When you are running a business, access and insights from real-time business data have real value. A CRM solution has excellent real-time information about what customers are working on and where you stand in their business decision-making process. When you integrate real-time data from your ERP solution, you now have a data set that shows what you have done in the past, what you are planning to do in the near term future, and what your customers are planning to do that impact your future. This is a robust data set, and by applying analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), you can gain real insight into what you can do that would have the most significant impact on your business.

Artificial Intelligence – How It Can Be Used In The Sales Process.

AI is currently one of the buzzwords flying around the CRM, and there are great expectations about how it can magically improve sales performance, reduce costs, and drastically improve customer satisfaction. Forbes estimated that less than 0.5% of the data available in a business is being analyzed and used by the company’s people. By using AI, you can leverage more of this data to figure out what the best course of action is to maximize your business results. Data management and data-driven decision making will be a crucial differentiator for companies in the future. The leaders are figuring out how to leverage the data available to them to achieve their objectives. Also, as companies grow, collecting, storing, and providing meaningful data can become a huge task, and your customers won’t wait around for you to find the information they need and get it to them in a form they can use. CRM solutions that leverage Artificial Intelligence will be the ones that offer a solution for efficient data management.

AI-powered CRM is starting to be used by industry today. Here are some of the problems it is addressing:

  • According to Forbes, in 2019, less than 40% of organizations have achieved a 90% adoption rate for using CRM systems. This is partly because they also reported that sales teams spend up to 17%, or almost one day per week, entering data into a sales tracking system. Indeed, manual data entry is the primary obstacle that inhibits CRM adoption.

  • Artificial intelligence not only empowers sales professionals to eliminate manual data entry, but it also bolsters their ability to centralize disparate customer databases and, in turn, capture the complete customer lifecycle—whether it has transpired via email, phone conversations, chatbots, etc.

  • Salespeople must develop high levels of trust and rapport with their customers. According to industry research, >75% of business buyers state that it’s absolutely critical or essential to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor. We have a lot of work to do as sales professionals because a mere 3% of buyers trust sales reps.

  • AI can help judge customer sentiment in sales calls, presentations, and all the interactions between your employees and the customer. When all the historical interaction data is integrated into next-generation CRM systems with AI, salespeople, and managers can leverage the analysis’s output to provide better, more effective customer interactions.

  • CRM solutions that have AI embedded in them can learn from past decisions and historical patterns to focus your attention on the highest potential business issues and opportunities to maximize its business results.

  • An AI-powered CRM will connect with customers on a much better level because you will be anticipating what they need and providing them what they want when they want it and in the form they need.

  • Data Integrity is a significant problem for CRMs.Research by Dun & Bradstreet has shown that 91% of the data in CRM systems is incomplete, 18% is duplicated, and 70% goes obsolete every year. With 8 out of 10 companies believing that their lousy data disrupts the sales process and creates brand damage.

  • An AI implementation demands accurate data, so AI is becoming a critical tool to find and correct insufficient data. Most potential customers expect their database to be the primary source of this information. This includes the data available from their CRM system along with the ERP data and any quality records and problem resolution databases that are available inside the company. They also expect with lower confidence to access third-party databases and industry data where it applies.

  • AI can look for anomalies, irregularities, duplicates, and other errors that will lead to insufficient data and bad decisions with minimal human interaction. When you integrate 3rd party databases into your system, AI can find and correct missing records by interpolation. There is no question that insufficient data is one of the critical reasons salespeople fail to adopt CRM systems, and AI can help correct this issue.

  • Leads are an essential part of the sales process, and identifying the most valuable leads from the data is one of the ways AI is having an impact on the sales process. 96% of people who go to your website aren’t ready to buy, so finding the 4% who are is an essential part of converting leads to new business for a company.

  • Using rule-based lead scoring is not very useful and delivers suboptimal results. AI-based lead scoring can analyze past performance for wins and losses and provide predictive lead guidance to help you focus on the highest return leads for follow up.

  • AI embedded in a CRM solution can help you close more deals because it will provide clear insight into what has worked and what has not worked in the past. You can evaluate different scenarios and identify the highest impact strategy to win without giving the store away.

  • Pricing optimization is one of the high-value applications of CRM/AI integration. Quote analysis to find just the right price and information to win without giving away too much when you don’t have to.

  • Studies have shown that it is tough for sales and marketing teams to identify customers that are more likely to make a decision and buy more product, so gaining insights into which customers should gain the most sales and marketing attention will help you close more business faster and avoid wasting time on customers who will take up time but will not buy.

  • Account specific guidance is also possible with AI-based CRM solutions. Instead of just being a data repository, an AI-powered CRM can become a trusted advisor for the sales team.

  • AI/CRM can provide targeted information such as personalized sales and marketing collateral delivered at the right time and suggested action courses.

Buyers today are looking for salespeople who are informed and knowledgeable about their business and products and act as trusted advisors. To do that, sales support tools like CRMs need to help salespeople stay one step ahead of their customers and provide just the right information at only the right time. With the prescriptive recommendation capability of an AI-powered CRM, you can start to become the trusted advisors your customers need and outperform your competition in this challenging new environment.

CRMs are in desperate need of a makeover. Sales reps can no longer survive without garnering the trust of the customer. Artificial intelligence promises to equip salespeople with a high reputation. With targeted and prescriptive recommendations, artificial intelligence empowers them to become thought leaders and transform customer relationships from salesperson/customer to doctor/patient, providing effective treatments for potentially fatal business issues. The implications are game-changing.

If you want to explore how data integration with a comprehensive CRM / AI solution can help you improve your decision making and take your business to the next level, we will be happy to show you how you can take advantage of this powerful new capability to improve your results. Contact us today.

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