This article was originally published on the OpenView blog by Sean Zinsmeister, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Infer.
The hype around AI technology is at all-time high, with the market forecasted to reach $37 billion by 2025. In sales and marketing, the potential for 10x conversion rates and accelerated growth from AI-driven predictive analytics is enticing. But what’s really possible and what’s still in the distant future?
Sales and marketing are ranking in the top three markets most heavily affected by the boom in AI investment, according to sources like CB Insights and O’Reilly Media. Industry giants are announcing more AI plays—Salesforce acquiring Metamind and launching Einstein, or Microsoft rolling out Dynamics 365 with AI technologies Cortana, PowerBI, and Azure Machine Learning.
However, there’s a disconnect between what AI can do and what customers and investors expect. Buyers of AI-powered tools aren’t always familiar with the underlying technology, nor do they know which vendors can deliver on promises of accurate and useful predictions.
Predictive Analytics vs Other AI Technology
In sales and marketing, predictive analytics is a type of AI that has gained impressive momentum in recent years. Companies use this technology to predict which leads will become customers based on traits or behavior that indicates their likelihood to buy, then make decisions on how best to pursue those opportunities.
Predictive analytics isn’t the only type of AI used in sales and marketing applications, but it is where a majority of innovation is happening today. Although it’s easy to be enticed by the idea of fully-automated AI workflows or robot virtual assistants that are powered by deep learning and natural language processing (NLP), those technologies aren’t yet ready for implementation on a large scale. Predictive analytics offers tools that work now, making decision-making easier for startup sales and marketing teams who are increasingly inundated with data.