How AI Will Revolutionise CRM

Author: Sian Taylor
Posting date: 10/9/2019 10:32 AM
If we can be sure of anything in today’s business climate, it is that new trends will emerge and disrupt, new technologies will continue to be developed and attract hype, and companies will be left to navigate a landscape of opportunity and uncertainty.

Customer Relationship Management is an upright concept or strategy to solidify relations with customers whilst at the same time reducing cost and enhancing productivity and profitability in business. CRM systems provide a well-defined platform for all business units to interact with their customers and fulfil all their needs and demands in order to build long-term relationships.

Every business unit has an emphasis on developing long-term relationships with customers in order to nurture their stability in today’s blooming market. Customer’s expectations are now not only limited to get best products and services, they also need a face-to-face business in which they want to receive exactly what they demand and in a quick time.

New Look CRM


CRM is vital for the success of any organisation that seeks to continuously build relationships and manage countless interactions with customers. Now CRM systems bring together customer Data from a multitude of different sources, delivering it to all customer-facing employees to provide a complete picture of each customer across all department

Today, there is a ton of available information across many devices and platforms. Companies need a way to integrate this “Big Data” into their intelligent CRM that can produce predictive results.

The Value of AI


Artificial Intelligence (AI) CRM systems built on Machine Learning algorithms now have the ability to learn from past experience or historical Data.

Having these insights at the disposal of any customer-facing employee (sales, support, marketing, etc.) empowers a business to build deeper relationships with its customers. As a result, integrating AI and Machine Learning with CRM can deliver more predictive and personalised customer information in all areas of your business. By predicting customer behaviour, companies can take personalised actions to avoid the use of invasive advertising and to provide material of real interest to each prospect.

There is no question personalising communications to customers has become critical. Today’s buyers demand more than a “spray-and-pray” email blast. A recent McKinsey study found that personalisation can lift sales by 10% or more. The analysis also showed that by personalising just 20% of email content, open rates increased more than 40& on average. Reply rates also increased a whopping 112%.

As a CRM stores all the information in one centralised place, this makes it a lot easier to analyse your performance as a whole. This helps businesses build a relationship with their customers that, in turn, creates loyalty and customer retention. Since customer loyalty and revenue are both qualities that affect a company's revenue, a strong CRM have a direct result in increased profits for a business. 

Those that use Big Data & Analytics effectively show productivity rates and profitability that are higher than competitors and those that put Data at the centre of their marketing efforts improve their ROI by 15-20%. 

AI and CRM


AI is becoming an ever-present theme across a variety of industries, from healthcare and retail to software development and finance. CRM vendors are no different; over the past year, numerous CRM vendors have introduced AI components into their product offerings.

AI will develop in parallel with user interactions using various touch points within CRM and evolve continuously to deliver more intelligent and personalised actions. Learning critical patterns will also enable AI-infused CRM to automate certain actions, decrease the manual work required, and empower sales and marketing professionals to work more efficiently and effectively.

The inefficient processes that hinder CRM will no longer be acceptable, and AI-powered automation will play a much bigger role in streamlining workflows.

The rise of AI presents businesses with a wide array of unique benefits and opportunities. It can empower them to provide better, more relevant experiences to their customers and forge bonds with them in a way that was simply not possible before. 

It’s estimated that 85% of businesses will start implementing AI solutions for their CRM by 2020. It seems inevitable that with further advancements, AI will move from a novelty tool to a must-have feature and dire necessity of every business.

If you’re looking for to build a team of CRM experts, or to take the next step in your career, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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National Storytelling Week: Telling A Story Through Data

A story is a lot more than just words on a page. It’s a combination of interesting language, images, colour and, perhaps most importantly, a brilliant narrator.  This is no different in Data Analytics. Like any story, the beginning of any data report starts out as numbers and figures on a page which, let’s face it, isn’t the most interesting read. To ensure the data reaches its full potential and entices an engaged audience, a good Data Analyst will wind and weave them into a compelling story.  So, how might you go about doing this? Know your audience How your story is crafted will be completely dependent on who will be reading it. It’s important to consider your audience’s age, knowledge and expertise. For example, if you were reporting to a junior team, the information given will be simplified, and specific language and jargon should be broken down to include explanations, making the data accessible. The story may also be a lot longer than usual to ensure all areas of information are covered, with room for questions if need be. This is crucial if you want your data, and your story, to benefit the learning and development of the team as well as to encourage their interest and curiosity in the topic.  On the other hand, if you were telling your data story to a group of expert professionals, the explanations will be a lot more top line and the story much pithier and succinct. The depth should instead lie in the narrative of how the data impacts them and their company, providing solutions to problems or providing compelling ideas for innovation and change.  Choose an engaging narrative Undoubtedly, your data will have thrown up all sorts of storylines, from the mundane to the thrilling. When you’re creating your presentation or report, if the data is relevant, opt to design your story around the most exciting dataset. Your aim is to keep your audience engaged and wanting to know more, not to bore them with too many, or figures that are not relevant or provide further guidance.  Be creative No matter how electrifying your data may be, there's only so much information an individual can take in. Your story needs visuals to bring what you are reporting on to life. Typography, font and font size, colour, images, graphs and tables are all valuable assets to include to help stimulate your audience’s imagination.  Of course, in this day and age, these visuals don’t have to be limited to static pictures either. Don’t be afraid to play around with movement and interactivity to get your audience involved and engaged. That being said, it’s important to find a good balance of static and interactive. Be an appealing narrator If you’re having to present your data, you’ve got an extra challenge on your plate. Your story is only as good as you are. No matter how visually fantastic your report is, or how apt it is for your audience, if you are bored, unengaged and uninterested by the information you are presenting, you will pass all these feelings onto your audience.  Not only is it important you know the story you’re telling inside out, but you should be excited by the data you are presenting. Don’t be afraid to inject personality into your data, make it characteristic and make it feel human. If you are passionate about your data and your story, then your audience will be too.  Data doesn’t just have to be statistics on a page. It can be thrilling, it can be colourful, it can be loud, and it can be enticing. You, as a Data Analyst, are that brilliant narrator.  If you're looking to take the next step in your career or build out your Data & Analytics, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

