The world’s number one CRM platform, Salesforce, is used by businesses the world over to not only manage client relationships, but to help them sell, service and market in a smarter way than ever before.
Being at the leading edge of CRM technology, it’s of little surprise that Salesforce has been investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence. With the explosion of big data, something more efficient than the human brain is required to unlock all the secrets that are currently hidden within those zeros and ones.
Both Vladimir Silak, Senior Manager at Salesforce, and Monil Pathak, Domain Architect at Sqware Peg, have a vested interest in the future of Artificial Intelligence in the CRM field. Silak finds himself at the helm of the SalesForce ship, while Pathak and Sqware Peg specialise in implementing the platform.
So how exactly do these two men see Salesforce Einstein – and Artificial Intelligence in general – impacting CRM into the future?
What is Salesforce Einstein?
Before we get to crystal balling, let’s first learn a little more about exactly what it is we’re looking into the future of. Salesforce’s AI offering, Einstein, is perhaps the most complete CRM Artificial Intelligence package currently on the market. Having been developed over the course of three years, it combines four different AI elements to deliver an unrivalled level of insight – machine learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and data mining.
SalesForce has developed several different iterations of Einstein, each with a specific set of capabilities:
· Sales Cloud Einstein
· Service Cloud Einstein
· Marketing and Analytics Cloud Einstein
· Community Cloud Einstein
· IoT Cloud Einstein
· App Cloud Einstein
Pathak says that the tech requires little from the customer. “Because Einstein is embedded into Salesforce Platform, it learns from and makes predictions on all the customer data already in the system. Insights, predictions, and recommendations are served up seamlessly in Salesforce.” This not only makes the job of extracting insights from the data incredibly easy, but also saves an untold amount of resources usually spent on data preparation, infrastructure investment and the employment of data scientists.
So how exactly will Einstein and other AI systems impact client relationship management into the future?
Creating a Deeper Customer Experience
One of the main aims of CRM Artificial Intelligence is to work out what the customer wants, and deliver that to them. Silak describes it as “improving our ability as marketers to understand a holistic customer profile.” This allows an organisation to get a good grasp of both the individual preferences of each customer, and the greater trends of the ‘typical’ customer journey. It can then use both sets of insights to pander to customers in a more effective way than ever before. The aim, he says, is to “make smart, meaningful and truly delightful connections along each of our customers’ journeys.”
You can already see real world examples of this, confirms Pathak. He cites Amazon, Facebook and Apple as consumer AI leaders, all of whom utilise the same AI technologies as SalesForce Einstein.
“Amazon’s famous product recommendation feature is a form of AI that implements a Smart Recommendation Engine which utilises Machine Learning Software at its core. Facebook’s facial recognition feature is a Data Mining form of AI. The algorithm mines users’ past images in order to provide tagging suggestions when a user uploads a new image. Apple’s Siri is an AI capability that implements combination of Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing. It’s software that uses AI to provide intelligent personal assistance.”
Minimum Effort for Maximum Reward
There are certain things that the human brain can currently do far easier than Artificial Intelligence. We can learn the nuances of language as toddlers without really thinking about it, and, provided we go easy on the cream buns, we can walk up a flight of stairs effortlessly. But there are other things that AI can do far better than we bags of flesh and bone. Computing huge swathes of data is one of them. This can be an issue if we don’t have smart tech to extract valuable information out of the raw data which we collect. Artificial Intelligence like Salesforce Einstein is that smart tech.
“We should see the gap between the amount of available data and actionable data decrease over time”, advises Silak. “Marketers will switch from a traditional campaign-oriented approach to a more meaningful, predictive customer experience which addresses every customer in a unique and highly personalised way.” With Einstein and other AI tech doing the manual labour for us, we’ll spend our time actioning the information presented to us, rather than finding it.
A Job Creator, Not a Job Taker
All of this automation will surely put people out of jobs, right? Not so, argue both Silak and Pathak. In fact, if anything, they see things going in the exact opposite direction.
“We should be looking at AI as an enabling force for the innovation and enhancement of marketing experiences”, suggests Silak. As such the nature of the roles in the sector will change, but if we prepare for this change then there will be an incredible amount of work generated by the advancement of the technology. Data scientists are currently doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of data. When these processes are automated, says Silak, that same data scientist could work at “measuring the AI’s effectiveness and defining new paths/methods/algorithms to apply based on the data sets produced by AI”.
Pathak agrees – “Let’s be honest, this tech isn’t going to make jobs redundant. If anything, businesses can think of Salesforce Einstein as a new member who is part of their team.” It’s a way, he says, of streamlining and growing your business, which will inevitably result in more jobs being created.
“Insights that are automatically generated by Einstein will allow businesses to digest and understand the results, and focus on more productive activities. They can essentially work with Salesforce Einstein hand-in-hand and make their organisations more efficient and productive.”
We are in the age of the consumer – the customer of today expects far more than to be marketed and sold to. “They expect”, says Pathak, “an effortless and complete customer experience.” And any business who fails to take note will see their competition soon surging past them.
But the final word is perhaps best left to Silak – “We should be two steps ahead – although not intrusive – in a customer’s journey. We’re not here to push customers to experience the brand we think they want. We’re here instead to identify and provide the experience they really need.
“And there is no better tool than AI to help us with that.”