Sales Prospecting and Relationship Intelligence With AI
Originally posted on https://unemyr.com/nudge-prospecting-relationship-intelligence/
With relationship intelligence tools based on artificial intelligence, you can find new customers and get insights into the relationship strength your company has with customers.
Nudge.ai is a company that enables businesses to access new target accounts through their extended network and to analyze deal risk through precise relationship strength measurement.
I got the opportunity to discuss Nudge.ai’s relationship intelligence platform with Steve Woods, the co-founder and CTO of Nudge.ai. Previously, Steve was the co-founder and CTO of Eloqua, a pioneer in marketing automation.
Now, over to the interview!
Steve Woods, Co-founder and CTO of Nudge.ai
What is Your Company’s Background?
After creating the marketing automation category with Eloqua (ELOQ), and post its acquisition by Oracle, Steve Woods and Paul Teshima were looking for their next challenge. Steve and Paul headed engineering, product, and customer success at Eloqua and began to recognize a change in the industry.
Companies with sophisticated marketing engines were now able to surround their buyers. And, with the amount of information available on potential products – as well as an overall proliferation of vendors – buyers often now reach the ‘buying cycle’ with the majority of their decision already made. Pondering on this psychology change in B2B buyers, Paul and Steve set out to understand what lay ahead.
In an environment full of noise, companies must now stand out in different ways. Business buyers are increasingly reliant on peer opinions and referrals – some research even suggests as many as 84% of buyers.
What Problem Does Nudge.ai Solve?
Nudge.ai enables businesses to access new target accounts through their extended network and to analyze deal risk through precise relationship strength measurement.
What Does Nudge.ai do, and why is it Important to Your Customers?
Nudge.ai provides a comprehensive relationship intelligence solution for an organization, from a sales development representative, to an account executive, to front-line sales managers and sales executives.
For Sales Professionals
Target account access
Nudge enables sales professionals to access target accounts through their existing web of relationships. It maps all potential connections within an individual’s extended network – including through collaborators and colleagues – ensuring that they are able to get warm introductions to prospective business.
Nudge provides personalized insights on a person and company that can help spark a conversation. Company news updates gives sales an opportunity to share an interesting point of view. Social media access allows real-time points to engage with a prospect.
Understand and leverage your team’s history
Nudge allows any sales representative to see the entire history of an account or prospect. You can see the strength of all relationships with your company. The company scrapes 3 years of history to determine the strength and depth of all prior connections. This helps avoid missed opportunities or awkward conversations.
The sales development role is successful when the broader team is successful. Nudge ensures that reps can drive the success of their team and avoid missteps that would cause challenges.The platform allows reps to see every conversation their team is having at an account in order to avoid interfering with existing dialogue.
Nudge does away with rigid automated sequences. Instead, it allows users to be in touch with target accounts at least once a month, so that deals grow more organically. Key buying insights on each account, combined with reminders of any that a rep is falling behind on, ensure that key decision-makers continue to be reached.
Avoid single-threaded accounts
Accounts where sales only has one strong relationship (“single threaded”) are high risk accounts. Nudge enables sales teams to identify those accounts proactively, and understand who they need to build relationships with in order to go broader and deeper in order to secure a deal.
Long cycle deals
Long cycle deals are a major challenge in sales. When there is long term interest, but no immediate deal in play, sales needs to stay in touch. They must remain relevant and educate the buyer over time.
To help do that, Nudge monitors long cycle accounts and relationships, ensuring that sales never loses touch. Nudge also allows teams to share powerful messages – that have worked – in order to keep long cycle relationships engaged. The goal is simpler and more effective outreach.
Complete workflow integration
Nudge snaps into existing sales tools and workflow. It enables companies to bring target account lists from CRM automatically and have a daily brief on the best accounts to call on based on recent events. Nudge also embeds into sales automation and engagement platforms, e.g. SalesLoft, Outreach, or CRM platforms for instant, in-context insights.This enables teams to be more effective without changing the tools that they use.
Understand pipeline health
Nudge simplifies deal forecasting by providing visibility to sales as to if they have built relationships with the key people in the buying committee, so that deals can get done.
Nudge gives an accurate assessment of pipeline health – where teams are “single threaded” with just one strong relationship in an account. This enables sales to see where they lack access to the right roles in the buying center – which deals in forecast are most likely to slip.
Improve sales performance
Managing with raw activity metrics gives a poor indicator of performance. Nudge instead shows a team’s ability to grow relationships and trust in each of their accounts.
Analysis can highlight gaps in relationship coverage. Those gaps can be quickly resolved by using Nudge to give sales teams full visibility into the relationships of the entire company, from executives all the way to service professionals.
Rep ramp, rep replacement
Sales rep turnover, whether voluntary or involuntary, is a natural part of sales leadership. Losing momentum in a territory, however, is something that can be easily prevented.
Nudge enables companies to understand exactly where previous reps had relationships, and had been able to gain traction. This allows new sales reps to move into existing territories by starting them with the knowledge and relationships of the prior team member.
How Does Nudge.ai use AI?
Model the world
In order to do what we do, we need to create a map of all of the people and companies in the world. Then we can learn about who has relationships with whom. We use AI to piece together the signals of who everyone is and understand the result in terms of actual people working across different companies. Hence we can create a strong understanding of what relationships exist.
The second way that we use AI is to employ natural language processing and topic modelling to understand the content of over 200,000 articles per day and the mentions of the people and companies within them. Then our users can use those insights to build relationships with others.
In Your Mind, What is the Future of AI in Business and Marketing?
AI is going to make business and marketing more personalized. The fact is that AI can crunch far more data points than any human, which can allow you to trawl through an incredible amount of information and find the right insight to advance a conversation.
But we also need to be wary of over automation. Buyers are already beginning to tire from the level of noise that exists. People are hustling to the extreme, which, combined with the amount of competition that exists, is making people tune out. So AI and technology is not the answer to everything. It needs to be coupled with human authenticity.
Do You Think Marketers Will be Replaced by AI Robots?
AI is going to make it easier for marketers to do their jobs. At Nudge.ai, we don’t believe that we are going to be replacing people, but augmenting their capacity. If we can make the researching and prospecting process faster and deals close more reliably, sales and marketing can spend more time doing what they do best: growing companies. We believe that’s worth fighting for.
Bottom-line, AI is not capable right now of the best attributes of humanity – creativity, self-awareness, empathy, and more. Marketers should double down on these skills and realize that, while AI may automate a ton of data-crunching and other tasks, these core aspects of a marketers’ DNA are ones they should exemplify and build up.
In this interview, Steve Woods gave interesting details on relationship strength management, and how AI-based tools for relationship intelligence can be used for customer prospecting.