(This post originally appeared on Forbes)
If you’ve been following CRM technologies at all the past few years you’ve likely been inundated with stories about artificial intelligence (AI), bots, and other ways software is doing things automatically and without human intervention. To give an example, take a look at Pipedrive’s new product.
Founded in 2010, Pipedrive makes a great CRM application that’s used by more than 85,000 companies worldwide. The software zeros in on providing sales pipeline management tools for small and medium sized companies that helps manage a salesperson’s emails, activities, calls and other data. It also provides a way to create collaborative views of all that information so that both a team and managers can stay on top of pending or prospective deals. Just this past week, the company added to that feature set with the introduction of a new product called LeadBooster.
What LeadBooster does is to take some of the human element out of the sale process. Once implemented, visitors to a company’s website are presented with customized chat boxes that asks questions with specific, multiple choice answers (which of course are created and customized by the company). Because those answers leave little room for interpretation, the website visitors’ responses can then be evaluated and replied to with solutions, suggestions or even more questions to find out additional information. The technology is smart enough to not only gather information but check calendars and confirm if a salesperson is available so that it can help the visitor schedule a call. It’s all done through chat and as if another human being is on the other side. But it’s not a human.
It’s a robot. It’s artificial intelligence. It’s software that is handling tasks that humans once did. You know why.
“When it comes to web visitors, slow response times can kill a potential deal,” Vinay Ramani, chief product officer at Pipedrive, said in a statement. “But responding quickly is not enough. To make the best use of their time, salespeople need a fast, efficient way to qualify leads. Automating initial contact with web visitors to qualify them, and directing just qualified leads to salespeople, ensures that businesses respond quickly but that sales teams don’t waste time pursuing unqualified leads.”
I get asked a lot about AI like this. Some business owners and executives are concerned that if they’re not investing in this kind of stuff, their company will fall behind. They’re right to have this concern and so should you. But LeadBooster is just one of many examples of why you shouldn’t worry about the investment. Let your software vendor worry about it.
That’s because good technology providers – like the people at Pipedrive and many other CRM software companies – are making the investment. They’re doing this because they’re all in competition with each other and not having the latest AI feature is like two girls showing up to the prom in the exact same dress. Mortifying!
Pipedrive’s AI features in LeadBooster is likely the tip of the iceberg. As AI matures you can expect to see many other uses in CRM applications ranging from voice recognition and synthetic voice responses to generating automatic email campaigns based on certain trigger activities without a marketing manager’s involvement.
All of this will save time and make your staff more productive – and all of this will be done on someone else’s dime, so don’t worry about spending any money here. Your job is to not shy away when these features and add-ons are introduced but rather embrace them. All that your software vendor (and their investors) will ask is that you keep paying those monthly fees.
Oh, you know why.