4 Ways to Grow Your Business Using the Power of AI
There is a powerful connection between AI technology and sales-driven company growth. Data analytics has become one of the most helpful tools in the history of sales and marketing, and nearly half of all big data is applied directly to customer insights for marketing purposes. Moreover, Salesforce’s 2nd Annual Small & Medium Business Trends Report found that companies leading the way in their industries are 2.3 times more likely to have jumped on the AI bandwagon than declining companies in their respective field.
The mass adoption of big data solutions is showing no signs of slowing down. In 2018 alone, 20% of businesses expect to implement AI technology into their sales processes in some form, and this number is only expected to increase in the foreseeable future. AI is the game changer that is reviving businesses with the information and access they need for ongoing development.
Curious as to how exactly big data can help your business continue its pattern of growth? Let’s talk about what it can do for you.
Shape a Better Company Culture
Organizations that want to succeed externally must first be strong and healthy internally. Businesses that prioritize culture are generally more productive and have higher revenues than their competitors. Why do people look up to businesses like Zappos, Google, and Southwest? It’s not just because of their wonderful products and services; these three industry leaders are also known for their exceptionally positive internal cultures.
A strong company culture is directly related to sustainable growth and innovation, but creating this environment is not easy. Sadly, less than a third of business leaders have an exact understanding of the culture within their organization. Gaining feedback from everyone within the company is the best way for managers to understand the positive and negative aspects of the culture and how to address these issues.
AI can directly help business leaders create a healthier, stronger culture from the very beginning. Big data recruiting systems can automate the pre-qualification process by narrowing down the number of applicants and potential candidates so recruiters only need to reach out to the most capable talent.
Customer-focused new-age companies like Zappos, Vodafone and Netflix use the “smart” recruiting tool Harver, which can run specialized tests to detect soft skills, personality qualities, and technical abilities that have proven to translate to strong performance in the role. This information provides HR teams with the information they need to discover talent that will thrive in their existing environment and minimize employee turnover.
AI can also be used to make changes to the current culture by identifying weaknesses and strengths. Employee sentiment software uses big data to track important metrics such as productivity, output, and turnover, along with 360-degree employee feedback to give leaders an accurate glimpse of the internal temperature of the organization. These software systems can also monitor development and improvement as changes are made.
Businesses with a healthy culture are statistically more productive and grow at a faster pace than companies with poor work environments. According to Gallup’s in-depth, multi-year State of the American Workplace report, companies with high level of engagement have 59% lower employee turnover and are 21% more profitable and productive.
Numbers like these are proof that company culture matters. By putting more effort into the workplace itself, companies can expect growth and innovation to follow.
Build Stronger Customer Connections
Creating genuine relationships between a brand and their customers is essential for growth. Businesses are also feeling an increasing pressure to stand out from the crowd by providing memorable user experiences to keep them coming back for more.
One of the best ways for companies to do this is through personalization. Customers crave understanding, and they are more than willing to provide their data in order to receive content tailored to their needs and desires. 73% of customers surveyed for a Forrester study expected brands to use their information for personalized experiences. Modern marketing teams must capitalize on AI’s ability to analyze consumer data instantly and improve the customer experience accordingly.
The only problem is that many businesses simply do not know how to properly use this data, or are they not fully equipped with the systems needed to translate consumer information to sales in a useful way.
Small business owners in the B2B space often struggle to find new leads, and more than likely do not have the budget for large marketing campaigns or massive sales teams. Following up with customer inquiries or past clients can also take up lots of valuable time that entrepreneurs and business owners simply do not have.
This is where AI can step in. Thanks to machine learning capabilities, AI-powered “virtual sales assistants” can hold conversations with human beings via chat or email to collect information and suggest next steps. Conversica’s AI tool is specifically designed to foster sales opportunities by engaging potential customers in human-like conversations. It can also qualify leads automatically based on their conversations and send sales teams a prioritized list of prospects to contact with suggestions aimed at improving conversion rates.
