SugarCRM chief product officer, Rich Green has shared his insights into how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will improve data and allow for new levels of performance and a high-definition customer experience view in 2022.

Today speed is a critical customer experience issue with ‘speed-to-serve’ masters such as Amazon and Uber conditioning customers that they shouldn’t have to wait, according to Green.

“In 2022 and beyond, Australian organisations will increasingly feel the pressure to respond to a lead in minutes, time to complete a Service Level Agreement will need to be highly accelerated and responding to a customer support question must be sufficiently quick to prevent wait times,” he said.

“Sales, marketing, and service will need to operate as one team, with handoffs in seconds and back-and-forth responses in minutes. Data must be shared, and data-driven processes, priorities, next steps, and outlooks automated via AI.

“Bots will become the front line for hyper-convenient engagement as a first step before getting routed to a human. Bots will handle tedious tasks and increasingly offload significant amounts of manual, repetitive work, freeing humans to focus on more inspired, value-added work, while meeting the need for speed in 2022.”

2022 – the year AI breaks through the human trust barrier

Marketeers don’t yet trust AI but 2022 is the year they will, according to Green.

“Companies are still cautious to rely on AI to analyse and automate business processes, so they work in a dual mode of people and AI until they feel confident in AI skills. 2022 is the year where AI will prove its mettle by offering near-term guidance, assisting sales and marketing with recommendations that they can choose to follow, and, over time as AI proves to be accurate and helpful, trust will be established,” he explained.

In 2022, top areas for the application of AI for sales-marketing-service include:

  • Lead quality analysis – likelihood of converting and closing
  • Nurture campaign effectiveness – attribution and adjustment
  • Probability of a lead converting, probability of a lead closing
  • Churn analysis
  • Forecasting and pipeline analysis
  • Sentiment analysis for case handling, sales engagements, and next best actions
  • Next best actions overall
  • Anomaly detection – analysing data to find the “interesting” bit that needs attention
  • Conversational AI – powered by bots – for anything from marketing engagements, sales qualification, and customer support 

AI will deliver greater insights on the here and now

Most Australian organisations have only used AI for prediction, but in 2022, they will start using AI to better understand customers here and now, Green said.

“Most companies have copious amounts of data, but the human brain is not wired to make sense of it to understand trends and find outliers in a given dataset.

“AI assists the human brain by providing the ‘moving mouse’ effect to target the data you need to act on. There are many ‘moving mouse’ instances that, enabled by AI, provide tremendous value to sales, marketing, and service professionals. Take, for example, the business development representative that can either manually go through a list of 1,200 leads or use AI to assist with generating an ideal customer profile to prioritise those to contact first.”

AI will detect and add the best data to your CRM 

In 2022, it’s possible that the best data in your CRM will be the data you didn’t enter, according to Green.

“The accuracy of the data that companies have in their CRM systems diminishes over time – by approximately 30% each year. Today, it’s incumbent on users to properly enter data and to keep it fresh. That dichotomy represents one of the most fundamental challenges in CRM – the more data you enter, the less time you can spend making use of it, and the less likely it will all be accurate, since it ages at an alarmingly fast rate,” he said.

“Organisations will leverage AI more in 2022, to help solve this problem. AI will reach inside and outside your organisation to automatically find loads of information and deliver it to your CRM, eliminating data entry and extending the half-life of your data by automatically keeping it up to date.”