Leveraging AI To Revive Your CRM Platform

AI and CRM Platforms: A Powerful Combo

Anyone who’s been in Silicon Valley long enough can tell you: Messaging around AI has taken over too many company’s value propositions.

If you’re leading with AI, then you’re really missing the point. The real value is the value your solution brings.

AI is just the tool you use to get there.

That’s not to say AI isn’t amazing technology—it definitely is. But to successfully make the most of AI, it can’t be seen as the end-goal.

One person who knows just how powerful a tool AI can be is my guest today, Amit Pande, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Aviso.

Aviso provides an AI-powered solution for sales and revenue teams that integrates with CRM platforms, email, and other third-party repositories to drive predictive forecasts and deal execution.

It’s a great example of AI working under the hood to provide a solution.

And nobody likes to talk about one of the areas it’s working to solve: the (not-so-) “dirty” secret with CRM platforms.

In this episode, Amit shares his thoughts on:

  • Why CRM platforms are great, but they can be even better
  • How gentle nudges can become a powerful solution
  • Why automation matters

CRM Platforms are Great Tools, but They Can Be Even Better

CRM platforms have revolutionized our interactions with customers and are used by so many companies to improve business relationships and, ultimately, profits.

So what exactly is the problem?

The problem arises when we rely too heavily on our salespeople to enter the data. The reality is, there’s not a single rep out there who’s compensated based on the quality of their data. They’re comped on closing deals.

That means you end up with a lot of missing data and, frankly, a lot of CRM user “bad-behavior.” This results in what’s known as “dirty data.” That’s data you’ve got to clean up before it becomes useful. And it means spending even more time within the CRM platform.

Which gets us to the bigger problem with CRM platforms: Time spent entering data is time your reps could spend selling.

“Do you really want your salespeople spending any time entering data into a system or do you want them to spend time in front of customers? — Amit Pande

In fact, some data shows that the average sales rep spends two-thirds of their time in front of a computer—not a customer. But don’t worry, there are innovative solutions out there to deal with this problem. Which is great news: CRM platforms are so incredibly useful, but with a few tweaks to how we deal with data, they can be even better.

A Gentle Nudge is a Powerful Solution

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most powerful.

One of the best ways Aviso has tackled the problem of incomplete data is through “nudges.” Nudges, on the surface, just seem like incredibly simple reminders. But the theory behind using them is so powerful it won Richard Taylor a Nobel Prize a few years ago. Nudge theory centers on positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to influence behavior and decision making.

When it comes to your sales team, nudges make sure they deal with the most important data to keep the dreaded dirty data from creeping into CRM platforms.

And that’s where AI comes in—to improve the functionality of CRM platforms.

AI helps identify the 8 to 10 “Golden Fields” that are vital to your business running smoothly. The sales reps will receive a few “nudges” to fill out those fields that matter most to ensure their sales playbook is running on time and effectively.

The rest happens magically behind the scenes through AI.

In practice, nudges might look like this:

  • Sending a nudge to the rep in the form of a very useful AI-based weekly digest
  • If they don’t get a chance to read it, sending a message to their phone (and dealing with it is as simple as a swipe)
  • If they don’t do that, then working with their manager to figure out how to deliver more relevant intelligence.

The idea is gaining a lot of traction and it’s only a matter of time before we see it used by our marketing team.

“I really believe what we’re seeing in sales, and how sales is being affected by AI, will happen to business processes across the rest of the organization, as well.” — Amit Pande

AI and CRM Platforms: The power of automation

So far, we’ve talked mostly about how to get your sales team to enter better data. But what if they don’t have to enter it at all?

Imagine how effective your sales team would be if they drastically reduced that two-thirds of their time sitting at a computer entering data. Instead, they could spend more time with their customers.

Well, it’s possible with automation—and AI can help find the smoothest ways to automate data entry. It may sound obvious, but sales don’t just take place in your CRM platform. They take place in email, in meetings, in calendars, and in all the other areas where sales reps operate to succeed in their jobs.

This is where AI shows its true power—to automatically log everything happening in these spaces, capture the activity, and enter the data into your CRM platform. Your reps will no longer need to add time after every email or meeting—or even add new contacts into their phones. AI frees up that time by mining sales activity for you.

“Sales is the only function that truly operates at the clock speed of the customer because everything depends upon responding to the customer.” — Amit Pande

Freeing up so much time enables your sales team to operate at the speed of the customer, making it possible for them to do their jobs more efficiently and close more deals.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what counts?

For more interviews from the Data-Driven Marketer podcast, check us out on Apple Podcasts, or at this link.

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