Sales and marketing teams across a wide swath of industries are continually looking for new, more effective ways to generate quality leads, and to nurture them through they buyer's journey. Traditionally, that has meant posting content offers on their websites and driving content to landing pages through social media, organic search results and paid ads. The problem for many businesses has been how best to engage prospects to deliver optimal sales results.
Increasingly, forward-leaning businesses are turning to automated solutions, like those which leverage innovative software and artificial intelligence (AI). Consider, for example, some of these head-turning statistics from Mobile Business Insights:
- By 2025, AI will drive 95% of all customer interactions
- More than 32% of businesses currently deploy voice recognition and response solutions
- More than 24% of businesses already leverage machine learning, and 15% employ virtual personal assistants
- By 2020, 30% of B2B businesses will use AI to augment one or more of their primary sales processes
The takeaway is clear: AI is fast becoming a critical component of the way businesses promote their products and services, and central to the way they engage customers and prospective customers. Whatever doubt remained on that score was shattered by a recent, dramatic study from IDC-Salesforce.
The Economic Impact of AI on CRMs
That study, A Trillion-Dollar Boost: Salesforce Releases New Research on the Economic Impact of Artificial Intelligence on CRM, makes a dramatic prediction: by 2021, AI-powered CRM activities will increase business revenue by $1.1 trillion and create 800,000 direct, and 2 million indirect, jobs. That's more jobs than the number expected to be lost due to AI-driven automation.
The lion's share of increased business revenues will be the result of enhanced productivity and reduced operating costs. As Robert Wickham, RVP of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Salesforce, notes, AI's impact on the CRM market will be transformative:
"The convergence of increased computing power, big data, and breakthroughs in machine learning have meant artificial intelligence is set to transform the lives of workers, especially those that are already using CRM technology, by helping them be more productive in their development of more meaningful connections with customers."
A "Conservative" Prediction
Business predictions, especially those which measure results in 11 figures, are understandably met with skepticism, but Salesforce insists that, if anything, the trillion-dollar revenue figure is "conservative." That's because software and hardware costs are typically small when compared to those for implementations (including IT and operational staff and non-IT capital goods). As the Salesforce report emphasizes, the costs for external IT account for less than 1% of global business revenue, and less than 5% even in the most IT-rich companies. Said differently, accounting for the way IT implementations typically take place, increased business revenues will likely be higher than the $1.1 trillion noted in the report.
2018: A Watershed Year
According to the report, AI adoption will be fast out of the starting blocks next year. Of surveyed organizations, more than 40% reported that they would integrate AI in 2018. When asked what type of AI they were planning to adopt next year, 31% said advanced numerical analysis, followed by voice/speech recognition (30%), text analysis (27%), and machine learning (25%).
AI-Powered CRM Will Get a Major Boost
Much of the increase in AI adoption will be in AI-powered CRM, according to the report. The specific AI-powered CRM activities will be several, including the following four:
- Accelerating sales cycles;
- Enhancing lead generation and qualification;
- Further personalizing marketing campaigns; and
- Deploying chatbots to enhance customer service and reduce customer support costs
The impact of increased AI adoption will not be limited to a single country or region of the world. Although more than half of new revenue growth will be in the United States ($596 billion), other countries will benefit substantially, including Japan ($91 billion), Germany ($62 billion), the United Kingdom ($55 billion), France ($50 billion) and Australia ($19 billion).
At the core of these new AI initiatives are people, ambitious and talented engineers and software developers who every day are creating innovative algorithms which embrace the latest advances in artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning. To learn more about the ways our accelerated sales, A.I. sales assistant, marketing-to-sales and reporting and insights services can help you drive sales and grow your business, request a demo today.