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AI (Artificial Intelligence) for CRM - Are customers ready ?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) for CRM - Are customers ready ?

The development of technology, also in the CRM space, is relentless and an unstoppable machine.

As the oldest certified salesforce.com partner in Europe, we have taken part in this journey for the last 15 years. Salesforce being the leader in Cloud and CRM solutions, has recently announced the introduction of AI onto their platforms. Einstein, salesforce's AI solution, is touted to be a "game changer" that will transform the way we work.

But are customers ready for this change ? Are the people (CRM users) and organizations ready for the touted impact ?

The constant evolution in technology is today, a given. The challenge we see our customers facing in their daily business, on the one hand, is keeping their organizations on top of these endless changes and not fall behind. On the other, most customers we work with, worldwide, large & small, have more fundamental challenges, such as having clean data, defining common processes, user adoption, or even in some cases defining their "rules of the game" and agreeing on what is a Lead, Account & Contact. 

It never ceases to amaze, how many discussions we have, to define what is a Lead, when is it a Lead and when is it no longer a Lead. Or even, in some cases, what is a customer ? You would think this is obvious, but often it is not.

Will AI solutions help such customers ? It is doubtful when even fundamentals of their business processes are not clearly defined.

Without a doubt, the use of AI will benefit certain customers, who have clear and defined processes, and work with common methods and definitions. Even when not perfect, the AI machine will help and assist the user to do his job better . Clients with very large CRM installations, with millions of datasets, will benefit from background AI analysis and suggestions to better and more simply interpret the mass of data.

Is this something that will help from Day 1 of the CRM implementation ? Probably not, as in the best of cases, AI will need to learn the habits of users, trends and tendencies, understanding the data and start helping and advising its users.

So how do I prepare myself and my team for AI ? you may be asking yourself. 
To get full benefits of AI functionality, a few fundamentals need to be considered and prepared. For AI to properly "predict or assess" your data, you of course need to have your data in one system and not in silos or individual excel lists. Prepare & train your users, ensure adoption is mandatory, and support their needs when problems come up. When facing resistance, work to remove the excuses for not using the new tools.

The data in your system needs to be "clean", ie: no duplicates. We have all heard the phrase "garbage in - garbage out". AI will also typically need relatively large amounts of data to analyse trends and recommend scorings. Large amounts of data are really only useful if all users use the system in a common way and respect the rules of data entry, and their associated business processes.

Set your expectations with AI. Simply by switching on the AI functionality, AI will not magically solve your problems. AI will need time to assess & analyze enough to start making sound analysis & predictions. You, your users and company, will also need time to adapt & adopt new tools and learn how such tools can best serve your business needs.

As we keep an eye on the marketplace, the already announced developments and what is soon to come, not only from salesforce.com but many players in the business, AI is here, now, and here to stay. As a new dimension in the CRM world of our clients, it will be very interesting to see how and how quickly Einstein and other tools will be adopted.

Nexell - your Swiss based Certified Partner, supporting clients worldwide.

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Nexell GmbH, based in Switzerland & Germany is your Salesforce.com and Salesforce.org, Pardot and Fonteva partner.

Founded in 2002, we help our customers and non-profit organizations in the field of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Our services, technologies and strategies culminates from years of experience with large and small firms, resulting in a set of best practices which are applied to all our projects, big and small, locally and internationally.

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