Content Marketing
How Personalization and AI Can Improve the Process of Qualifying Leads

How Personalization and AI Can Improve the Process of Qualifying Leads

March 15, 2021
4 min read

In a fictional world where you have unlimited time, money and resources, of course you’d want to offer your complete and undivided attention to every prospective and current customer.

It goes without saying that this is both impractical and impossible. But, does this mean that your leads and clients can’t enjoy a certain level of attentive, personalized service?

Not at all. It just means you have to think about the relationship and the process in a slightly different way.

This ultimately leads to the leveraging of power for strategic targeting and personalization, empowered by the versatility and near infinite scalability of artificial intelligence (AI).

I’ve covered the benefits of using AI in Digital Marketing before. So now let’s see how you can apply AI to exceed customer expectations even before they decide they want to be your customer.

The Personalized Sales Experience

So let’s put this concept in motion. A good example of this would be if you were business looking to grow your reach on social media, while also increasing your follower count in the process. If you were to go with any typical social media marketing agency, they would likely just start flooding your account with bots or general audience traffic and followers.

This might sound ok at first, as you are increasing your follower count… but is the user interest and engagement going to be there? Probably not This is one of the challenges of AI in Marketing: how to automate while maintaining the human touch.

Should this same process take place with an agency or solution that has the necessary pre-qualifiers and audience sorting in place it would be much more ideal. This can be simplified with audience targeting, sorting by demographic interests, and using geographic location targeting and more.

Once the client and agency fill out their initial qualifying lead data and target audiences, this would result in a much higher ROI for both businesses. By putting in the extra time and effort to know your target audience and pre-qualifying your data, it can result in much higher ROI across the board.

Qualify and Nurture Leads with AI

Again, in an ideal world, you want to approach every marketing lead with a high level of personalization and attention.

In reality, companies are spending a fortune on lead generation. And even when they get leads into a CRM system, the sales team doesn’t have the time to follow up on all leads, the nurturing process ends up being far too generic, and potential sales fall through the cracks.

You can, however, offer the human-like experience of personalized service by way of artificial intelligence.

Take as a prime example of how you can leverage artificial intelligence to “automagically qualify more leads to sales opportunities.” There are multiple layers to this process, and it all happens autonomously, around the clock. For example, intelligent virtual assistants can engage with leads via two-way conversations over email, chat and SMS.

The conversations are natural, personalized and human-like, so the prospective lead feels valued. The individualized interaction answers questions the lead may have, nurturing the relationship and guiding the lead naturally through the funnel until they are sales-ready.

At that time, the AI can book meetings independently with your human sales reps, saving precious time of back-and-forth scheduling.

The AI takes care of the repetitive and otherwise time-consuming tasks early on in the sales funnel. It can engage with possible leads and get the conversation going, handling objections and responding to requests, nurturing that relationship and qualifying the customer’s needs until they’re ready for your (human) sales team.

In other words,’s virtual assistants can convert cold and warm leads into fully qualified leads.

This way, your team can focus on closing deals and not get bogged down with hunting down and qualifying leads, or wasting their time with leads that wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyhow. The AI automates all of that.

Pre-Personalizing the Interaction

The idea that you can (and should) personalize the interaction you have with prospective leads starts even before you or they make any sort of first contact.

Let’s say that you run a sporting goods store and you plan on putting some items on sale in December. You may assume that everyone is interested in ski and snowboard equipment, but what if you have a customer in Australia? It’s summer in December there.

At its most basic level, personalizing the interaction (or pre-personalizing, as the case may be) starts with appropriate targeting. Geo-targeting is a common place to start. Even when something may be applicable to a wider audience, the appearance of personalization lends itself to a more positive interaction. That’s why so many retail outlets have a “stores near you” feature.

The smart traffic feature from Unbounce builds on this approach. Geo-targeting is part of it, but the AI-powered conversion optimization looks for variants that perform the best. It looks at the attributes for each individual visitor and serves the most relevant version of the page, the one that’s most likely to result in a conversion. It takes the A/B test to a whole new level.

Similarly, you have a wealth of ad targeting options on Facebook. Demographic targeting is a great place to start, especially if you already have a strong grasp on your target customer base. Core and custom audiences can be defined by location, demographics, behavior, interests, connections and more.

Set up a Facebook pixel to target people who have already visited your website or taken certain actions. Maybe they’ve interacted with your AI chatbot and had a positive conversation, but they didn’t quite get to the “buying” phase yet.

A well-targeted reminder in the form of a Facebook ad could be that extra nudge they need. That’ll lead them back to the personalized interaction of an virtual assistant, who can then book a meeting with a sales rep.

Efficient, Effective, and Intelligent

People who may be interested in your products and services don’t want to be seen as just another number on a sales ledger. They also don’t want to engage in a generic interaction where their particular needs, preferences and questions aren’t being suitably addressed.

At the same time, you don’t want your sales team to get overwhelmed by your CRM, unable to keep up with prospective leads, unable to provide them with the personalized attention necessary to convert.

Artificial intelligence can provide that much needed layer of personalization in a way that still feels natural and human-like. It can filter through leads at the front lines, prequalifying the right leads and nurturing them through the sales funnel. That way, a cold lead becomes a qualified warm lead, one that is already eager to sign on the dotted line by the time they speak with a sales rep.

This process represents a much more efficient and effective way of growing your business at scale. And that’s pretty smart.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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