The Next Step For CRM: Artificial Intelligence

Up until the last couple of years, Artificial Intelligence was more the realm of science fiction than reality for many businesses. However, at present most Customer Relationship Management vendors are talking about evolving their platforms by introducing AI into them.

Microsoft and others are focusing on AI, trying to help businesses deliver more personalised and predictive customer experiences across the board, including marketing, sales and commerce. Salesforce’s CEO, Marc Benioff deems their Einstein product to be “ever customer’s data scientist”, as it makes it easy for users to take advantage of the best AI capabilities in the context of their business.

Vendors are making massive investments with the goal of changing enterprise operations, gaining market share and seducing shareholders. You can see this in action when considering Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion to enhance their software solutions, namely Dynamics. Microsoft will be able to leverage data from millions and millions of profiles thanks to this acquisition. It’s worth taking note and considering what opportunities an AI-enhanced CRM will bring.

Sales and marketing professionals will see dramatic changes in their effectiveness thanks to machine learning and AI capabilities. Old CRM systems see users having to manually search for contact information, personal details or information about last contact. It’s an ocean of data but with very little insight.

Searching for data in legacy CRM’s is like searching for a needle in a haystack without predictive analysis and AI. Where do you even start? AI-enhanced Customer Relationship Management will now alert professionals to prospects with the highest chance of converting to a sale, thus enabling teams to prioritise leads and audiences.

Thanks to AI, Customer Relationship Management systems will now be able to trawl through millions of different attributes, both personal and professional assigned to leads. As global data continues to grow at lightning speed, analysts predict an increase of 4,3000 % in data generation by 2020. There’s never been a better time for intelligent solutions. Salespeople will be able to employ AI capabilities to suss out good quality prospects, something which has been pretty much impossible given the volume of data available on leads.

Additionally, in the future CRM will be able to help teams determine who the best person to approach to close a deal is. It’ll be able to do so by mixing professional and personal attributes. Professionals may be encouraged to reach out to managers that say enjoy rock climbing in their free time and who has received early promotions. The AI will piece together a all these attributes to suggest that this manager meets the profile of an early adopter. So, he’ll likely be young, a future leader and someone who likes to take risks which means he’ll be more open to trying new things. Knowing all these details will most likely mean that the probability of closing a deal is higher. Salespeople will be calling people who has a need for their solutions instead of a latent lead that is already using a competitor’s solution.

With time, the system will educate itself to be even more targeted, sussing out which attributes hold the most weight. As the software develops, it will create a system of continuous improvement for marketing and sales teams effectively. Predictive analysis and AI will make all parts of a CRM better, from lead scoring to upselling, and intent analysis. It will also inevitably lead to the prevention of customer churn.

Lastly, AI will also have a hefty impact on the entire CRM marketplace. It’s believed that machine learning and AI will completely revolutionise CRM in the next two to three years. CRM customers will be looking to examine AI and data analytics capabilities before purchasing.

The likes of Microsoft and Salesforce understand that they’ll have to underline how their AI-enhanced CRM systems are unique to differentiate against competitors. Dynamics 365 boasts new and improves AI capabilities and data analytics. Whereas Salesforce is adding more and more intelligent capabilities in a bid to democratize AI.

The worldwide CRM market value grew 12.3% from 2014 to 2015 and reached $26.3 billion. There’s clearly a lot t stake and the next few years will see vendors fight even harder forbetter market share.

It’s still early days, so only time will tell how AI will continue to revolutionise the CRM space and business platforms as a whole. It’s certain though that it’s a very exciting time for CRM.

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