With all the hype about artificial intelligence (AI) these days, we were wondering how we can use it to help our small business clients grow, and whether it’s even worth the investment.

Let’s take a moment to remember that AI is already deeply interwoven into our everyday lives. In fact, those who have become accustomed to communicating using natural language processing AI programs like Alexa or Siri use it daily. There are many examples of how AI has become an integral part of our lives. Take a look at how all of the suggestions on your “feed” are similar and reflective of your interests and tastes or create your own channel on Spotify and you’ll see how learning software has chosen your tunes.

If there’s one thing most small business owners have in common, it’s that they simply don’t have enough time. If you feel like your workload keeps growing, trust us, you’re not alone. Having insufficient time is a hurdle that affects most businesses, which is why we believe that AI tools can be a huge advantage when it comes to this topic. Let’s look at some areas that we thought our clients and other small business owners could use to put the magic of AI to work.

Lead scoring is a prime area which offers huge time savings and return-on-investment potential for your business, especially by boosting your conversion rate of leads to customers, with predictive lead scoring.  We consider this area one of the disciplines with the most potential to cost-effectively incorporate AI.

In traditional lead scoring, marketers assign high ratings to the leads they think are the most promising and lower scores to the rest. Scores are based on the leads’ activities and interactions, which are gauged by a process that relies on guesswork. The problem is that the part of the score that’s based on activities and interactions are typically only assigned once.  Any incorrect assumptions about the value of an activity, or how the impact of an activity changes over time can cause a lead to have an inappropriate score. Contrary, the value of an important lead could be grossly underestimated.  The result of these errors is that focus is placed on under-qualified leads and there is a miss on better ones that have historically never surfaced.

In contrast, AI software like predictive lead scoring drilled into your lead conversion history uncovers patterns and factors that predict YOUR success, and ranks leads accordingly.  As any new data comes in, the system keeps refining its model and recomputing the lead scores. For example, you publish a new demo video and it starts generating more conversions than you’ve ever seen before, then the AI tool will recalculate the lead scores in real time and there you have it- you won’t need to worry about manual inaccuracies.

Predictive lead scoring seems to be most effective when it is integrated into everyday processes. Sales and marketing teams should consistently use and evaluate their lead scoring systems to ensure these systems are helping them use their time and energy efficiently. From our perspective, finding new ways to increase conversion rates is something every small business should do and AI just makes it easier!

Let’s face it, as small business owners, we tend to shoot from the hip. What would you think about an enhanced system, capable of seeing the patterns we miss in the details of our sales forecasting model? Well, it seems that AI makes a bottom-line difference in sales forecasting!  It gives sales managers accurate and emotion-free data points to balance against their representative’s subjective predictions. AI forecasting works by analyzing all the data in your customer relationship manager, identifying the activities and behaviors that correlate with success and modeling those to predict which current opportunities will most likely close.

A key here is to run your forecasts early enough, and AI will help you figure out how to improve the predicted outcome. Suppose you felt like leads were drying up? Wouldn’t you be worried about making your numbers?  From our experience, AI tools have the ability to tell you that this may not be a problem at all; you might simply have larger-sized opportunities available to you that you didn’t realize. Finally, a business tool that might eliminate worry!

If you had the ability to do so, wouldn’t you use this insight to adapt your strategy and focus resources on these bigger accounts, maximizing the odds of closing them by the end of the month? By utilizing AI software, you minimize anxiety and maximize performance. For a small business having this type of insight is a game-changer.

Keeping customers happy is as critical for growth as winning deals. Research tells us customers like live chat support, but when they use it, they expect an immediate response. Smaller businesses don’t typically have the resources to keep a full staff of agents on duty all day long. In this regard, another type of AI software to consider is the AI-based chat-bot, which front-end customer support and provides your business with around-the-clock service. By embracing customer service trends with technology, your business can establish the presence of a much larger organization.

With its built-in intelligence, an AI chat-bot can decipher semantics and grammar, determining what the customer wants and can serve up a fast and accurate response. If and when a customer requests a live agent, the chat-bot can quickly route them to one. The re-route is accompanied by an issue summary and helpful contextual data for the agent to step into action. With the appropriate knowledge, the agent can solve the problem in short order. The customer receives the service that they need and expect, and the business is able to handle more support queries without hiring more agents.

By using chat-bots, you put the customer experience first. While chat-bots can help streamline your service teams, in the case of complex issues, the customer needs to be connected with a staff member to make sure that they get the information they’re looking for. We suggest that you evaluate chat-bots that provide numerous options so that your staff can easily select from the top features and understand the chat-bot’s capabilities.  Isn’t it smart to scale up customer service and keep satisfaction high with AI chat-bots?

By harnessing AI, your small business can grow faster.

These are just basic examples of how AI can drive you to greater success by investing less time in sales, marketing and customer service.  We suspect it’s only the beginning, but the beginning is the best place to start!  We see AI as a force multiplier- not just versus peers, but in your going up against larger rivals and surviving.

Connect those dots and you’ll realize that AI collects large quantities of data and provides the answers that we need. It works much faster than any human, automating mind-numbing tasks and searches to save us valuable time. Naturally, those benefits translate perfectly to the business world. We know that you can incorporate out-of-the-box AI tools to become more efficient and grow your business. In our opinion, the more AI tools that you can add to your arsenal, the greater your competitive advantage will be.

Whether you are a business, individual, or non-profit, we can outline specific steps you should take to minimize taxes, maximize loan eligibility, and enhance the value of your property.

For more information, contact us at info@czarbeer.com or (212) 397-2970.

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