A.I.: A hot topic

Artificial Intelligence (AI) started a long time ago and Alan Turing, a famous mathematician and one of the pioneers of AI, helped crack the German’s secret code using Artificial Intelligence. After WII, AI scientists wanted to build intelligent machines — autonomous robots, really. But building intelligence into hardware must be done through software programming and that is very costly. The pace at which software development evolves makes it practically impossible for intelligent hardware to keep up — there would have to be too many iterations of the hardware, again, costly and simply ineffective.

“Can a machine think?”, thought Alan Turing, and that same question has bothered many brilliant minds through these years, resulting in an unprecedented rate of development and innovation. AI technology development and innovation is important in today’s business world, because of how it’s changing, and how it will continue to change, the way businesses and professionals make decisions, especially in the sales and marketing departments. Sales and marketing are important part of the business world because they’re interconnected and interrelated with a much broader range of industries, therefore they’re very important to the health of any organization. The future of sales and marketing professionals will depend on the future development of AI powered technologies and because of the impact it’ll have on their daily lives.

AI technology has been dormant for many years but recently, because of the recent advancements, we hear about it more often in the media, especially in the internet industry. These technological advancements are helping businesses make smarter decisions that ultimately improves the bottom line and increases the stockholder’s wealth. Entrepreneurs and their technology startup companies have realized that they can make money by enabling enterprises to become more profitable using AI-powered tools to take care of the mundane tasks that take away human resources. This way real humans can do the things that have a higher ROI.

AI has been around for a long time but the recent technological advancements make it a hot topic in the business world

Some of the issues surrounding this topic have to do with the fact that technology is advancing at such a high rate of speed that some people fear that their jobs are in jeopardy of being taken by “intelligent machines”. In the last 10 years, a lot of AI start-up companies have emerged, and some of them are focusing their efforts on making the job of sales and marketing professionals easier and smarter. Industry giants like Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Google are some of the companies putting resources into this. Some of the positive impacts it’s having now is that it’s able to make reps more productive by automating mundane tasks of low value like having to log all the emails and calls, and lets them focus their efforts on the things that matter most like having meaningful conversations with potential clients.

Companies like Salesforce are leading the AI revolution with their Einstein ABM (Account-Based Marketing) product (PR Newswire, 2017). Salesforce is one of the internet giants and we’ll known for bringing about a new business model, the cloud-based model and they have the resources available to invest in research and development of new and better tech. Their current focus is to use all the data they acquired through the years, and invest heavily in data science and AI technology to leverage this data and enable businesses to make smarter decisions about their businesses and their processes. In this case, Einstein would help by providing very helpful insights as well as specific next steps for the knowledge workers to be more productive and more efficient by making better of use of their time. According to the marketing software solutions company, Marketo, “Account-based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.” Einstein aims to automate a lot of this process and to make it more efficient.

These changes are slowly making its way into the business world. Part of the reason for the slow adoption is the high-cost associated with it. AI is mostly talked about in the business world, and specifically in the enterprise world because they’re the ones who can afford to implement this technology. This leaves the “little guys”, SMBs like mom-and-pop shops and self-employed individuals, out of the loop. This makes sense because to come up with such complex technology, companies must hire top talent, and this top talent needs to be paid well to keep them, then they must make a product package, then hire a salesforce and sell the product. And even before that, they must get funding (mostly through Venture Capitalist funds) to make the idea a reality. This whole process drives the value and the price of the technology through the roof.

On the other side of the coin, others contend that trying to replace the human mind and put it in a computer software is anti-human. Some futuristic arguments talk about the threat of intelligent machines taking off the earth. For some these arguments seem too far-fetched, because AI scientists and engineers long ago figured out that artificial intelligence is far more effective and efficient in software, rather than in its physical counterpart. If you’re a sales and marketing professional, then the technological advancements with AI-powered technology that are coming for sales and marketing automation should make you salivate because they will give you a change to be more productive and efficient at your jobs — potentially giving you a more rewarding and lucrative career.