How AI Will Revolutionise CRM

Sian Taylor our consultant managing the role
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. 

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

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. 

‘Tis The Season Of Data: Black Friday Is Here

‘Tis The Season Of Data: Black Friday Is Here

It’s that time of year again. Decorations are going up, the temperature is dropping daily, and the year’s biggest shopping weekend is upon us.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have started stateside, but they’re now a global phenomenon. This year, in the UK alone, shoppers are expended to spend £8.57 billion over the four-day weekend. But, for retailers, this mega-event means more than a cash injection. In the world of Data, insights gained from shopping and spending habits during this period can dictate their product and pricing strategies for the next twelve months.  So what is it, exactly, that we can stand to learn from the Black Friday weekend? THE GHOST OF BLACK FRIDAY PAST There are a few interesting takeaways from 2018’s Black Friday weekend that will likely impact what we see this year.  Firstly, and perhaps unsurprisingly given that it’s a few years since the event has become omnipresent, spending only increased about half as much as initially predicted. There are a number of reasons for this, but cynicism plays a central role. More and more, consumers are viewing Black Friday deals with an element of suspicion and questioning whether the discounts are as good as they’re promoted to be. This, combined with other major annual retail events, such as Amazon’s Prime Day, means that this weekend no longer has the clout it once did.  However, 2018 also saw marketers doing more to stand out against the competition. Many businesses have moved away from traditional in-your-face sales messaging and some are even limiting their Black Friday deals to subscribers and members. By taking this approach, their sales stand out from the mass market and can help maintain a level of exclusivity that could be jeopardised by excessive discounts. In addition to branding, marketers making the most of retargeting saw an even greater uplift in sale. Particularly when it came to the use of apps, those in the UK using retargeting saw a 50% larger revenue uplift than those who didn’t.  So, having reviewed last year’s Data; what should businesses be doing this year in order to stand out? GETTING BLACK FRIDAY-READY WITH DATA Businesses preparing for Black Friday need to take into account a number of considerations involving both Marketing and Pricing. For the latter, Data and Predictive Analytics play a huge role in determining what items should go on sale, and what their price should be.  Far from just being based on gut instinct or word-of-mouth, algorithms derived from Advanced Analytics inform Machine Learning models that determine what should be on sale, and for how much. These take into account not only how many of each discounted product need to be sold to produce the right ROI, but also what prices and sales should be for the rest of the year in order to make the sale financially viable.  In terms of Marketing, Deep Learning techniques can be used to accurately predict Customer Behaviour and purchases. These predictions can then reveal which customers are likely to spend the most over the weekend, and which are likely to make minimal purchases. Marketers can then, in the lead up to Black Friday, target relevant messaging to each audience whether it be “get all you Christmas shopping in our sale” or “treat yourself to a one-off item”. By carefully analysing the Data they have available and reviewing the successes and failures of their Black Friday events, businesses can generate greater customer loyalty and improve their sales year-round. If you’re looking to build out your Marketing Analytics team or 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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