In the B2B space companies are quick to agree to a POC, which they expect for free, but then they are reluctant to move forward from there.
AI is everywhere from blockbuster Hollywood movies to front page news. In the B2B software space there is little doubt that AI is one of the hottest trends of 2019-2020. So AI should be the easiest thing in the world to market, right? Well, the truth is that marketing AI is incredibly difficult. The problem is that the media, analysts and even some companies give the impression that AI technology is magic.
The general public thinks (wrongly) that they know what AI is and what it does. More worryingly, they are actually afraid of the technology. People believe that AI is some sort of maleficent conscious technology that is coming for their jobs and to rule the world.
This means that while lots of people are interested in AI and it's easy to generate hundreds of leads every month, it's difficult to generate qualified leads, who are ready to buy your solution now.
These challenges put AI companies in a difficult space. Do they join with the existing narrative about AI ( that AI will take all our jobs etc) or do they stand up to that narrative and offer a more realistic assessment. The challenge with joining the current narrative is that, since everyone is doing it, breaking through and getting noticed is difficult unless you make even more outlandish claims about what AI can do. This leads to a snowball effect where company A says “AI will take all of our jobs in 5 years” then company B says “Actually, AI will rule the world in 10 years” and so forth an so on.
The second option is to stand against the existing narrative. The challenge here is that the company risks looking like their software is just not that advanced. For example, a company says “AI is limited in what it can do. Machine Learning requires too much data and time for many use cases and expert systems based on rules engines are expensive to develop and deploy”. While this statement is true, all of the companies with the Sci-Fi narrative look much more advanced and your company risks looking like it is old technology even if you are actually just being honest.
So you are generating leads who think your technology is something that it isn’t and when you try to educate them, they say “well if your software can’t do that, we will go to company X who says they can”. At the same time, many of the leads you are generating are what I call “technology tourists”, who are only really interested in learning about AI, have no budget, no use case and will never buy.
To cap it all off, AI companies are under pressure to meet aggressive growth goals to appease investors and meet sometimes barely attainable goals. So how do you succeed in marketing and selling AI B2B software?
Know your market. Firstly, you need a fundamental change in your messaging and sales approach. Most technology companies today sell technology. You need to transition to selling solutions. To do this you need to know your customers and your market. We recommend an approach based upon hypotheses and testing. You make guesses about who you want to sell to, and what their problems are, then you test those hypotheses to see if they are correct. At Nituno we offer a specific guided approach for this process.
Generate Demand. Once you know your market and who your target buyer persona is, you can launch an inbound marketing campaign, paid advertising and an account-based marketing approach targeting the specific people you want to sell to and their specific problems. Now that you know your market, you will begin to say "no" to leads that don't fit.
Scale with Automation. Once you have built a clear sales process, you know your market and your have a scoring mechanism in your CRM, you can automate and scale your sales process. The goal is the practice what you preach. AI companies sell automation or process everyday, you need to automate in order to scale your own sales and marketing.
Nituno was founded by the head of sales and the head of marketing at a successful AI company. We know how to market and sell AI software. We've faced the same challenges you do on a daily basis and figured out the best strategies to generate demand, automatically qualify leads and sell faster and better. While there are other sales and marketing agencies on the market, there are no other agencies with an offer specially designed and tailored to the AI sector and built by experts who've been through it before.