27 October 2016

How machine learning is changing the face of the CRM industry

Tags:CRM

Picture this: You walk into a business meeting, and you’re well prepared.

You know who you’re meeting, when you last spoke and the topics you discussed.

You’ve even devised a meeting plan and developed a strategy to help address any sensitive discussion points.

The point is that your research is done, and you feel confident.

Now let’s picture a different scenario. Imagine that you haven’t done this extensive, meticulous research.

Instead, you glance at your phone or watch on the way to the meeting, and it gives you all the information you need, and more.

Your device already knows who you’re meeting and has analysed the transcripts of your previous discussions. It has also seen the proposals that have gone out. As a result, it can identify the talking points that are important to this individual and make recommendations on how to approach these subjects.

This is the future of CRM.

Successful CRM implementations have been hoarding significant amounts of data for years. Some people are putting this data to good use; however, collectively, we’ve barely scratched the surface of its true potential.

Industry leaders have begun to ask how this CRM data can start to work harder for their customers, and we’re seeing a trend towards machine learning and data-driven decision-making.

So how will these ideas utilise the data inside your CRM? And what does this mean for the future of your business?

Businesses are looking towards data-driven individuals

Data-driven decision-making has been at the forefront of marketing for a while now, enabling organisations to make smart decisions based on the CRM data they collect from their users.

Still, it’s not a new concept, and CEOs have started to question why their data isn’t being used to help make decisions across all aspects of their business.

Consequently, we’re seeing a shift from data-driven marketeers and executives to data-driven individuals.

Businesses are looking towards a future when any client-facing staff member has access to and is able to employ these data-driven decision-making tools.

In order to achieve this, companies need to think about the data they need to facilitate data-driven decisions for their staff. Organisations have to bring this information into their CRMs so that they have the smarts for an AI agent to begin making business recommendations.

Artificial intelligence is the future of CRM

At its SugarCon conference in San Francisco earlier this year, SugarCRM put artificial intelligence (AI) at the head of its product plans by announcing its AI-powered agent, Candace.

Using SugarCRM’s new machine-learning-based intelligence service to combine in-house data with external sources, Candace aims to reduce data entry and then to guide and assist users in business decision-making.

During a demonstration of the AI agent at the conference, Rich Green, SugarCRM’s chief product officer, explained that Candace will be able to listen in on meetings and make recommendations based on the information it collects.

People tend to underestimate the challenge of putting data at the core of their businesses, so this ability – to collect information automatically – will make life easier by ensuring data currency.

Data-driven decision-making has been a hot topic for some time, but people have never implemented it on the scale that we’re now seeing.

The use of AI agents, such as SugarCRM’s Candace, will be a game changer for the industry, and it’s only a matter of time before your CRM data begins driving decision-making for your business.

We’re already using CRM data to make recommendations

Here at Squiz, we’ve been talking about this topic for a while and have already begun to implement these ideas.

Last year, we delivered a customer-satisfaction program in which the CRM had to be able to make recommendations to customer-service agents in a retention scenario.

The technology we developed was able to identify the issues that were most important to the customer, analyse the variables that made these issues unique and ask, “What are the most useful things we can talk about?”

Although this program wasn’t dressed up as a machine-learning tool, it was able to start making recommendations based on the data it had collected.

Data-driven machine learning is just around the corner

We may not yet be at the point where data can control decision-making for businesses and their staff, but the concept is no longer a pipe dream.

That futuristic vision of walking into a meeting fully prepared thanks to a quick glance at your phone is certainly attainable.

With the announcement of AI agents such as SugarCRM’s Candace, the CRM industry is set to make great advancements in machine learning over the coming years.

And as organisations focus on the idea of data-driven individuals, the demand for machine-learning tools is now higher than ever.

It’s an exciting prospect for the future – and it’s not far off.

Learn more about the CRM technologies here at Squiz.

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