ABM and AI: Friends or Foe?


The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies is inevitable and necessary to achieve the potential of account-based marketing (ABM). However, I consider technology to be more of an enabler of ABM, while the driver always remains the same – enhancing the customer experience by helping clients sustain and grow their business in this dynamic digital era. The goal is not for AI to make marketing decisions but to enable marketers to make better decisions by leveraging the strength of AI in analyzing a large amount of data quickly to share action-oriented insights. 

AI can be a friend or foe, depending on what decisions we make while evaluating and implementing AI. Following are key questions organizations should answer before deploying an AI-based marketing strategy.

What are the business goals? 

When we implement or strategize ABM, we align our decisions to business goals. Investing in AI decisions should be driven by your ABM goal tied back to business goals, not the other way round.

What do you want to accomplish with AI-backed ABM? 

The benefits of AI are immense; a few are known, some are still to be understood and others will develop over time as AI becomes part of our daily lives, interactions and processes for delivering superior client experience. 

Five key areas where I see AI enabling ABM to scale and also drive value in how organizations engage clients for sustainable and profitable growth are:

  1. Effectively and efficiently scale ABM: AI is helping ABM scale effectively in a true sense. Here’s why. Building and delivering a truly personalized insightful experience for 8-10 accounts is feasible. But as you grow that number to 50 or 100, it’s hard to build relevant messages and campaigns without more in-depth knowledge on the account. No human can cost-effectively do that much research. And that’s where AI-supported ABM can deliver the one-on-one experience at scale — by converting data into insights and action.
  2. ABM account selection: AI helps add a new layer to account selection, helping drive better decisions based on predictive analytics and modeling. These insights can give marketing and sales greater confidence in terms of zeroing in on which accounts have the propensity to buy from your organization and not just propensity to buy based on their IT budget, technologies they are evaluating, emerging technologies they are inquiring about, etc.
  3. Creating trust between marketing and sales by solidifying the customer relationship: AI will power personalization, which will help organizations better connect with customers as a trusted partner. This dynamic can accelerate revenue generation, enhance digital reputation and deepen client relationships. As marketing delivers results, the trust with sales will continue to deepen.
  4. Personalizing content at scale with precision: Personalizing content is crucial for a successful ABM program. AI can help accelerate and scale this process. With the right data, marketers can understand the customer persona and create hyper-individualized experiences in real-time at scale — much faster and accurately than ever before.
  5. Automating engagement in real-time: AI will help marketers understand the customer journey by covering digital footprints and automating engagement, ensuring more relevant and real-time customer interactions. 

What budget do you have, and what percentage of that would you apply in implementing AI? 

Implementing new technologies can be tricky. So the best way to do it is to start small and then test, scale, rinse and repeat. Keep it agile for better results aligned to your business goals.

What is good or trusted AI? And why is it important? How responsible are you while putting AI into practice? 

The power of AI is far beyond what we’re capable of knowing today. Building a human-centric, trusted society is our responsibility. How and where we apply AI today will define the future for tomorrow. So we need to be very careful and follow ethical guidelines in implementing AI in business or to scale the power of ABM.

So the question is not really about high-tech, but rather about high-intelligence or meaningful touch. AI needs to be integrated at every interaction layer with the target account to make ABM successful. But the value must exist alongside good old-fashioned human knowledge, experience and intuition. No amount of technological ingenuity can replace that foundation.

Anamika Gupta is director, head of customer marketing at Fujitsu America, Inc.

Get the latest news and updates delivered to your inbox