ABM vs Inbound, AI Gets Past the ‘Hype’ Phase, and the New Rules of Sales Dev

By October 6, 2017
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What's Trending in B2B

This week we are talking about the potential merge between sales and marketing ops, and a debate between the benefits of account-based marketing versus inbound. We’ll also be discussing what sales and marketing teams have to look forward to now that the AI “hype phase” is over. Read on to learn more:

1. Are Sales and Marketing Ops Merging?

Many people in the B2B space have begun to notice that there is a lot of crossover between traditional sales and marketing, and the same may be true for sales and marketing ops teams. According to a recent InsightsSquared blog, as the lines of go-to-market strategies get blurred, ops functions are also seeing a lot of shared responsibility. Part of the reasoning behind this “merge” is the fact that many go-to-market strategies are placing a renewed focus on customer-centric strategies, which fosters more alignment between the teams. Centralized data, analytics and sales intelligence are also playing a role in these shared ops responsibilities.

2. ‘AI is Like Steroids for Your Business’

A lot of our readers are familiar with Jim Cramer, the outspoken host of CNBC’s show “Mad Money.” In one of his recent segments, he had a lot to say about the rise of AI in business, even going so far as to say, “Artificial Intelligence is like steroids for your business … once someone starts juicing, anyone who wants to remain competitive has to jump on the bandwagon.” See the entire CNBC clip below:

In one of our blogs, we talk about Cramer’s point of view on AI as well as several other prominent financial voices who have recently shined a light on AI and its growing influence on sales and marketing. One of these includes a Salesforce report showing that the best-performing B2B teams have already adopted AI at a rate of 2X compared to average teams. Clearly, AI is here to stay and will continue to bring value to B2B teams in the coming years.

3. ABM vs. Inbound?

Although a lot of marketing teams think they have to choose between inbound and ABM, a recent Marketing Envy blog argues that you really don’t have to pick one over the other. In fact, the blogs suggests that the two complement each other quite well, so long as you focus your resources to the correct strategy at the right time.

For instance, ABM works really well if you are going after a specific sales target, but inbound is more appropriate if you are looking to cast a wider net and draw in a lot of leads. Although the two strategies are essentially flipped versions of one another, there is still room to use both in your overall sales and marketing strategy.

4. The AI ‘Hype’ Period Has Passed, So What’s Next?

A recent TechCrunch article said that “2017 has been the year of AI,” but also explained that as the year draws to the close, the overall attitude from the business community has shifted from one of “experimentation and hype” to one of expectation. The article shows that many companies, from small startups to Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google, are looking for winning strategies with AI. However, the article also mentions that 4 key “prerequisites and ingredients” will need to happen in the near future order for AI to continue its growth, including:

  • Proprietary data
  • Team domain expertise
  • Workflow position
  • Degrees of customer value

As AI matures and weaves its way into many sales and marketing functions, companies will need to be more vigilant about expanding their technology and talent in both the B2B and B2C sectors.

5. The New Rules of Sales Dev in an Account-Based World

Sales is changing, and the rise of “account-based everything” has a lot to do with it. In our most recent Funnelfest webinar hosted by BrightFunnel, EverString’s VP of Marketing and Sales Development, Matt Amundson, walks through several ways the rules have changed when it comes to sales development, including:

  • Personalized and human-centric messaging
  • AI for account selection
  • Using every channel available to maximize results

Check it out to see how your team can level up their sales strategy with an account-based approach and AI.

That’s it for this week’s version of “What’s Trending in B2B.” Be sure to tune in next week as we share some of the best stories in B2B sales and marketing!

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