By John Turner, founder of SeedProd

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way business owners get value out of their businesses. There are numerous reasons why AI is helping entrepreneurs reach their goals, including the way it impacts the sales funnel and how business leaders contact potential customers through email and on-site marketing.

Switching to AI from traditional stat keeping and individual analysis can save business owners as much as 54 percent of their day, according to a study by Accenture. Automation is able to accomplish more in a few seconds than a reasonable person could accomplish after sifting through data for days.

My company is currently taking advantage of the AI capabilities that our outside email marketing service provides. Let’s take a look at how AI can improve your existing sales funnel functions and create a better overall customer experience.

Target prospects who are likely to buy.

The goal of marketing is to target potential customers who are likely to see value in your product or service. Automation as a whole is changing the way business owners find and reach out to prospects. McKinsey estimates that AI has the potential to add between $1.4 to $2.6 trillion in sales for businesses worldwide.

One reason for this trend is that artificial intelligence allows business owners to reach customers like never before. The AI machine is able to compile data and pinpoint trends in sales. One of the most glaring examples of this technology is through Amazon. How many times have you been browsing only to get suggestions on things that you actually need? I would guess that it happens often, considering Amazon’s value is estimated to be around one trillion dollars.

Amazon is able to pull this off in part due to its smart artificial intelligence systems that look at previous customer behavior and use it to determine what customers who purchase similar products may enjoy. As the system tracks how many suggestions result in sales, it adjusts and refines sales personas to ensure that every advertisement has a targeted customer based on cold, hard data.

Improve personalization based on consumer actions.

Sometimes you don’t have a ton of sales information to base on your automation practices. This is especially true when your business is new to automation. However, AI makes personalization easy by tracking customer behavior in real time and creating advertisements that suit their needs.

Let’s say you’re a business owner who sells marketing advice and seminars to people who are interested in learning more. You can attach lead magnets to specific pages and pieces of content in an attempt to refine your sales funnel. Note that you do not have to physically be there to make this happen. Many programs use conditional logic to decide whether or not a customer gets a specific advert.

If your ad serves as your ultimate content marketing guide to prospects who go to your blog and check out articles with the content marketing tag, they are more likely to respond and convert. You have to think about what customers may like at the right time and program your AI to respond accordingly. Make tweaks and perform split testing based on your analytics to see what’s working and what sections of your on-site marketing may need additional refinement.

Implement a chatbot.

AI is great at analyzing data, but it has also proven to be a successful way to help customers with questions or concerns. It has been estimated that by 2020, nearly 80 percent of online businesses will implement chatbots in one form or another.

Automated chatbots can help refine the sales funnel by being there when someone is considering making a purchase. These AI bots are able to “learn” based on their programming and experiences with customers over time. All of this data amounts to a smoother customer experience.

Messenger apps like Facebook have close to two billion users -- that’s a wide net for your sales funnel. However, AI is able to pop in with a friendly message if a customer lands on your Facebook business page but doesn’t convert. A simple prompt such as “Is there anything I can help you with?” encourages customers to follow through with a purchase when they were on the fence.

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence is going to continue to change and evolve as online businesses expand. Instead of casting a wide sales funnel, we can now analyze data based on past customer experiences, or even expected customer interactions.

Customers today love targeted marketing. At the same time, it’s never been this important to have a 24/7 customer service channel. AI is expanding on these areas in businesses around the world. Considering the way they popped onto the scene a few short years ago, it’s exciting to think about the potential AI may hold for sales and marketing in the coming years.

John Turner is the founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.