How Portcos Are Tailoring AI to Leapfrog Competitors

Dan BernoskeCEO, Founder

May 21, 2024 in Sales, Marketing

There is a unique opportunity to leapfrog your competitors. Avoid the trap of sameness by embracing easily accessed AI tools. Instead, pivot to Augmented Intelligence to infuse your marketing and sales content with differentiation that turns heads.

This article is focused on leveraging AI to support sales and marketing efforts from a content generation perspective. Content may include writing emails, cadences, sales follow-up notes, thought leadership content, and more. Additionally, AI can be used to educate and serve as a resource for the sales rep. AI can inform the sales rep in real time on persona pain points, industry definitions and any solution knowledge or objective handling a rep needs. There are several other ways to leverage AI from a data perspective that will be covered in future articles.

Most Portcos are Leveraging AI the Easy Way

Most companies will press the ‘easy button’ and simply adopt the new AI features of their existing software. They will then proudly tout that they are embracing AI to be more competitive. However, merely adopting the new AI features can lead to uniformity and lack of differentiation. As companies start using the new AI tools, they will mostly be used in the same way.

This morning, I opened my email inbox to find the number of emails exponentially rising. This is a natural result of easy to create content combined with marketing and sales automation tools. I noticed that the phrases ‘delve deeper’, ‘advancement in the realm’ and the ever popular ‘aims to foster innovation’ are used in many. These are common AI-generated words and phrases that humans don’t commonly use. These AI words stick out like a sore thumb once you start to recognize them.  

Companies are evolving and using AI tools to better customize and hide AI-generated content. An example of this is new tools to identify overly used AI-generated words and remove them to sound more human. This naturally yields an ever greater quantity of good content.

Another example is the emerging AI practice of mass customization. This may involve targeting a large spreadsheet of prospects with what feels like a custom message. Mission statements and ‘about us’ content from websites are pulled and customized into content. The spreadsheet of targets is processed in large quantity and distributed. This approach can produce quick wins until everyone is doing the same thing.

The need to differentiate becomes even more important in competitive industries. As companies push the easy button of AI, they get caught in the trap of undifferentiated noise.  

There is a better way! 

This graphic below shares a simplified framework for adoption and how to best leverage. Perhaps this framework is over-simplified, yet my hope is to convey a foundation of understanding to build upon. Use this framework as a point of clarity to think about your approach to enabling marketing and sales with AI. 

Leapfrog Your Competitors with Augmented Intelligence

The term Augmented Intelligence best describes how top performers are looking at AI. Augmented Intelligence is an elevated form of leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the wisdom of human direction.  

Wisdom is defined as: Knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment to action or insight. Others have described wisdom as the insights from observing what works and doesn’t. 

AI does a phenomenal job of performing tasks and accessing mountains of information to help us. Yet, it’s the guiding wisdom of a human that sets it apart from computer-generated content. 

Marketers and sales professionals that use AI tools today use a series of prompt adjustments. This is essentially done to drag the AI chatbot across the finish line. As you work with a chatbot, you realize just how little wisdom the chatbot has to guide it. For example, I asked a chatbot to reduce a body of text by 25% and it regenerated the content by deleting the last 25%… that’s a lack of wisdom. It’s the human input that makes the difference. AI tools give humans the capacity to apply their wisdom to more strategic activities. 

With a few proven techniques, your portcos can infuse sales and marketing efforts with wisdom. This wisdom will then differentiate and help your brand stand out from the crowd. The net result of Augmented Intelligence is differentiated messaging. In other words, zig when everyone else is zagging.  

Proven Techniques to Take a Augmented Intelligence Approach – Custom Chatbot AI

There are individuals within your portcos leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) on an Ad Hoc basis today. These are the innovators testing and learning to see how they can best use AI. These efforts should continue and be recognized. However, these are 1:1 efforts that don’t easily scale.

Many companies have attempted to scale the 1:1 efforts by highlighting the success. But largely, these efforts don’t see adoption. This is largely because of the iterative uniqueness of the individual’s prompt programming to achieve tasks with ChatGPT.

