We are in the “AI powered” age in terms of enterprise tech. There is literally no area of enterprise tech that is not touched by AI. Through emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), we’re finding new and better ways of collecting and turning data into actionable insights, adding structure, automating the processing of data and reducing the need for time-consuming manual analysis. Within this one of the most rapidly growing segments of AI technology is Bots (Chatbots, Voice Bots etc). In a sense, it is the “Age of the Bot”.
“First, machines and artificial intelligence will be increasingly fundamental to business. We have to welcome machines and AI into the fold of work. They will enable businesses to scale while allowing managers and business leaders to focus on core competencies. However, human judgment is a critical complement to machine intelligence. Managers have to understand the abilities and limits of machines and create new work models that allow human and machine intelligence to work together optimally. Therefore, over the next decade, I don’t think AI will replace managers, but managers who use AI will definitely replace those who don’t.” – Deepa Mani, Professor at the Indian School of Business.
Bots, especially chatbots are already widespread and being adopted at exponential pace. Companies are looking at $8 billion in annual savings by using chatbots, according to Juniper Research that referenced over 50 firms across eight regions and assessed the impact of chatbots in four industries.
Bots + CRM = Seller Assistants
Sales & Marketing is the crucible in which enterprise technology is often forged. CRMs were one of the first tools in enterprise tech. The adoption of cloud-based enterprise tech started with Salesforce. The adoption of mobile technologies for enterprise tech had sales teams as the first mover. Now sales teams are investing in chatbots and various other AI and ML applications.
CRMs of various hues and flavors have been around for over 30 – 40 years now. Though organizations have been implementing CRM software for years now, their adoption is low and for long sales representatives have seen CRM as a hindrance to productivity. CRMs have been a sales manager’s tool to track business deals and activities. The CRM tools have usually not provided the reason and motivation to use them to the sales force causing data leakage. It is time new technology is put to use to solve these issues.
Advances in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and NLP have given rise to the birth of the “seller assistant bot” that takes the CRM to the next phase of evolution. The Seller Assistant Bot has emerged on the scene as a solution to a sales person’s challenges and has turned the bot-enabled CRM into a support system that works for the sales team at all levels.
Sales is the interaction with prospective buyers, and guide them toward purchases based on their needs. Sales is really about understanding buying behavior and being able to respond effectively and at the right time. Gartner estimates that by 2021 85% of the first contact a customer has with a company will be driven by bots. There are various types of sales related bots:
- Lead Generation Chatbots – Usually placed on the websites to capture details of potential customers and engage them.
- Sales Assistant Bots – Operate mostly in the e-commerce space, helping customers make choices on products sold on those websites
- Seller Assistant Bots – Help salespeople do their tasks better and work with CRMs and other enterprise software
Based on the interface, bots can also be classified as: chatbot, voice bot, and the visual bot. The possibilities of voice-powered assistants (bots) have grown due to the spread of consumer voice assistants and their potential in enterprise tech is enormous.
The CRM market is already huge. According to Gartner, worldwide CRM software revenue amounted to $39.5 billion last year and is expected to grow at 16%. Sales and Marketing Technology companies number more than 5,000 today. According to Markets and Markets, the global voice-powered intelligent virtual assistants (IVA) market is expected to be “USD 17.72 billion by 2023.” So their integration is inevitable.
If chatbots are already ubiquitous, voice-bots are waiting to explode. Voice-powered platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa (Dot, Echo Show etc) introduce a fundamental shift in accessing computing power. They take the results of a software system away from traditional computing devices to smart, edge devices. Voice & Visual bots help visualize information and workflows and present graphs and data on demand, real-time. With voice controlled bots integrated with CRMs – the need to extensively query data, analysis and content, by the sales teams is possible in the hands-off mode
Seller Assistant Bot: The Next Stop after Mobile for CRMs
Today AI – powered Seller Assistants are rapidly becoming the tech weapon of choice in the arsenals of sales teams. In her article “Why AI Will Be Your New Best Friend in Sales” – Lynne Zaledonis – SVP, Product Marketing, Sales Cloud, Salesforce explains how AI will enhance sales. She points out that AI can help sellers by – (1) Making AI the Admin, (2) Find Out If It’s a Good Deal — Or Not, (3) Look at Past Deals to Make a New Deal, (4) Prospect Leads That Don’t Go Stale
The Seller Assistant Bot:
- Makes it easy to use CRM through chat and voice interfaces. This drives higher adoption of CRM and nearly eliminates data leakage.
- As a virtual, personal assistant to the sales person, it assists with administrative work. The Sales Assistant Bot:
- Can pull up the day’s schedule, open tasks and opportunities. Schedules meetings and tasks. Log tasks and events.
- Can provide specific deal or account information that would need a lot of navigation and send it by e-mails.
- Sends notifications about upcoming meeting and can answer questions to prepare for the meeting such as the specific client’s information.
- Sales training plays a crucial role in making a good salesperson. When training and advice are available on demand, salespeople have a huge advantage. On-demand training and information reduce the ramp-up time for a new sales representative. A mobile CRM with a Virtual Assistant Bot makes this a reality. It reduces the training time spent by sales people and managers significantly.
- Seller Assistant Bots can transition from sales to other departments where needed. Integration of other non-CRM systems with the Seller Assistant Bot make it a more potent enterprise tool.
The seller assistant bot is proactive and brings the sales representative all information and actions that drive his numbers, leaves him with more time and brings down the repetitive admin work. It works for him as much as it works for the organization.
Outwork AI Seller Assistant (Chatbot + Alexa powered Voice and Visual Bots integrated with CRM)
Outwork AI provides a Seller Assistant Bot with all interfaces – chat, voice, and visual bot. It has integrations with Outwork and Salesforce for the CRM and sales force automation part, with Amazon Lex for the NLP and with Amazon Alexa for the Voice and Visual Bots.
Outwork AI Seller Assistant enables sales representatives to:
Get a Virtual Admin Assistant:
- Update the CRM
- Set meetings and get reminders – View and listen to the day’s engagements
- Set and update tasks – View and listen to unfinished tasks, add notes
Intelligent Data Retrieval
specific questions and answers without having to navigate the system
Voice command controlled graphs and charts
View graphs data and insights on a web-page or on Amazon Echo Show by requesting them to an Amazon Alexa Skill.
Outwork provides sales teams with the tools and tech that leaves the salespeople free to focus on the work that requires their acumen and bring home higher revenues with less fatigue and higher productivity.