The impact of AI on optimizing the purchase funnel

According to recent research conducted by Conversica, over the past year, marketers have most frequently utilized artificial intelligence (AI) for data collection and analysis, process automation, and content creation.

Marketers have less frequently applied AI to enhance the efficiency of the sales funnel, indicating a potential area for increased AI adoption to achieve substantial business efficiency gains.

When asked about the anticipated effects of AI on the sales funnel in their organizations in the upcoming year, marketers were most convinced of the technology’s potential to improve real-time engagement and lead response (65%).

The majority also plan to use AI to scale outbound marketing for lead generation (59%). These applications concern the upper part of the funnel, while only 3 in 10 respondents expect AI to help them convert leads into transactions.

Specifically, looking at which of the four defined AI applications have the greatest potential to impact conversion rates, most respondents (45%) indicated that lead nurturing and qualification are areas where AI would have the most significant impact. Improving lead quality and nurturing has previously been identified as the best way to increase lead-to-opportunity conversion rates, so the influence of AI in this area would undoubtedly be beneficial.

Given the expectation that AI can affect lead nurturing and qualification, it is not too surprising that respondents believe the middle part of the funnel is where AI technologies have the most potential for a positive impact on transactions, surpassing the upper funnel. Although relatively few respondents expect AI to help them convert leads into sales opportunities in the coming year, analysts suggest that marketing decision-makers recognize AI’s potential in this area but do not yet see the possibility of applying this potential in the near term.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • – Nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) respondents report that AI-driven initiatives have contributed to revenue growth in their organization.
  • – About 61% are very confident in their ability to measure the effectiveness of the AI technologies they use.
  • – Nine out of ten plan either to increase investments in the AI tools they currently use next year (46%) or to explore/test new AI applications (44%).
  • – Less than half (45%) fully trust AI for autonomous operation within their organizations, although another 45% partially trust their technology in this regard.
  • – The biggest challenge marketers face in using conversational AI to improve conversion is its ability to deliver reliable, business-specific information.

The results are based on a survey of 454 marketing managers at the CMO level.