Top performers take a different route in our observations across portcos. The top companies are helping their entire team leverage one-to-many AI tools that can be scaled.

The most common approach is with the paid version of ChatGPT Teams to create custom chatbots and share those with their teams. There are many other AI tools available that serve as a user-friendly front-end to using ChatGPT. The primary engine of most AI solutions is OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT. Nearly all AI tools you seek to purchase are custom front-ends to the OpenAI technology.

By purchasing a paid license of ChatGPT or the Team or Enterprise version, you can customize a chatbot. A custom chatbot is configured by giving you the opportunity to train what you want the chatbot to know.

Training a custom chatbot involves uploading content and/or reference URLs that contain the core areas of knowledge we want it to know. These may include:

  • Solution/product information
  • Website pages for reference
  • Brand guidelines
  • Buyer Persona & Buying Process Maps
  • Win-loss interview transcripts
  • Webinar, podcast and presentation transcripts 
  • List of common AI-generated words and phrases 
  • Examples of Voice you want it to emulate (URLs to blogs or websites to emulate)

Think about training the custom chatbot as if they were a new employee to onboard. What information would you share with them for their onboarding plan? Carefully think through the areas of knowledge and tap into the text as well as transcripts from videos and podcasts.

Pro Tip: Perform 3-4 zoom interviews with personas to capture their personal thoughts on the emotions, challenges, fears, and their success.

Before you begin, develop your baseline. Identify 3-4 questions or tasks you want the Chatbot to perform. Do it first with the general Chatbot and capture the responses. Then when you have completed the configuration of your custom Chatbot, ask the same questions. Compare the responses. I’ve been blown away by the difference when the custom chatbot is infused with your own proprietary knowledge and wisdom.

Another valuable test to reveal the effectiveness of your custom chatbot is an A/B test. Recreate an existing piece of content produced by your team and generate it with your custom chatbot. Put them side by side and see if subject matter experts at your company can distinguish between them. You will be surprised how many can’t. When they have difficulty telling the difference, you can be confident your chat training has been done properly.   

As you program a custom chatbot, there are important decisions to be made about how to segment information. Top performers often develop custom chatbots by targeting buyer personas. This enables the marketing and sales teams to ask the specific persona questions and task it to write content. Often the custom chatbot will be named the persona name. For example, one portco built ‘Oliver’, the CFO persona with deep insights into the financial persona (including objectives, challenges, fears, what’s important, what are they like under pressure, etc.) as well as detailed win-loss feedback from CFOs in the past. This portco’s BDRs can be on a call with a CFO prospect and ask Oliver questions to help guide them. Or when following up the call, they can use Oliver to help write their email follow-up while incorporating their call notes.

The same segmentation is sometimes built within industry or solution areas. This is done to better isolate the subject matter expertise you want the chatbot to utilize.

Other portcos approach the custom chatbots more broadly. This involves a single chatbot with training on all personas, solutions, and industries. The benefit of this approach is that it helps when presenting a platform or total picture to prospects and clients. The downside is that more human direction is required with more precise prompt programming and editing. An example of this is writing content for a solution area and needing to remove less important facts. A portco offers training services, but do not want it on an equal footing as their primary solution. The human prompting requires direction to the chatbot to remove less prioritized topics.

Private vs. Public Cloud Storage  

The free and ease of entry versions of AI tools are mostly public. This means that anything you share from your company information is not private. Paid versions of AI tools offer private options to secure your intellectual capital and data. This is incredibly important when sharing win/loss call or battle card information. Select the private option to secure your information.

Embracing Augmented and Private Intelligence 

The AI transformation is here. It’s nearly impossible to find a commercial excellence leader who isn’t guiding their portcos to embrace AI. Top performers in the market differentiate themselves by leveraging Augmented Intelligence, which combines AI with human insight, to create distinct sales and marketing strategies. Augmented Intelligence avoids the common pitfalls of undifferentiated AI use, ensuring content stands out and genuinely engages the audience. By integrating AI tools with human wisdom, companies can develop unique, impactful approaches that propel them ahead of competitors.

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