Talking to inanimate objects is now socially acceptable, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) permeating most areas of professional life.
AI’s impact is worth paying attention to — like now. Generative AI is expected to increase marketing teams’ productivity by up to 15% of total marketing spend, according to McKinsey and Company. Forrester also predicts that the market for AI-powered platforms will grow to $37 billion by 2025. So today is as good a time as any to amplify your workflow with the power of AI-assisted technology.
If you want to learn the ropes, let us be your guide. After reading this article, you will understand how AI is reshaping marketing, sales, and service, why it is beneficial, and the best AI tools to try.
What’s happening with AI and why should you care?
Remember when the iPhone blew up everything a cell phone could be? Similarly, AI is shaking up how marketers, salespeople, and customer experience reps ideate, plan, execute, and even delegate their workflows. In fact, there are 4 billion AI devices out there right now and over 7,000 AI tools were released in 2023 alone.
But what exactly does ‘artificial intelligence’ mean, anyway? We like this definition of AI:
“AI is a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with an environment, problem-solving, and even exercising creativity.”
— McKinsey and Company
Interestingly, AI isn't that new. The field has been around since the 1950s, and robots, even chatbots, since the 1960s.
To be clear, AI isn’t the same as automation (though it can be part of it). Because AI doesn’t just do things — it “thinks.” Only in the last few years has AI developed capabilities comparable to humans, like language processing and human recognition. Put another way: today’s AI performs skills once ours and ours alone. Everyone, play it cool…
In speaking with our clients, we’ve found attitudes toward AI fall into three camps:
- The fearful, those resistant and terrified at the thought of being replaced
- The fans (or early adopters), who are intrigued and willing to experiment, and
- The fence-sitters, those kicking back to see how it plays out.
But no matter which one you identify with, you can’t dispute the truth: AI offers countless opportunities to enhance business value. 91% of business decision-makers believe AI is critical to their organization's success.
Marketers, we know you want to reduce the time and resources required to create content and push campaigns live. For Sales, closing leads is always the top priority, but what about all the admin? Not so much, right? And we get that, too. As for customer experience teams, the faster tickets get resolved, the happier you and your customers will be.
The good news is AI can help you achieve all those things and more.
So what are the perks of AI for marketing, sales & service?
Believe it or not, AI is remodeling how jobs get done for the better. Not only does AI enable individual and team efficiency, your business also reaps the rewards.
You are probably unaware of the frequency at which you interact with AI. Speaking with chatbots and voice assistants has become second nature for most of us, so using AI in your workflow should hardly feel like a reach.
Here are a few benefits of AI for marketers, salespeople, and their businesses:
Some experts speculate that ChatGPT will quickly overtake Google in finding answers to search queries. Until then, AI can provide quick rundowns on almost any imaginable topic, pinpoint the sales data you want, generate ideas, and help you decide what to do next.
Streamline content creation
AI tools for marketing are great for stimulating creativity. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, marketers can turn to AI to help them brainstorm and generate ideas independently and as a team.
One of the most promising and hotly debated use cases in AI is content creation, like videos, blogs, and emails, and how it speeds up creatives’ production process. Notice we didn’t say “replace”? Think of AI as a means to augment your workflow, and you might just 10X your output. We actually debated it over on our podcast, Under the Hood:
Work faster, not harder
Leave lower-value tasks to AI, and it can increase both your efficiency and effectiveness. By letting AI expedite research, brainstorming, report creation, or whatever else is on your plate, you will have an easier time reaching your goals. Now you can deliver better results, faster.
For instance, we are seeing a massive uptake in the creation of digital twins — AI avatars that are increasingly lifelike, thanks to advances in computer graphics and AI. Essentially, you can delegate product demos, onboarding, and training programs to your “twin” while you concentrate on the important stuff.
Which brings us to the best bit…
Deliver more business value
AI offers great gains for every professional in sales, marketing, and service. With all the time AI saves, you’ll be able to apply yourself to higher-impact tasks. You can go hard at closing sales or go deep into attribution analysis. You can apply deeper thinking when strategizing creative campaigns. And you can work at delighting customers while improving your efficiency. What’s not to love?
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The best AI tools to streamline your workflow
Used strategically, AI tools can make your job easier and more impactful. But with new AI-driven tools released daily, it can be tricky to tell the good from the bad.
So before you rush into adopting AI, ask yourself what you’re looking for in an AI tool. Then, see which of these AI-powered content creation tools and assistants suit your requirements:
AI-powered content creation tools
- Who it’s for: Marketing and Service
- What it does: Produces almost life-like avatars that host videos
Who hasn’t wanted to clone themselves at least once? Well, now you can.
Synthesia is an AI content creation product that produces customized videos and voiceovers in over 120 languages without needing acting talent. However, if you want to star in your videos, say to deliver internal training, you can create a “digital twin” — your custom AI avatar resembling you.
