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Why Is Generative AI Important for Business?

Clara Shih is CEO of Salesforce AI.

Salesforce AI experts discuss six areas where generative AI will have a huge impact on the business world.

Thinking of adding generative AI to your business? You’re far from alone. Two-thirds (67%) of senior IT leaders are prioritising generative AI over the next 18 months, and a third (33%) call it a top priority. This fast-growing technology, which focuses on creating new content based on existing data, is top of mind for many across sales, customer service, marketing, commerce, and beyond. 

There’s a good reason: Generative AI represents a seismic shift in technology. It will mean big changes in your organization, your workforce, business processes, skill requirements, and the tools you use. If you’re not already thinking about how generative AI will impact your business, it’s time to get on board.

“Generative AI will reshape how every team operates,” said Clara Shih, CEO of Salesforce AI. “Just like with the adoption of the Internet, generative AI represents a generational opportunity to raise the capabilities, skills, and potential of teams throughout the company.”

Here, Shih, along with Kathy Baxter, principal architect of responsible AI and tech, and Khoa Le, vice president of product management for Salesforce AI, discuss the importance of generative AI for business. They offer six key areas where generative AI can boost efficiency and productivity and give your company a competitive edge.

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Key takeaways:

  • Generative AI will improve efficiency, enhance customer personalisation, and foster innovation.
  • Companies that can safely and responsibly realize the full potential of generative AI will reshape their industries, win lifelong customers, and solidly establish themselves as market leaders. 

1. Increase content creation to improve efficiency and productivity

Generative AI can deliver first drafts in seconds. Your business will be able to produce copious high-quality content in less time. This increase in speed will transform sales communications, marketing campaigns, product documentation, and more. This will free you up to respond quickly to changing customer needs and give employees time to deepen customer relationships.

“To craft a perfect sales email, it might take even a top salesperson several hours or even days to collect all of the context about the customer, such as their marketing interactions, open service support issues, or what they have in their commerce basket,” said Shih. “Generative AI can do that in an instant for every seller in your organization, as well as every service agent,  every marketing manager, every commerce manager, and every developer — not just the top few percent.”

2. Build better customer service to improve customer relationships

Companies are struggling to meet customers’ rising expectations for speedy solutions and increased personalisation. Instead of having customers lose patience waiting on hold while service reps dig for solutions, generative AI can quickly craft the exact response required by combining knowledge culled from multiple articles and sources. Then, it can automatically generate post-call summaries.

“The productivity boost we can get from these generative AI capabilities will allow us to create more capacity to focus on connecting and building relationships with customers,” Le said. “Think about being on the phone with a person who actually listens, hears you, understands you, and makes you feel truly seen.” 

Customer service with generative AI is not only more efficient, but also more rewarding for service reps and less frustrating for customers

Clara Shih
CEO of Salesforce AI

“It’s incredibly powerful to be able to look within thousands of knowledge articles and be able to generate the best answer to a customer support question in a very short period of time,” Baxter added.

This opens up more time for you to actually talk to a customer, to get to know their issue, and address it quickly. Generative AI can fill in the white space faster and let service agents get back to having better conversations and being more personable. 

“This will completely revolutionise how businesses interact and build relationships with their customers,” Shih said. “Customer service with generative AI is not only more efficient, but also more rewarding for service reps and less frustrating for customers.”

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3. Develop hyper-personalisation for better targeted customer experiences

By analysing customer data, preferences, and past interactions, generative AI will enable businesses to deliver custom content, recommendations, and communications to each individual. These tailor-made touchpoints will resonate more deeply with customers, helping create stronger, more personalised interactions.

“Every email, every customer service conversation, every marketing message will absolutely be much more personalised and relevant to the customer,” Le said. “That’s what generative AI is going to be able to deliver at scale. It’s ultimately about the dynamic, personalised experiences you’ll be able to deliver for your customers at every touchpoint.” 

4. Generate sales notes and emails and boost sales performance through data

For sales teams, generative AI can automatically generate call summaries and follow-up emails, freeing reps to focus on connecting with the customer. It will also help sales leaders measure the effectiveness of sales activities. 

For example, managers will be able to measure the performance of an email that was generated based on certain data. Did it actually cause opportunities to advance pipeline stages faster than before? Did it drive a higher average order price or a higher close rate? Generative AI can help refine sales processes and overall communications with customers.

“The holy grail of sales management has always been the question of how you can get the median sales rep performing like a top rep,” Shih said. “Now we have an opportunity to do so in a data-driven way that also feels authentic and personalized both to the rep and to the particular customer or prospect they’re reaching out to.”

5. Expand creativity for marketing campaigns and product innovation

AI-generated design concepts will bolster creative teams and product designers with tools previously out of reach. This will enhance innovation and accelerate the time to market for new campaigns and products. Generative AI will strengthen the creative process, bringing ideas to life quickly. Human creativity will increase as team members evaluate and refine the results or quickly move on to newer concepts.

“Rather than AI taking over creative tasks, combining AI with human capabilities can actually amplify creativity,” Baxter said. “It’s all about how you apply the technology and create incentive structures to keep humans in the loop. It’s up to companies to make sure their employees are taking a critical eye to AI-generated content and identifying the places where it is additive and providing benefit.”

6. Automate repetitive coding to raise developers’ productivity

Generative AI’s ability to write code will allow developers to automate repetitive tasks. By using AI to create boilerplate code or apply common algorithms, teams can shorten timelines, ensure consistency, and minimise human error. At the same time, non-technical team members will be able to use no-code and low-code tools, so the ability to create applications won’t be limited to the engineering team.

Business analysts can create their own AI-infused applications and integrate AI across different data sources,” Shih said. “This really speaks to the importance of being able to scale this out during this developer shortage.”

While it seems like there’s a lot ahead of you, getting set up with generative AI at its inception will help position your business to thrive more quickly. Follow these three steps to get up and running — and then keep building.

  • Figure out where generative AI will fit in your business operation
  • Understand the cost implications and ROI of generative AI, as well as the importance of investing in companies and tools that use trusted AI.
  • Build a business use case that will prove its usefulness, and start planning how you will roll it out.

“This is absolutely such an interesting time,” said Le. “The tremendous change we’re experiencing with generative AI will allow people to spend far less time on dull, repetitive tasks, and more time on human things, like building relationships.”

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