How AI is Boosting CRM
Author name: Ryan Gould
Did you know Salesforce predicts $195 billion in increased revenue from enhancing CRM with artificial intelligence? The flip side of that coin isn’t too shabby either: it’s projected to save customers $68 billion in decreased costs through 2021. What’s interesting is that, despite this rosy outlook, even as of last year, only 28% of companies acknowledged having invested in AI.
That’s why this year and the next could prove so pivotal to businesses. If you fail to upgrade to an AI-powered CRM, your old customer-resource-management processes could be obsolete if they aren’t already. In this article, we’ll take a look at how AI is boosting CRM systems.
More precise segmentation
One of the greatest virtues of AI (at least in the commercial space) is its ability to analyze massive data sets in seconds. Being able to process information so rapidly naturally results in improved segmentation. You could call it “hyper-segmentation,” or even the diminutive “micro-segmentation.”
This smart targeting involves going beyond mere demographics as AI engines take customer behavior into account. These behaviors include looking at past purchases, actions, interests, social media tags and posts.
The result is that now CRMs, with the help of AI, can segment your targets not only right down to the individual, but it can tell you at what time and via what channels you should appeal to them with an ad campaign.
Now it’s time to talk about personalization, that highly effective strategy that all marketers are trying to perfect.
Today’s consumers are moving away from brands that don’t offer a personalized shopping experience. Moreover, 82% of advertisers reported an increase in open rates for their email campaigns when they included personalization.
We’ve mentioned how AI engines can process enormous data sets, but this in itself isn’t valuable to marketers. Why AI-based CRM tools work so effectively is because they sift through all this data to find the right information. And it’s this right information that will boost your marketing personalization. This information allows you to know the customer right down to the individual and thus creating an organic conversation as you market directly to them.
We’ve mentioned email, but not only can an AI CRM boost that initiative, it can work across a number of other channels to personalize content for social media, website and in-app recommendations, and more. It can target upsells and cross-sells to the right customers and use personalization to help the customer on his or her journey.
It’s all about customer variables: what do they want at a specific moment and where are they at this moment—not just in terms of state of mind, but in actual location too. AI and geolocators can help you target customers in their specific towns, cities, and even neighborhoods, while using data about these places to appeal to them on a personal level.
Quicker response times
Everything we’ve discussed so far is a prelude to the ultimate goal marketers and sales teams are looking for in their CRM systems: greater close rates, forecast accuracy, and, ultimately to increase revenue. AI’s ability to process data faster and respond faster to customer problems ultimately helps achieve this.
This quick responsiveness wasn’t achievable before, most of the time because the data was insufficient. CRM without an AI engine relied merely on data entered manually. Typically, this info wasn’t linked to the sheer amount of corporate data in various systems.
In these times of email, social media, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things, the old MS Excel spreadsheet just isn’t getting the job done.
Your CRM needs to accumulate data at the same speed that it’s being disseminated across these multiple channels, and that won’t work with humans at the helm. This is only accomplished with machine learning and AI.
AI is helping to eliminate much of the busywork in day-to-day workflows. For example, an AI-powered CRM can now automate email responses to clients and potential customers based on past conversations.
In this same vein AI/CRM can generate automatic customer responses to queries based on their personal preferences. It can be so effective that it’s even able to generate entire sales conversations.
Just as important, AI’s data-processing ability will also aid in the performance of sales reps and customer-service agents. It will give them full customer profiles and real-time, up-to-date information about inventory and services history, all of which will help your human team meet customers’ demands. It’s precisely this automation of workflows that leads to greater productivity.
The rise of virtual employer assistants
To this point we’ve covered how AI is shaping CRM, so now let’s take a look at how it will further do so in the future.
A new trend is on the horizon that will see AI engines used in the capacity of virtual assistants. That’s not hype either—we mean that AI can boost CRM to the point where it can perform many of the productivity tasks that are so important to employers. And of course, this technology will be able to easily book appointments with clients along with managing calendars.
It seems there is little that AI can’t do, even where it concerns recruiting. Now there are AI systems that are helping bridge the talent gap, matching employers with the best talent.
Some use bots to post jobs, automate the onboarding process, etc., while others use these same chatbots to interact with potential candidates.
This just goes to show that if AI can boost your CRM, imagine what it can do for all other areas of your business.
You should now be able to see that boosting your CRM with AI is like going from a tractor to a Ferrari. It’s the most efficient way to harvest and manage data, and it’s also the most effective at automating processes and maximizing results. To not invest in it now is a risk no serious business can afford to take.