Salesforce recently conducted a survey on how small businesses use technology, and we were surprised to see that 61% of small business owners believe their businesses are not ready for artificial intelligence (AI). Why is this curious? Because AI adds the type of seamless efficiency that gives small businesses a huge boost — and because you probably use it already anyway.
That’s right — We rely on intelligent offerings every time we order from Amazon, ask Siri for directions, chat with a customer service rep, or add a suggested friend on Facebook. Fraud detection, smart cars, music recommendations? AI, AI, AI. And there’s no reason smaller businesses can’t emulate these powerful, time-saving features, too. Here are three ways to add artificial intelligence to your growing business.
What if your sales technology were so smart, it knew the deals you were working on just by your calendar, email, and phone interactions? That’s AI in action: it automatically builds and monitors your pipeline so you can focus on closing more deals, rather than on manual data entry. Too much on your plate? Use AI as your sales assistant, finding the data you need, reminding you to follow-up with certain prospects, and ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. Predictive forecasting? Yep, it’s got that, too.
Marketing teams today have better, smarter ways to attract new customers. The big data trend gives companies a jaw-dropping amount of information on buyer behavior, but no real way to parse it. Just add AI, and you’ve got accurate predictions and qualified leads. Now marketers can segment and build audiences based on likely future actions and automatically adapt the journey so customers receive the right offer at the right time. AI can even automate email send times, offer customer recommendations, and predict customer sentiment.
How do you know when customers aren’t happy if they don’t tell you? Until now, customer service departments were half-expected to employ mind readers to understand customer needs and head off issues. Now AI can capture signals you and your team might miss, finding correlations and sentiment in customer data. If it seems like a customer may not feel so great about your company, you can take proactive steps to turn the relationship around, instead of waiting for him to tell you he’s unhappy. How’s that for retention?
Recent AI research from Forrester shows that 58% of businesses have considered AI technologies, but only 12% are actually using these systems, leaving a huge opportunity for early adopters to pull ahead of their competitors. This is especially true for small and midsize businesses — companies working hard to build a customer base. Adding smart software not only differentiates SMBs from their peers, but lets them compete with industry Goliaths.
But don’t think AI is just for sales, marketing, and service; extend it to other departments to magnify the benefits. Finance, for example, can immediately follow-up when sales closes an opportunity, or HR can better work with departments on peer reviews and talent acquisition. Just think: if you could increase the productivity of every department, you could grow your business that much faster. So whatever you do, don’t ignore AI. Because that wouldn’t be smart at all.
See how new Einstein features in the Salesforce Spring ‘17 release help you find customers, win their businesses, and keep them happy so you can grow your business faster than ever. Then join the conversation with #SalesforceGROW.