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How Is AI Changing CRM?

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2019 witnessed a dramatic transformation in Sales operations with the implementation of Artificial Intelligence. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has cemented its positions as the Number 1 MarTech Tool for CMOs in 2020. CDPs will remain a potent ally, together with Email Marketing and Social Media Automation tools.

Leveraging the power of AI will amplify the capabilities of the existing CRM system and help businesses deliver effective customer service.

Benefits of CRM Software

From a business point of view, a CRM system analyzes valuable customer information to enhance operations and service delivery levels. Cloud storage of customer data enables easy access for key stakeholders; key metrics are studied carefully to make informed business decisions. The actionable data is available round-the-clock to resolve issues quickly to serve customers in real-time.

MARTECH RADAR

Doug Bewsher, CEO at Leadspace said, “I am a strong believer in the fact that data and AI will have a dramatic effect on customer interactions. It’s a key reason I joined Leadspace from Salesforce, going from a Process Automation company to an AI company. At the moment some of the companies using AI (like Conversica and Drift) are just seeing interest and relevance as new channels. But unless they become intelligent ones, they risk being more like Siri (an expensive box to play music from the Cloud) than Google search.”

According to a CRM report, AI technology in CRM can supersede every obstacle in Sales and Marketing.

Deloitte states, “With the introduction of technology, like Salesforce’s Einstein, data-related limiting factors could become a thing of the past. You can actually embed AI into your daily business. No need for hiring Ph.D. data scientists as Einstein promises business savvy use and setup, computing power comes through the Salesforce Cloud and the required data sets you have likely already at the tip of your hands within your CRM database!”

The business impact of effective CRM is described below. 

Boost Customer Interaction:

Every customer is assigned a single point of contact or SPOC for after-sales service. However, if the SPOC is unavailable, a new SPOC is assigned by the enterprise. This may not please the customer as the SPOC will have to start from scratch to accurately understand the customer needs.

AI-enabled CRM addresses this challenge very well. Since the customer data is available on a Cloud server, any service agent can access the data from anywhere to provide able assistance. 

Automates Routine Tasks:

A customer agrees to purchase your product/service. But, the actual customer service begins after closing the sale. Many companies lose their customers due to inefficient after-sales service. Along with the Sale details, several smaller tasks are to be completed to achieve customer delight.

For instance, filling of forms, sending reports, addressing legal issues – these supporting tasks are an important aspect of sales but they consume a lot of time. Automating such tasks with the help of a CRM system helps businesses to utilize their human resource for other strategic activities.

Now, representatives can focus on closing more leads and resolving customer issues, while automated CRM carries out the routine support tasks. 

Read more: MarTech Primer: What is Salesforce CRM?

Improves Efficiency and Productivity:

Sales and Marketing functions in an organization receive a great boost with CRM applications. Coordination between Sales, Marketing and Customer Support teams will help share important customer insights to develop an effective Sales funnel.

These insights will help in higher Sales closures, awareness about new products/service and provide excellent customer service. Seamless integration between multiple teams will boost productivity and overall growth in revenue. 

Customer Satisfaction:

Do you understand your customer? A CRM system facilitates ease of communication, organizes customer data and boosts customer service functions. It streamlines operations in a way to ensure quick redressal of customer needs and take prompt actions for timely resolution. Avoid the risk of losing customers by implementing CRM software to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction

How AI will Transform the CRM

1. Personal Assistant for Each Customer:

AI-enabled CRMs will fill in for your service agents and provide remote assistance to your customers 24/7. The Virtual Assistant manages and automates customer interactions, schedulers, follow-ups, and other repetitive tasks. AI tools record and capture boardroom discussions or team meetings, make notes, schedule calendars for follow-up meetings and share access with key stakeholders. 

Basic data inputs for a CRM system include demographics, transaction lifecycle, user behavior, etc. The advanced level algorithm learns and processes the data to glean valuable customer insights, minimizing human errors. 

2. Customer Acquisition:

CRM tools come with the feature of automated data capture that facilitates new customer acquisition processes. The system collects customer data while onboarding a new customer, without human intervention.

Social media channels are important sources of acquiring data about customer behavior. The CRM platforms analyze user behavior on different social media channels to engage well with their customers. 

This tool predicts customer behavior in advance, enabling enterprises to strategize and plan their campaigns. AI customizations enable businesses to advance a positive brand image and authentic customer engagement resulting in generating more leads, enhancing growth and improving overall business performance. 

