begin at a disadvantage and find it difficult to deliver consumer-centric solutions. The most mature companies – or those that have seen effective AI applications – are those that have grown up with data playing a central role in the way that products and services have been delivered. Companies that are able to capitalize on their data, adapt their business, and stave off competition from smaller organizations will be those that can effectively apply AI.