Getting Started with AI: Giving Industrial Marketers an Edge (Part 1)

Eric Severstad
Posted by Eric Severstad on December 5, 2023
getting started with ai

We’re at a pivotal moment when it comes to digital technology. Artificial intelligence isn’t just an option, it’s a fundamental shift in how businesses operate, and it’s revolutionizing sales and marketing for businesses in industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Weidert Group president, Greg Linnemanstons presented “Artificial Intelligence: How Industrial Sales & Marketing Teams Can Leverage its Power” at Manufacturing First Expo & Conference in October 2023. His talk addressed how industrial businesses can properly leverage AI to save time, improve quality, advance innovation, and enhance the human experience.

While AI's overall role in enhancing productivity and efficiency continues to grow, AI’s current use among industrial sales and marketing professionals is largely unknown. That’s why we’re conducting an ongoing survey (see details below to participate) of manufacturers on the state of industrial sales and marketing.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a 3-part article series. Because the series focuses on artificial intelligence, AI was used to assist in writing this article. A PDF of Greg’s presentation was loaded into ChatGPT Plus for summarization. As is best practice with all AI-generated content, a human reviewed and edited AI’s results (in this case, a professional writer at Weidert Group).

AI for Industrial Marketing & Sales: Survey Results (the expected and the surprising)

To conduct our survey, we partnered with a vendor, Databox, a software company that helps businesses improve their ability to see their data in real-time and draw meaningful insights. Among other business development questions, we wanted to see where industrial professionals are when it comes to their use of AI for marketing and sales activities.

Before jumping into results, know that in Part 2 of this blog series, you’ll learn about specific AI tools used for marketing; Part 3 will cover AI tools used for sales (subscribe to the blog here to ensure you don’t miss them). That’s why the following results are broken into those two categories: marketing and sales.

Here’s the big picture takeaway from our survey: More than half of the respondents to date are already using AI tools for sales and marketing. AI’s reputation is mostly as a content generating tool (“ChatGPT writes like a person”), yet the survey shows people understand at least some of AI’s vast capabilities that extend beyond writing copy.

Percentage of Respondents Using AI Tools for Marketing:

  • Content generation: 59%
  • Video generation: 8%
  • Image generation: 12%
  • SEO: 46%
  • Web development: 28%
  • Audience intelligence: 5%
  • Chatbots: 26%
  • None: 19%

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Percentage of Respondents Using AI Tools for Sales:

  • Call transcripts: 24%
  • Lead scoring: 15%
  • Pipeline analytics: 16%
  • Outreach sequences: 22%
  • Sales assistants: 35%
  • Conversational training: 8%
  • None: 31%

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To us in the industry, it’s no shock that marketing professionals have embraced AI tools a bit more quickly than sales. AI offers immediate benefits for marketers: automating repetitive tasks, providing data insights, and enhancing creativity in marketing campaigns, while sales leans heavily on tasks such as forecasting and predicting which leads are most likely to convert.

From AI's role in customer engagement to generating content, the range of use cases is broad and impactful. Plus, in general, AI easily integrates with other tech platforms, demonstrating the growing synergy between AI technologies and established marketing platforms.

You’re invited to participate in our survey, The State of Industrial Sales & Marketing. You’ll instantly and anonymously be able to see how other industrials are aligning their teams, what tools and AI they are using to stay ahead of the competition, how often they report on performance, and much more.

Getting Started with AI

Yes, more than half of survey respondents are already using AI tools for sales and marketing. Yet, nearly half are not, and that could be problematic (sooner rather than later because your competition is gaining an advantage).

So, NOW is the time to get started with AI, and here are some tips:

  • Human oversight is key to all AI-generated content — never (and we mean NEVER) publish something directly that AI has created for you. You still must review, revise, and verify
  • Although some AI tools “teach” you how to prompt, the engineering of prompts remains important; “garbage in, garbage out”
  • Integrate AI with your sales and marketing platforms to streamline your revenue operations
  • Start with high-impact use cases and gradually scale
  • Train staff on effective and ethical AI utilization
  • Make data privacy and security a priority — never upload any identifying information or intellectual property to an AI tool

Why Bother with AI? 

Not convinced you’re ready to get started with AI? Consider how it helps boost the performance of low performers and how humans/peers who use AI will replace those who don’t.

According to research by Harvard Business School, employees using ChatGPT significantly outperformed those who did not. Results show a 25.1% increase in speed, over 40% improvement in output quality, and 12.2% had more tasks completed.

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Source: Navigating the Jagged Technological Frontier. Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group

Now that you know the transformative potential of AI in industrial sales and marketing and know how to get started with AI, there’s no excuse! Follow our tips and begin effectively integrating AI tools to gain competitive advantages. Watch for Parts 2 and 3 in our series to see specific AI tools for marketing and sales you can begin using now!

Are you a marketing and sales professionals at an industrial/manufacturing company? Participate in our The State of Industrial Sales & Marketing survey. You’ll see how other industrials are aligning their teams, what AI tools they’re using, and how they report on performance. Click the link below to access the survey.

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Topics: Marketing Technology, Artificial Intelligence

click here to take the state of industrial sales and marketing survey