How Can CIOs Use AI To Help The Company Get More Customers?

The key is to find ways to use automated assistants
The key is to find ways to use automated assistants
Image Credit: PROO’Reilly Conferences

Let’s face it: our companies are not in business just to keep the IT department up and running. Rather, it’s really the other way around. The IT department exists to help the company stay up and be successful using the importance of information technology. Of course we keep the company’s critical applications up and running and we spend our time crunching all of the data that has been collected, but what else should we be doing? The answer is actually fairly simple: help the company to get more customers. One way that we can go about doing this is by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI).

How AI Can Get More Customers

Our world is changing. Sales people at most companies are finding themselves overloaded these days. They have more prospects to check out than there is time in a day. What this means for the person with the CIO job is that we need to step in and find ways to help them out. One way to go about doing this is to provide company reps with an automated artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot that has been created in order to talk with potential customers either via email or text message. These chatbots have the ability to work around the cloud reaching out to contact with, engage with, and follow up with potential customers who may have contacted your company. When the chatbot detects that a customer may want to make a purchase, they can hand that customer off to a human sales rep to close the deal.

Digital tools that have been provided to the company by the person in the CIO position are in the process of changing the way that corporate sales teams operate. These new tools are fantastic because they can automate the repetitive tasks that take up so much of a sales rep’s time. These reps have been spending too much of their time going after potential customers who turn out to be dead ends and not enough time going after customers who are willing to complete a sale.

The reasons that artificial intelligence is starting to take a foothold in many companies are many and varied. One reason is that more and more companies are starting to adopt cloud computing which then allows them to easily increase the amount of computing power, data storage, and data gathering abilities that are available to them. The use of the cloud allows companies to rent high capacity computing infrastructure from companies like Amazon and Microsoft. These cloud infrastructures are only now starting to come with their own AI tools built-in.

The Future Of AI And Customers

Right now its the sales teams that need help from AI tools the most. However, a study of the other departments in a company revealed that of the firms that were surveyed, 46% said that sales and marketing needed AI help, 40% said that customer support and product management, and 31% said engineering. Sales is the natural target because sales departments are overloaded with data and they require assistance in trying to understand what it is trying to tell them. It is estimated that 30% of companies world-wide will use AI as a part of their sales processes by 2020. The key is to free up the time of the sales teams.

So what makes an AI assistant useful to a sales team? One of the first things that you’ll want to do is to make the AI assistant a part of the sales team. Give it a name and a job title. In order for an AI assistant to be of use to a sales team, it will have to be trained to understand the back-and-forth flow of a typical sales call. AI assistants can also be used to monitor online social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. These tools can be used to look for potential sales leads. The use of AI tools allows a sales reps time to be prioritized so that they can work on the customer relationships that need the most attention.

The use of AI tools by sales teams is only just starting. The future use of such tools should help to make sales reps even more productive. New tools are allowing data from customer relationship management platforms to be combined with GPS data and traffic patterns in order to optimize sales routes for traveling sales reps. This software has the ability to both identify and then link clusters of customers. When a customer cancels an appointment, the software can then fill in any resulting gaps. Sales teams can now travel with iPads loaded with CRM software and visualization tools in order to keep track of their customer data.

What All Of This Means For You

The role of a CIO in their company has been changing. We have evolved from caretakers of the company’s IT infrastructure to now being responsible for helping the company to be successful. One thing that we need to do is to find ways to help the sales teams land more customers. In order to make this happen, CIOs are going to have to learn how to harness the power of artificial intelligence.

In order to help sales reps find the time to talk to more customers, CIOs can provide them with an automated artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot. CIOs have the ability to provide sales reps with tools that will automate the repetitive tasks that take up so much of a sales rep’s time. The arrival of cloud computing is finally providing companies with the ability to use the computing horsepower that is needed to drive AI applications. Although the sales department is the one that can most easily benefit from the assistance of AI, it turns out that other departments can also become more productive with the addition of AI tools. In order for an AI tool to be useful, it needs to be trained to support the back-and-forth flow of a typical sales call. In the future, AI tools will be able to merge customer information with GPS information and guide sales people on customer visits in the most effective way possible.

CIOs are a critical part of any company’s success. In order to help the company become more successful, CIOs need to study how their sales teams are performing their tasks and then find ways to add IT tools to help them accomplish more. The arrival of AI tools appears to be well suited to meeting the needs of today’s sales reps. CIOs need to identify and install the tools that will be needed to move the company forward.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What do you think would be the best way to introduce a new AI tool to an existing sales team?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you are a woman, becoming CIO can be a significant challenge. However, once you are able to achieve this goal, that is when the real work starts. As CIO, you need to take the time to network in order to both maintain your position and be effective. However, networking is much harder for women to do than men. There are very few women who achieve positions of power in companies that it can be difficult for women to find people who will sponsor them in order to make introductions and referrals. Because of all of this it can be easy for women CIOs to start to believe that there is something wrong with the process of networking.

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