Sure, we are all hearing a lot of mumbo jumbo about artificial intelligence. From the smart assistant on our phone, to the jeopardy-winning IBM supercomputer, to the little vacuum robots that zoom around our house: AI is everywhere, but is this technology phenomenon something that AV installation can benefit from?
Long and short, the answer is yes. Most immediately, it could be used to help your marketing and your sales force. Now, let’s talk about the how.
For as long as CRM has existed, it has been a challenge to get the users to input the data. This created the garbage in, garbage out effect that has plagued CRM, most specifically in small AV installation businesses where we depend upon our sales and marketing teams to use the technology in order to benefit from it.
With that in mind, let’s talk about 7 ways artificial intelligence, and its nearest relative, Machine Learning, can help CI’s to improve their AV installation sales force performance.
1. Qualified Leads
AI-powered virtual assistance can sort through a mass of inbound traffic to figure out which potential inquiries should become qualified leads. While this is more helpful for those that have inbound marketing in place, it could also help if you were doing Facebook or LinkedIn ads.
It could also be useful with leads that come from tradeshows or other event marketing.
2. Pre-screening and Follow Up
This is a good one for both integrators and manufacturers. Maybe best in a partnership. Epson was getting over 60,000 leads annually from all of their marketing efforts.
Follow up on these leads suffered a mere 2% response as reps would quickly get discouraged that the person who filled in the lead didn’t respond.
AI doesn’t care about the rejection, it can continue to follow up, and through the use of this type of program, Epson was able to raise their response from that terrible 2 to a staggering 50%.
3. Customer Service
One word: Chatbots.
This is one that many of us have already seen some benefit from, and perhaps a funny or frustrating story. However, people’s expectation for a response to their inquiries is always going to be faster than a company can possible deliver.
Many inquiries are simple and can be quickly responded to (only if someone is available).
Chatbots are a current example that almost every company can benefit from, and they can be taught to answer many of the FAQs and do so in a vast number of channels so companies don’t have to force customers to use a channel that they don’t prefer.
4. Predictive Analytics
Imagine if you were able to look at the DNA of a successful customer and then create a map of that customer in your CRM and then send out micro campaigns that are personalized to similar customer profiles? This is possible today, with artificial intelligence and Machine Learning tools inside of CRM solutions.
5. Customer Journey Mapping
Many of us have heard about tools to get us back to our abandoned shopping cart. But what about even a simple email to a customer or prospect that was spoken to many months ago?
I used to always look for those opportunities in CRM, but wouldn’t it be great if it just happened?
6. Upsell/Cross Sell
Here’s another tremendous yet oft-missed opportunity. The upsell/cross-sell.
For the longest time, sales leaders have wanted their sale pros to get better at this, but it’s hard. Sometimes, it just is a knowledge gap. Other times, they fail to find all of the opportunities in a deal.
However, using AI, cross-sell and upsell opportunities could be more readily identified and then automation could be used to alert the sales force or push information to the customer.
7. Automated Contact Completion
Here is a simple but very usable AI solution for marketers. Lead generation is hard, and if you want a lot of data in exchange for a free white paper or for attending a webinar, it is even harder to come by.
What if you could use artificial intelligence to cross reference a massive data base of structured and unstructured data to take as little as an email address to determine someone’s company, location or phone information? This is available today, and quite a tool for helping your sales force achieve better results.
Whether you have considered artificial intelligence as something your AV installation business could benefit from or not, it is time to elevate the priority as it is undoubtedly going to offer an advantage to those that utilize its powers.
In a time where we are inundated with ads, marketing, social, and other forms of media, we cannot afford to stand idly; we must embrace new technologies that help our AV installation businesses move forward faster.
AI will be one of those tools. I hope you consider using it to drive sales in the new year. Good luck in 2018!