The Importance of AI for Sales and CX
Whether we’re talking about AI in sales, AI in customer experience, or AI in CRM, this science is now part of daily business life. Artificial intelligence is not there to replace humans, but rather to make their lives easier.
But what exactly is artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions (Investopedia). Data is the foundation of any AI process. Without data, there is no AI.
The science of artificial intelligence in sales and in customer experience enables employees to be more productive than ever before. In fact, research by HBR involving 1,500 companies reveals that collaborative intelligence (humans and AI) allows companies to achieve the most significant performance improvements. This collaboration builds on each other’s strengths to improve efficiency and achieve optimal results.
The Rise of AI in CRM Technology
As customer expectations continue to rise, companies need to adapt quickly to digital transformation. To stay competitive, sales leaders are constantly looking for new technologies that are rapidly evolving.
There are 5 sales tools that are now a must for high-performing companies:
- Video conferencing
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Mobile sales app(s) for employees
- Customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Sales prospecting tools
To be able to perform at all times, sales teams must be equipped with efficient, data-driven tools that can be used remotely. The integration of AI in CRM systems is the future for businesses. This evolution allows us to better understand the customer to constantly improve the customer experience.
Salesforce Einstein, the first comprehensive AI for CRM, is a great example of AI adoption in CRM activities. It allows sales teams to get more predictive about their customers, anticipate upcoming opportunities and exceed customer needs.
To learn more on how to maximize the use of your CRM solution, be sure to check out this blog!
Ways to Utilize AI in Sales
The number of sales teams adopting AI to improve internal processes and customer experiences has skyrocketed in recent years. The Salesforce State of Sales Report shows that there has been a 76% increase in AI use by sales organizations since 2018. Also, high performers are 2.8x more likely to use AI.
The adoption of AI by sales teams has its share of positive impacts. Here are the 7 most important ways to use AI in sales:
1. Understanding customer needs
According to salespeople, the technology’s most significant impact is on understanding customer needs. When customers’ data is logged diligently into a CRM system, AI can easily predict and anticipate future needs. Thus, sales forces can be proactive as opposed to reactive.
The second most significant impact of using AI in sales is the improvement of forecasting accuracy. Forecasting is essential to all facets of management. When supported by concrete data, forecasts have much more value. They help to understand opportunities, reduce uncertainties, predict outcomes, and make informed decisions.
3. Visibility into sales representatives’ activities
Are your sales representatives doing their activities the way they’re supposed to? Are there improvement possibilities in how your sales representatives are conducting meetings, leading calls, or obtaining leads in trade shows? If they properly log activities in your company’s CRM system, identifying opportunities to improve using AI is now a reality.
4. Competitive intelligence
Do you have market data? Do you know what products your competition is selling and in what market? Congratulations, you now have a competitive intelligence advantage over your competitors! Thanks to AI, you can develop strategies and a game plan based on your newly acquired knowledge that will leave your competitors asking…what happened?
5. Lead prioritization
Suppose you have a pool of leads who are all in different stages of the sales funnel. Which ones should you develop first? AI could help you determine based on the characteristics of the lead (potential business, business segment, location, economics, etc.). Time to grab those low-hanging fruit.
6. Use of sales representatives’ time
Being able to see what your reps are doing is golden information. Are they performing as many value-added tasks as they should? Do they need the training to focus their time and energy on what brings value to the business? AI provides insights as to what reps are doing.
7. Personalization for customers
Whether it be sales, support requests, or any customer needs, having data and being able to predict and anticipate future clients’ needs is a way to obtain a competitive advantage
Ways to Utilize AI in Service
Repetitive tasks such as gathering basic information and manually recording activities can decrease agent productivity and be a long and frustrating process for customers. Especially in a digital era where everything moves fast. Fortunately, most service professionals say that such procedures are essentially automated.
AI in service works in the back end of a CRM to bring new ideas and suggestions, populate useful information, or initiate a process. 77% of agents say automating routine tasks allows them to focus on more complex work. The Salesforce State of Service Report shows that there has been a 32% increase in AI use by service professionals since 2018.
The following service department activities are reported to be mostly automated using AI by high performers and mostly done manually by under-performers.
1. Basic information gathering
AI is changing data collection. Chatbots and online surveys for instance can proactively request and gather useful customer data without human intervention.
2. Soliciting customer feedback
Why spend so much time and effort collecting customer feedback through calls, surveys, and focus groups when AI can do it for you? AI can get a significant amount of customer data by observing their behavior. Then, machines will perform much more accurate and objective analysis.
3. Case classification and routing
Historical case data enables AI to prioritize cases and dispatch them to the right agents, at the right time. AI improves accuracy and case completion, in addition to shortening your customer response time. Thanks to computerized case classification and routing, agents save valuable time and can focus their energy on customer relations.
4. Recommendations for the next best action
To provide recommendations for the next best action, a lot of good data is required. AI considers different options for a specific client and recommends, to the agent, the action that has the best all-around solution. This customer-centric approach uses the customers’ own behaviors to decide on the most appropriate action to take.
5. Transcription of customer interactions
AI-driven transcriptions and analysis of every call help you optimize performance and give you a wealth of customer insight (asapp).
6. After casework
Case management software, often cloud-based, allows agents to automatically collect and organize all customer interactions in one place. Agents can then quickly process, classify, or delegate cases thanks to a global view of the customer’s interactions with the company. This ensures outstanding after-sales service and, therefore, a great customer experience.
AI Capabilities of Salesforce
Salesforce is a pioneer in introducing the concept of AI within the CRM platform. As an Industry leader owning 19.5% of the CRM vendor market share in 2018, the company introduced Salesforce Einstein in September 2016.
Salesforce Einstein is a CRM-integrated, AI-powered wizard that helps employees to be more productive and take faster decisions. It includes several features that fall into four main categories:
- Machine learning
- Natural Language Processing (NLP)
- Computer vision
- Automatic speech recognition
Salesforce AI in sales plays an important role by accelerating business development. Einstein has the capability to predict which customer is more or less likely to buy a product or service through forecasting, lead scoring, and opportunity scoring. It allows sales representatives to focus their efforts on customers who are more likely to convert.
One of the best-known facets of AI in customer experience is smart chatbots. These help customers solve problems quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, Salesforce AI allows case classification and routing to increase retention or foresee any issues likely to occur.
The value of AI in sales and customer experience is undeniable. AI facilitates the understanding of customers, which helps to provide a personalized experience. As machines get smarter, business leaders leverage AI to boost sales and enrich customer experience. Microsoft predicts that by 2025, as many as 95 percent of all customer interactions will be through channels supported by artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Today, CRMs powered by artificial intelligence can provide sales teams with rational suggestions and explanations. To survive in a fiercely competitive world, companies must be equipped with intelligent, state-of-the-art systems. These technologies, in collaboration with the social and creative skills of human being, make it possible to provide an exceptional customer experience.
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