3. Personalized Communication and Segmentation:

The data capturing process will be ineffective if algorithms cannot collect and analyze the raw data. Essential data inputs for segmentation include purchase history, online behavior, demographics, etc. Businesses use these insights to segment customers according to their different value offerings. 

The AI platform learns from purchase history to segment data properly and generates high-quality leads. The CRM system gathers useful data by sending customized messages at the right time and offering prompt response through the appropriate communication channel. 

A personalized message has more chances of making a positive impact in the case of a new transaction rather than push notifications. Many companies send messages having the receiver’s name directly. E.g. ‘Hey, Jack. Planning a holiday this weekend?’

Cloud CRM solutions help businesses with segmentation. For instance, two different segments of customer data can include website visitors and users who clicked on the checkout page. The organization has to devise different strategies to communicate and engage with these two sets of customers.

Send a message: “Hey, Jack. Have you tried ABC?” to the first set of users who visit your website.

Then, send another message ‘Hey Jack, XYZ is in your cart’ to the users who have reached the checkout page. A personalized customer journey will be a successful campaign. 

4. Customer Retention:

Acquiring a new customer is not your sole objective. Organizations face challenges in customer retention i.e. converting new customers into loyal customers and brand ambassadors. The CRM system already is fed with customer data from multiple sources. AI platform helps you to create buyer personas based on factors impacting their final buying decision.

A well-defined buyer persona will help in smoother communication as you will know what to ask and when. The system issues alert related to dead clients or hot leads. Additionally, you can also decide on the most useful medium of communication – email, SMS, search engine ads, etc.

Benefits include improved efficiency in business operations and transactions, enhanced customer loyalty, higher retention rate, and optimized relationship management.

4. Brand Value:

Artificial Intelligence automates the customer engagement process enabling enterprises to deliver better customer value. However, enterprises adopt a smarter approach to have one-on-one interaction with their clients. Vast amounts of data pose a challenge to implement this approach successfully. 

Hence, to simplify the process, collected data is filtered, sorted, aligned and analyzed to understand the user cohorts better and calculate their lifetime value. The term cohort refers to a group of users having common attributes. 

Customer lifetime value is a prediction of the net profit of a customer during the Sales lifecycle. This value helps businesses to predict the success or failure of their Marketing and Sales campaign. Analytics helps devise a future strategy to increase sales. 

Read more: Beware of These 7 Common Small Business CRM Mistakes

AI-powered Sales CRM 

The new-gen Sales CRM platforms are also using AI for Analytics, Customer data Intelligence, Sales, Conversation and Team Performance. 

Key features of a modern  AI-enabled CRM tool include:

  • Enhanced Sales Intelligence, powered by Predictive Analytics and Big Data.
  • Predictive Analytics combined with scientific scoring tools enables teams to prioritize leads and focus on qualifying the right leads.
  • Automated recommendations and corrective measures  in the Sales pipeline
  • Analyzing the intent of the customer’s message to frame an automated email response. 
  • Chatbot support and Virtual Assistants interface to automatically detect Sales data from calls, emails and text updates. This data is updated in the CRM system automatically. 
  • Record information about new leads from landing pages, web forms, chats, emails, calls, etc. 
  • Discover rich information about customer profiles and automatically distribute incoming leads to the right salesperson using AI tools.
  • Automatically create tasks for different Sales representatives based on pipeline events and status updates. 

Economic Impact of AI in CRM

The existing Cloud vendors are expected to continue with innovation and lead in the delivery of AI to customers. We may just see the rise of AIOps and Embedded AI going mainstream in CRM applications.

All the leading CRM makers are already ahead in the CRM competition. Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Adobe, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, SugarCRM, and others have their in-house AI building teams for CRM. Others like Anaplan, Leadspace, Tealium, and Conversica are also providing ample support to CRM teams with their cutting-edge AI applications.

AI-powered CRM is the road ahead to future business transformation. However, enterprises have doubts about the implementation and security of AI-enabled CRM systems.

Research and further advancements are very much possible before it is implemented in every aspect of the organization, but there is a long way to go. AI-powered CRM will make enterprises future-ready and boost efficiency, speed, and productivity. 

Industry experts estimate that by 2020, 85% of global businesses will implement AI-enabled CRM solutions. Now what seems to be an emerging technology will become a necessity for every business in the coming years. 

Read more: Mobile CRM: Definitions and Industry Trends

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