AI in Marketing and Sales: Why Businesses Must Integrate AI into their CRM?

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The CRM industry has witnessed enormous growth in the past few years. And 2020 was no exception. Last year, CRM usage increased from 56% to 74%. Within these statistics, 91% percent of businesses with over eleven employees use a CRM system, compared to 50% of those with 10 employees or fewer. These facts amount to how important CRM has become. In fact, 74% of businesses confirm CRM has improved their access to customer data. We also expect the industry to reach $80 billion by the end of 2025.

However, the most trending aspect of technology i.e. is Artificial Intelligence missing out on impacting CRM as it should? or, as CRM experts had hoped it would happen?

Recent research by Freshworks reveals that only 12% of CRM businesses have integrated AI into their working pipelines. They have cited the hurdles to be the expenditure and usefulness. They even cite taking more time to observe AI’s role in the sales process. Nonetheless, if your business doesn’t have an AI-powered CRM, now is the best time to invest in it. And if you have a good CRM in place but only on a desktop or laptop, it’s time to go mobile. Here’s why you must do it now!

CRM AI past 5 years
The term AI in CRM over the past five years. [Source: Google Trends]
The Necessity

The advancement of technology has led to the generation of enormous amounts of data. It is believed that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day. Out of that, around 90% is unstructured. It is impossible to structure such amounts of data without AI/machine learning, as we must also organize it to extract relevant information. Even 85% of sales agents have made embarrassing mistakes because of faulty CRM data. With relevant information at hand and machine learning in place, you can get valuable insights about your business. AI also allows you scalable solutions for the growing data and manage more volumes of data without/few errors.

importance AI CRM
Source: Software Advice

While CRM will bring in all your data tasks, it would still be on you to manage all the tasks. It is reported that sales representatives spend over half of their time managing CRM tasks. This is because of the rise in transactions conducted by customers in the digital world. Implementing AI in CRM would further automate the repetitive tasks, offer valuable insights, and let sales rep focus on their only job i.e. selling.

Intelligent CRM Automation

Integrating AI into CRM facilitates automating repetitive tasks and revamping the workflow. It will support you in evaluating the sales funnel, predicting customer behavior, and revenue forecasting with utmost accuracy. With predictive analytics, you will consider past data to predict the future and take action. Mostly, it would entail customer interactions, opinions, behavioral patterns, amongst other things. AI will also assist you by being your virtual assistant, prioritizing leads, progressing customer segmentation alongside providing you insights on customer demographics, pursuits, and sales records.

Bots to Handle Customer Relationships

Chatbots are the next super advantage in merging AI with CRM. They can prioritize issues, offer prompt resolutions, and allowing salespeople to focus on more complex issues. Salesforce’s last year’s ‘State of Service’ survey of 3500 customer service professionals revealed that:

  • 3% of service organizations expect to use chatbots within 18 months — a growth rate of 136%
  • 64% of agents with AI chatbots can spend most of their time solving complex problems, versus 50% of agents without AI chatbots
AI Chatbots CRM
Source: Salesforce

The most common uses of AI were:

  • Delivering self-service in simple issues
  • Collecting crucial information before handing the issue to agents
  • Supporting agents with guidance and recommendations
  • Greeting customers when they call
Advance Customer Service with NLP

NLP or Natural Language Processing helps in getting insights from our most common communication channels, i.e. calls, chats, email conversations. It structures this extensive amount of written or spoken information to form sentiment, tone, and the overall meaning behind the message. With NLP assisting you in customer sentiment, you can handle best your escalated customers. Any kind of knowledge about your customer, their intent, and actions can help you in retaining the customer and not letting them run off to the competing brand. Consequently, AI is helping in the most important aspect of the business, i.e. customer retention.

While CRM helped us in the collection and organization of a vast amount of data, its integration with AI is helping us to go beyond data and take valuable actions. Whether it is communication, understanding sentiment, or automating repetitive tasks, AI in CRM is creating a better experience for sales representatives and customers.

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