Early last week, I told a prospect I would send a white paper later that week.  When the day came and I had completely forgotten about our conversation, Cortana (Microsoft’s AI platform) sent me a reminder that I committed to sending the information.  With this event, I realized that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already a part of my daily work life.  Although lately, AI is a hot topic in the technology industry, it is sometimes described in complex terms. I wonder how many of us understand that we are already using AI in everyday applications. I had not realized how much AI is already impacting my daily activities until that incident. 

There have been unprecedented investments within the AI field since 2014 and it has only increased since then, as seen with Microsoft’s commitment to investing into AI this year.  Do you understand what AI really is and how it will change productivity tools, like CRM, in the future?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Stanford researcher, John McCarthy defined AI as, “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.”  AI is related to the task of using computers to understand human intelligence.

In other words, AI’s goal is to make computers and computer programs smart enough to duplicate the human mind’s behavior.  Although you use AI in your everyday life (Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Orbitz), you can now imagine the possibilities of using AI for better communication with your prospects and clients.

If AI makes computers and computer programs as smart as humans, how will AI be used in a CRM software solution?

Here are a few ways:

  • Virtual Assistant - Get a 24/7 virtual assistant for your sales team which automates customer responses, follow-ups, mailing transaction updates and capturing activities.
  • Close Deals - Learning from your CRM (big) data, AI powered data prioritizes hot leads, predicts optimal time to follow-up, prescribes next steps and how to do it.
  • Customer and Prospect Engagement - AI Engine alerts you to follow-up when you should, guides you to select best channel to communicate- phone calls, email and/or SMS
  • Process - Road-maps for leads and deals, auto drives team to perform next strategic step and ensures they follow the right process for every lead and deal.
  • Track Leads and Pipeline -  Automate capturing, engaging, nurturing and qualifying every lead your business receives

What does it mean to CRM vendors?

With the boom of AI, CRM vendors have begun incorporating it into their solutions. These vendors believe that businesses will be able to deliver more predictive and personalized customer experiences across sales, service, marketing, commerce, and other industries.  Some of these experiences will include predictive sales lead scoring, personalized marketing campaigns, amongst others.

Since AI could provide every employee with tools to become more productive and provide smarter, more personalized customer experiences; a new IDC White Paper predicts these experiences could increase global business revenues by $1.1 trillion by 2021.

Conclusion

As I could tell first-hand last week, AI is already in use within CRM applications, making employees across the board more efficient—while giving customers a more personalized experience.  These are exciting times. I foresee inboxes that organize themselves, calendars that plan meetings, deeper and richer insights into customers during service calls. I see every aspect of life — personal and professional — getting smarter.