Behind the scenes, artificial intelligence (AI) technology is increasingly present in sales and marketing software.

And many believe that it is not just going to have an impact but that it is going to dramatically reshape how sales and marketing function in the coming years.

Here are four examples.

Chorus.ai helps companies analyze their sales calls

While the phone call is an ancient phenomenon to many individuals, companies large and small still conduct a lot of their sales activity over the phone. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, tracking, analyzing and improving the performance of salespeople on phone calls is a much more challenging task than, say, tracking, analyzing and improving the performance of email sales.

But a number of companies, including Marketo, AdRoll and Qualtrics, are using "conversation intelligence" company Chorus.ai's platform to record sales calls, transcribe them and analyze the content using AI technology.

Currently, that AI technology can identify key points in phone conversations, such as when a potential customer talks about features, reveals a pain point or mentions a competitor. This AI-based functionality can be used to develop market and customer insights, help develop best practices and scripts for sales teams and aid sales managers in mentoring individual members of their teams.

In the future, Chorus.ai's AI tech could be used to display content to salespeople in real-time as a conversation is taking place. For example, if a customer raises an objection, Chorus.ai could surface content that a salesperson can use to address the objection.

Cosabella Lingerie uses AI to boost email revenue

Since high-end lingerie retailer Cosabella Lingerie adopted the Emarsys Marketing Cloud in October 2016, it has doubled its email subscriber base and grown email-driven revenue by over 60% compared to 2015.

Emarsys added an Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) component late last year. It can be used to apply AI technology to a number of email marketing optimizations. Specifically, it offers automatic incentive management, "an AI-driven discount personalization layer that analyzes each recipient’s behavioral history to determine who should receive discounts, and for what amount," as well as send time optimization, which predicts when emails should be delivered to specific customers to maximize open rates and engagement.

Because of the success of its email initiative, Cosabella says that, "The roll out of the Emarsys platform is the next big step in Cosabella’s move into AI integration during 2017."

IBM allows Watson to manage its programmatic ad buying

One of the most talked-about AI platforms is IBM's Watson. But rather than just pitching the software to its customers, the software giant is eating its own dog food, and one of the ways that it is applying Watson to its business is by allowing the AI to manage its programmatic buying of digital ads.

According to reports last year, IBM's use of Watson's AI tech led to an average cost-per-click decrease of 35% and as much as 71%. With IBM spending tens of millions of dollars a year on digital display ads, it's no surprise that the company was eager to make plans to have Watson manage all of its programmatic ad buying by the end of 2016.

"Because of the volume and the dollars involved, trying to save those fractions of a dollar, or fractions of a cent, really matters to us," IBM's VP of marketing analytics, Ari Sheinkin, told AdAge.

Watson's AI is capable of tracking and analyzing vast amounts of data – far more than any human ever could – and learning as it sees more campaign results, which means that despite its apparently already-satisfactory performance, IBM could find that the ROI from using Watson increases even more over time.

LeadGenius brings AI to B2B lead generation

As its name suggests, B2B SaaS startup LeadGenius is in the business of generating leads. Historically, lead generation has been a highly manual process involving human research and categorization, but LeadGenius applies AI to this process to significantly reduce the labor involved, saving customers like fraud prevention solutions provider Signifyd lots of time and money.

John Livett, a sales manager for Signifyd, says that LeadGenius' tech saves him 15 hours each week, hours "that would have been spent trawling Google, LinkedIn, etc."

The AI applied by LeadGenius to the lead generation problem helps the company identify individual businesses and determine how frequently their information should be retrieved based on an analysis of how long information is likely to be reliable; determine whether a company is "in-market" for a particular product or not; and identify buyer roles based on business titles.

LeadGenius also applies AI to MailGenius, a salesperson-focused email client it created. MailGenius uses AI to craft email templates, track performance as responses come in and apply optimizations.

Patricio Robles

Published 22 February, 2017 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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