Salesforce: democratizing AI for small businesses

Salesforce is incorporating AI technology into their CRM to help customer make better and more informed business decisions.

Overview

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing…these are all concepts that are taking the economy and the way businesses make decisions by storm. However, not everyone can take advantage of all these tools have to offer. For many, these are nothing but buzz words, only accessible to a lucky few with the technical skills and resources to have a team who can unlock their value. Salesforce is trying to change that by introducing Einstein, helping companies deliver personalized, more intelligent and more predictive customer experiences to all their consumers.

Founded in 1999, Salesforce has evolved to be one of the biggest technology companies in the world, with 49 thousand employees, revenues of $17 billion, and a market cap of over $145B. Salesforce businesses, including SMEs, consolidate many sources of information, manage relationships with customers in a cohesive way, and make business decisions on a customer level based on data. For SMEs, contacting their clients, prospects and leads is one of the most important things they need to do. Salesforce helps them manage these interactions, and it also helps track and qualify each customer and prospect.

By creating a homogeneous process in the way that sales agents lead with clients and prospects, Salesforce can help the commercial team manage the necessary next steps in the sales pipeline, improving conversion along the funnel. Additionally, by standardizing the process, it helps companies transfer clients between sales agents, as well as assist sales team leaders in having a comprehensive view of their teams and their sales targets by creating report with up to date sales information. Additionally, and this is especially true for SMEs, the sales team leader is also in charge of other areas of the business. Operations, finance, human resources, etc. Salesforce helps them save time by having all of the company’s information in a single platform.

What does Einstein do?

Salesforce’s new product, Einstein, builds on top of the already comprehensive value proposition they used to provide by adding a layer of intelligence into the analysis and helping users make the best decisions on a client level basis. Research shows that the surge of AI has changed the way that customers interact with companies, and what they have come to expect from them. 48% of individual customers and 63% of businesses now expect personalized offers in their purchases(1).

By using AI, Einstein delivers predictive analysis to users to help them discover insights in their data, whether it is in Salesforce on in other systems built in it, predict outcomes and lifetime value on a customer level basis and finally recommend the best next step to engage with each client, including actions and a specific offer. The added predictability in Einstein can help companies improved their conversion rates, increase campaigns ROI and improve resource allocation(2).

Einstein not only helps in making better, more informed decisions, but its functionalities also include interactions with customers and leads. Workflows and processes can be automated so that a customer receives an email, message, or even offer, depending on the outcome of Einstein’s recommendation. Additionally, using this technology and the data already in the CRM, companies can program Einstein bots to qualify customers, and resolve small and simple customer requests, taking work off sales agents to be able to focus on other things. Sales agents can also program bots to assist them in managing their current customer base, and in letting them know when to follow a course of action. For instance, these bots can let them know of an increase in a customer’s churn probability so that they can take proactive steps in contacting the customer and prevent that from happening(3).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Salesforce Einstein E-book

For the more tech savvy users of salesforce, Einstein also offers many other features to help companies take advantage of their AI technology outside or the sales and marketing teams. The flexibility in Salesforce allow companies to access features to help human resources departments in predicting staff demands and offer acceptance rates, or to help the finance department forecast the likelihood of a customer missing a payment to help them improve their revenue forecasts.

Conclusion

Access to superior intelligence and technologies is being democratized at an incredible pace, and any company, in any size or industry, that doesn’t take advantage of this risks being in a sever competitive disadvantage when making decisions. By adding these features to their CRM, Salesforce is giving their entire userbase access to this, increasing users’ switching costs and cementing its place as the world’s leading provider of customer relationship management software.

 

Notes

  1. https://a.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/www/ocms/assets/pdf/misc/ai-revolution-report.pdf
  2. https://hbr.org/2017/06/ai-can-comb-through-your-data-to-create-more-compelling-customer-experiences
  3. https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/e-books/analytics/sfdc-predictions.pdf

 

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Student comments on Salesforce: democratizing AI for small businesses

  1. What a great example of how AI can power small businesses! I had not really though about AI being something that’s accessible to SMEs until I read your post. I agree that this can unlock value for smaller firms in two ways – enable them to keep their sales teams smaller (and costs lower) as they grow because of the automation Einstein provides, and helps them make sales decisions more judiciously rather than taking the same approach with all customers.

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