Following up with a lead as quickly as possible can make all the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. By automating this process with an AI tool, small business owners can guarantee that no lead slips through the cracks.
For B2C e-commerce retailers, AI technology can help companies easily and automatically create personalized shopping recommendations, specialized offers, and more strategic marketing strategies. Big data software can track consumer information from a retail POS system that integrates offline and physical transactional data, and then turns that data into user-friendly, personalized content.
Digital marketers that embrace this kind of technology will see just how big of an impact AI can have on their strategies. Sending out an email with a personalized offer or formulating a webpage to show relevant content based on a user’s past behavior can certainly translate to better sales and customer loyalty. This type of deep-rooted personalization requires a close attention to contextual insights, behavioral data, and more.
AI also performs functions critical to the sale not just during the sale, but throughout the customer’s journey as well as the duration of their relationship with the brand – and this is made possible via the omnipresent chatbots. A study conducted by Oracle predicts that 80% of businesses will be using chatbots to handle customer interactions by 2020.
Such widespread adoption across touchpoints and channels does not come without some its fair share of kinks along the way. Creating machines to mimic human interaction is no easy task, as it requires constant refinement. One of the major issues with chatbots is knowing how to use them to emulate human characteristics, like empathy for the customer and the ability to build rapport.
Boost Social Media Engagement
Of course, nearly every business is super-active on social media these days, but that doesn’t mean that their strategies are working perfectly. Depending on the platform, most businesses report less than 1% engagement from their followers in terms of likes, comments, and shares.
In order to increase this number, brands must be aware of the type of content their audience likes to see. While statistics prove that videos and long-form articles tend to do well, it greatly depends on the topic that the content covers.
Again, AI is here to save the day. There are tons of tools that use machine learning to listen to social conversations online and identify buzzworthy topics or trends that can be used by brands to boost engagement.
Some systems will even automate content creation for marketing teams. Others can suggest influencers to partner with based on audience overlap.
Another huge breakthrough for social media engagement is – here we go again – chatbots. These are fantastic for providing instant customer service with automated responses, which can be based on previous interactions, FAQs, or any other relevant data. One of the fastest growing customer service platforms these days is Facebook Messenger Chatbots. Not only can these bots be programmed to answer frequently fielded queries, they can also aid the research process, and even make sales on their own!
The key is knowing how to get your customer started on the purchase journey in a conversational tone that prompts small actions. One of the greatest examples of this concept is eBay’s ShopBot. Here are the first few steps of an interaction with the Shopbot:
You’ll notice that not only is a human-like tone used throughout the interaction, but it’s also used in a way that matches user intent and nudges them down the sales funnel.
Plan for a Growth Oriented Future
Businesses have long struggled with the task of coming up with strategies to plan for future growth based on past performance. Important metrics can easily be overlooked, and a misinterpretation of the data can lead to all kinds of missed opportunities. In fact, 85% of companies report that while they are able to collect data easily, they have no idea how to analyze it correctly.
By handing this duty over to AI technology, businesses can rest easy in the fact that their decisions will be accurate and profitable. Predictive analytics is one of the clearest benefits that big data has to offer. This is because it can virtually guide companies towards success. This system uses a combination of data collection, monitoring, and analysis to determine the likelihood of future outcomes. Access to this information is a total game changer for businesses that intend to grow, but are unsure of what exactly they need to do next.
There is no question that AI is the future of business. Companies of all shapes and sizes can almost certainly expect to see quicker and better results using AI. Companies that rely on data to drive their decisions are more productive and profitable than those who rely on older methods revolving around guesswork. While AI technology certainly cannot determine the future, predictive analytics certainly makes it easier for businesses to justify their choices.
Even if you are a small business with limited budget, you need to roll up your sleeves and get down to implementing AI-driven processes without wasting any more time. Within the next three years, 75% of companies worldwide intend to incorporate AI tools into their daily operations and best practices. From internal workflows and culture to external communication with customers and vendors, big data and machine learning systems are able to guide companies to make decisions that will bring positive, quantifiable results. Good luck!