Benefits of Artificial Intelligence to CRM

Any company in the market for a CRM solution today should beware of wild claims being made in the name of artificial intelligence being used in CRM. Clearly, there are functions AI can perform today, and functions that it clearly cannot.

The most prominent AI CRM product being sold at the moment is sold on the presumption that AI will affect how decisions are being made within organizations, and will actually change how selling is done. AI will provide greater insight into customers, leveraging big data to identify when they will purchase. AI will forecast purchasing trends and inform promotional activities, and even allow prediction of marketing events.

Predicting Human Behavior

These claims are actually being made on faulty logic—that human behavior can be neatly categorized and predicted. This is an assertion borrowed from mainstream economics, which says that human behavior can be mathematically predicted.

This “prediction” is done through an artificial construct called Homo Economicus. According to current mainstream economic theory, Homo Economicus will react the same way every single time to various economic stimuli. If Homo Economicus is placed into various algorithms, the theory says, then we can use those algorithms to make predictions about human behavior.

The reason this doesn’t work, according to the Austrian School of Economics—and, really, according to logic—is that human action, which is central to any economic system, is not predictable. Every human being takes different actions according to their own desires and thoughts.

It follows, then, that when it comes to sales, and the way that artificial intelligence is used in sales and CRM, that “prescriptive insight” which would seek to inform a salesperson on how they should behave and what actions they should take, would be risky at best.

Predicting Complexity

Beyond human behavior, sales itself today has become a very complex activity. Just within our own industry, we have many different kinds of roles. We don’t just have a “salesperson”–we have sales development reps, we have business development reps, we have inside sales reps, and outside sales reps. We have account managers. We have “farmers”. We have customer success managers. All of these are types of salespeople.

Even all of these can be broken down because in each type we have beginners, more experienced reps, the veterans, the underperformers and over performers.

Right there you have 25 or more variables. And that’s before we take into account different sales territories across international lines which of course introduces a whole other set of variables. A salesperson in Europe is definitely selling differently than a salesperson in the US.

So how could AI and its algorithms possibly take all of this into account? You guessed it: it’s not very possible.

Supportive Artificial Intelligence

Until we reach the point at which a machine can rationalize, think and behave like a human (as portrayed in science fiction), we must not make assumptions about AI that it cannot possibly live up to. This includes CRM powered by AI.

For Pipeliner CRM, we only promise what we can deliver. Our AI engine, called Voyager, is utilized throughout the application in a totally supportive nature, providing precise direction and support to sales managers and salespeople.