This tool might seem reminiscent of deepfakes, except digital twins can’t impersonate anyone. Synthesia says explicit consent is required from the person to make them into an avatar. With appropriate use, digital twins can save hours delivering information and training for customer service, marketing, HR, and more.
- Who it’s for: Marketing and Sales (to a lesser extent)
- What it does: Creates stunning richly-colored visuals
Many of us know the disappointment of attempting to reproduce an idea from our mind’s eye, only to have it fall drastically short of expectations. Fortunately, the generative AI program Midjourney puts an end to the struggle.
Put simply, generative AI works by producing content in response to users' text prompts. Take an idea, type a good AI art prompt into Midjourney, and be amazed. You can use the generated artwork as is, have it represent early-stage concepts, or let it inspire an entirely new creation anywhere you want to have beautiful images. The program also comes in handy for sprucing up pitch decks.
We have actually tested Midjourney here at Salted Stone. Our Design Team, who are never short on creativity, identified an opportunity to produce eye-catching graphics for a subject matter that is difficult to photograph. A Salted Stone client supplied a not-so-amazing product image, which we enhanced with a touch of AI magic.
3. Adobe Firefly
- Who it’s for: Marketing
- What it does: Enhances your images as if by magic
Adobe Firefly helps creators enhance their work with generative AI built into the tools they know and love — Illustrator and Photoshop.
Firefly’s AI-driven tools might be new, but they already deliver impressive results. For example, you can swiftly colorize imagery by plugging a few prompts into Adobe Illustrator. Or, play magician on Photoshop, and add, remove, and extend content from your images through prompts.
Take a look at these before and after images. Can you spot the difference?
On the right, our Design Team used Photoshop to lengthen and recolor the worker’s sleeves in line with local health and safety laws. Their inventiveness rescued the original photo from the trash which made it usable for an upcoming campaign. This shows that AI content creation tools are only as good as the imagination it interfaces with.
1. Atlassian Intelligence
- Who it’s for: Marketing, Sales, and Service
- What it does: Saves time on sharing and sourcing information
This one is a little sneak peek! Collaboration sits at the heart of Atlassian’s tools, like Jira, Confluence, and Trello, and the inclusion of AI aims to make the process even simpler.
For now, we know Atlassian Intelligence — a proclaimed ‘virtual teammate’ — aims to streamline teams’ workflows by delivering contextual information. That looks like summarized meeting minutes through to pitch-perfect email responses. Here, the output depends on the prompts you supply.
There’s a way to access institutional knowledge as well. Instead of tapping a team member to check a campaign launch date, for example, just put the question to AI — it will know. And for times when you stumble across internal jargon, Atlassian Intelligence brings you up to speed in a couple of clicks. We think sales, marketing, and service teams will love it!
2. HubSpot Content Assistant and ChatSpot
- Who they’re for: Marketing and Sales
- What they do: Streamline task speed and quality
HubSpot has delivered a two-for-one special. First up: Content Assistant, HubSpot’s answer to AI-powered content creation. With it, write social copy, marketing and prospecting emails, blog outlines, and the list goes on. The intuitive user experience on the platform makes learning the tools a breeze.
ChatSpot is a ‘conversational CRM bot’ using Open AI’s GPT model to help increase sales and marketing productivity. The idea is, prompts get your usual tasks done quicker in HubSpot. Teams also get the benefit of data connectivity between ChatSpot and HubSpot.
Watch the full demo below, or have a play with ChatSpot here
- Who it’s for: Service
- What it does: Reduces friction and time spent resolving tickets
Intercom is a business that loves to keep interactions conversational. Its messaging and automation software does many clever things, like converting your website visitors, but where it excels is in scaling customer service.
Intercom’s new AI beta features include AI-driven message composition and tone refinement to make resolving large volumes of queries more efficient. Also, the text expansion feature, which expands notes into full responses, saves time during customer calls and follow-ups.
One feature we’re interested in is ‘Summarize.’ Intercom says, “A support rep can simply click the ‘Summarize’ button to generate a detailed [summary] of an entire customer conversation.” How’s that for efficiency?
Go forth and generate awesome results
The AI-enabled times we live in are exciting and full of promise. If you take away one thing from this blog, let it be this: lean into the possibilities of AI. The worst thing you can do is sit on the fence (it's quite uncomfortable anyway) or avoid AI altogether.
Today in business, if you are standing still, you are effectively going backward. Do some strategic thinking on where your business could better perform with AI, and then look for the right tools to help you achieve this. Most AI tools are free, so test them before implementing them into your business.
If you’re in marketing, experiment with AI-powered content creation and decide where the tools fit into your workflow. Or, if you’re in sales or service, consider letting AI streamline your communication. Because no matter which way you prompt them, artificial intelligence is set to amplify your output.
To sum up, we’ll leave you with some parting words from Google Brain co-founder Andrew Ng: "AI is like electricity. Just as electricity transformed every major industry a century ago, AI is now poised to do the same."