Challenges & opportunities for gen AI in sales and marketing
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Reframing gen AI: From silver bullet to transformational tool

How sales and marketing leaders are readying themselves for change

Ed Delussey

Enterprise Services Leader, Genpact



Generative AI (gen AI) has been the hot topic of conversation across industries and functions in 2023. For sales and marketing teams, it holds extreme promise. From content creation to identifying the best customer profiles and hyperpersonalized targeting, possibilities to boost efficiency and creativity abound, and organizations are progressing their investments from ideation to innovating and trialing.

However, as the host of a recent roundtable discussion with tech industry sales and marketing leaders, I heard a mix of excitement and uncertainty around gen AI use cases. We're still in the early stages of understanding what this technology can do for us at an organizational level. Even so, leaders must actively start to implement strategies for its use or risk falling behind the competition.

Here, I round up some of the key challenges and opportunities identified during the event.

Frustration around where to start

While there was widespread acknowledgment that gen AI is a must-have for future-proofed sales and marketing teams, leaders are grappling with how best to implement it today. The potential for innovation is immense, but the sheer breadth of possibilities can be overwhelming. This led many at the event to express frustration around determining the most impactful starting point.

Need for organized effort

One of the insights from the event that I found most surprising was the variability in approaches, ranging from companies with no organized gen AI strategy to those who are improving operating models and measuring the impact on revenue. Most were missing a cohesive strategy or governance in place to plan, prioritize, and execute on use cases.

Marketing is second only to software development when it comes to investment in gen AI. From my discussions with the attendees, it seems this is largely centered around trialing, with little thought to scaling or improving operational models. My sense is that there needs to be a collective shift to embrace the inevitable change and unleash the potential of gen AI for effective organizational transformation.

Content creation for the win

Content creation was the main focus for trialing gen AI in sales and marketing teams among the attendees. However, most have yet to personalize this content or go beyond the written word into the realm of video, for example. Those achieving the biggest successes so far have clear guardrails in place to improve efficiencies through reduced need for team members to edit AI-generated content.

Beyond content

A minority of leaders said they're expanding use cases for gen AI beyond content creation. One participant pinpointed high employee turnover as a major challenge and was thinking about how the technology could optimize learning, development, and onboarding while reducing attrition. Another is trialing gen AI to create customer profiles, resulting in a 20% boost to productivity. And another is experimenting with using the technology to reduce time spent on account planning by up to 80%.

While content creation might be the most widespread and easy-to-implement use case for gen AI, it's clear from my conversations with leaders that there's a desire to push into every area of sales and marketing to improve efficiencies. As we enter the second year of gen AI in our day-to-day lives, it's time to think more creatively about how to harness the technology for bigger, more profitable growth.

Gen AI as copilot

At Genpact, we believe that gen AI should act as a copilot, supporting sales and marketing teams rather than replacing them. This sentiment was echoed by event attendees.

Just as mobile phones help us today, gen AI is the next technological tool that will revolutionize our lives and rethink how we work. But we must think beyond productivity. Yes, it will automate mundane tasks and analyze customer data, but the potential to enhance decision-making and revolutionize the employee and customer experience is huge.

No silver bullet

Leaders were understandably keen to know exactly what use cases to implement and the returns they could expect if and when they did so. However, it became clear to me that there is no one-size-fits-all, plug-and-play approach.

As partners on the journey to implementation and transformation, it's our role to work closely with organizations to identify their specific needs and pain points. We can then prioritize organizational and operational model changes to ready leaders for the big T of transformation.

The discussions were full of energy, excitement, and optimism. I left the event with one major takeaway: whatever we use gen AI for, we must move forward aggressively. There is an urgency for practical guidance and strategic insights to demystify the implementation of gen AI. We must create organizational road maps that empower sales and marketing leaders to embark on this technological voyage with confidence and clarity.

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