The Evolution Of CRM Marketing – A Q&A With Catherine Allan

We recently spoke to Catherine Allan, an Associate Director of CRM at Babylon health, a Digital healthcare service with a mission to put accessible and affordable health service into the hands of everyone.  After starting her career in journalism, Allan moved into Marketing, a seemingly natural transition given her copywriting experience. Given the transformation in technology and the use of Data within Marketing, she has seen the significant impact that it has had within the space.  Reflecting on what attracted her into CRM Marketing in the first place, she explains, “It’s that ability to really get to know the audience, what they look like. You have a very defined group of people that you can look at exactly how they are responding – you can get to know their likes, dislikes and respond to them in ways that you can engage them more. You can keep them working with or using your product or organisation”.  Initially working for Ten Lifestyle Group, her clients varied from travel businesses to large financial brands. Like many at the time, they had their traditional methods but, as would soon become a trend within the industry, they started to change things up. Allan expands, “We started experimenting with CRM with the members of our concierge to see if we could. How much better would those people respond to tailored communication over those who received a newsletter of generic stuff?”. Enter the use of Data to tailor CRM offerings. Their first application was to their travel clients, “If we knew someone had a skiing holiday versus a holiday in September one year, we would follow up the following year. Isn’t it time to pick a holiday?”. It seems natural now, but it signified that shift from the mass-communication to segmented customer profiles.  As Marketing teams became more Data-driven, however, customers had to get used to that change of communication. Allan remembers the shift well, “When I first started in CRM, it wasn’t personalised at all but I started to see that people got more used to you knowing their Data and using it. It became less freaky to show that you knew something about them. At the beginning, we were having to be careful about how much we evidenced that we knew, you couldn’t really say I know you’ve had a Ski Holiday. But over the course of the years people have started to expect that, almost like it would be weird if marketeers didn’t know that. The culture towards that use of Data and personalisation has changed”.   However, she explains, there is a limit, “With what people are expecting from your CRM, there is a scaling to how you present stuff. You don’t want to be creepy, you don’t want to overstep it by knowing too much”.  Now, moving into the health-tech space at Babylon, her work revolves around the products that they have on the market. Everything from applications that allow you to log your mood and sync your wearable tech, through to a health check function where you’re given a digital twin of your body. The use of Data within these products is, of course, on another level. The products produce Data-driven recommendations that are very specific to each users. She explains, “obviously in the Marketing team we don’t have access to people’s health records or any health information which they input into the app. So it’s about finding the right cadence to actually engage people with the product, as well as personalising using the Data we can see, such as demographics. Men and women have different health concerns and they differ for younger and older age groups.” Moving into the health space has opened up a different way of engaging with customers. Allan and her team were able to use their Data and produce newsletters that actually engaged their audience on a wider basis. She expands, “We found great success in sending regular newsletters just about health in general, people love to know how they compare to other people and they also want to know to be empowered to manage their own health”.  Naturally, a company like Babylon feel the pressures of a global pandemic in what their customers expect from them to say and do. This is exactly what Allan’s team are now focused on. “When the pandemic came to the UK, as a healthcare company the first thought for the Marketing team was how can we support our members? What can we offer which is unique to Babylon which will add value. The answer we came to was offering information, guides and videos verified by doctors to counteract all those false stories out there about COVID-19”.  Despite the technology to innovate, with things like interactive emails and unique content, there was still a need to strip things back. As Allan explains, “people are anxious, they are worried, they just want the right information, you’ve already got their attention”.  Her team was responsible for launching this new product to members and developing lifestyle communications, whilst also keeping the members engaged and updated. Naturally, the communication during the pandemic shifted, “We upped our newsletter frequency from twice a month to twice a week for the first three weeks of lockdown, then down to once a week, a cadence which we are still maintaining with no drop off in interest” What were the results of these changes? “Our open rates went up, our click through rates went up and our unsubscribes reduced, although they were very low to start with) We reduced sends to once a week when we felt that there was less to say, which I think was better than continuing to send more and becoming boring. Our results over the last 6 weeks have been off the charts averaging a 34% open rate across the whole base of subscribers vs the 24% we were averaging before.”  It’s clear that regardless of industry, from lifestyle to healthcare, the world of CRM has progressed. The information that we gather on customers is evolving, as is the way that we can speak to those customers too. One thing is clear however, from Allan’s experience, especially in the current circumstances, nothing takes away from a clear message.  If you’re looking for your next CRM role or to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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