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AI powers help CRM advance despite data privacy concerns

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Artificial intelligence is the next big innovation in CRM. It will be a personal assistant for customers that helps agents manage difficult tasks to meet their sales, customer service, and marketing needs.

SugarCRM’s survey, released in September, revealed that 60 percent of the more than 800 leaders in sales, marketing and IT use CRM to nurture leads and customers. In the last five-years, technology advancements have given CRM a greater strategic role.

New AI-driven features and new approaches will take sales and marketing to a new level. According to the survey, while 43% use CRM for sales forecasting or pipeline insights and 41% capture intent data and score leads,

This study shows that companies are expecting more from their CRM investment. Nearly half of respondents (46%) use integrated marketing automation and email marketing tools. Over a third (35%) of respondents have analytics dashboards or measurement dashboards integrated, while only 14% have integrated account-based tools.

CRM’s function is changing dramatically. Nearly 60% of companies believe that their CRM solution is more important today than it was five years ago for achieving sales and marketing objectives. Over one-third of organizations rely on CRM to track sales pipelines, while slightly more rely on it to improve the quality and quantity of sales leads.

CRM is not just a database to take notes. According to Clint Oram of SugarCRM, the co-founder and chief strategist officer, CRM must now analyze data and help reps decide where they should focus their attention during the day.

Vision becomes CRM platform reality

Oram says that the technological advancements have made it possible to create a better CRM platform. He always saw CRM as more than a tool for taking notes.

Oram told CRM buyer that CRM should be your personal assistant. It can help you learn something new about your customers and tell you what you need to do. It will even take care of the simple things.

AI and communication tools, such as WhatsApp and email, will help him realize his vision. Take, for example. predictive AI Machine learning (ML), can tell you instantly which leads will convert to deals, and which ones are likely to close.

AI and ML will also help you determine the next best step to take when dealing with a particular customer. The customer assistant mentality is now enhanced with generative artificial intelligence. It will update your deals with the current status of each customer and write you the next email.

Oram explained, “If we look back at the last 10 years, we see a convergence between mobile, social media, and artificial intelligence (AI) turning CRM into a conversational customer assistant.

C3PO is a character from the movies. Luke Skywalker has C3PO, Tony Stark Jarvis. Everyone will have their own personal assistant with the new CRM. This allows them to easily gain insight about their clients. Customers will also use it to communicate with companies.

AI in CRM: Caution is needed

Mark N. Vena is the CEO and principal analyst of SmartTech Research. Its success is dependent on a number of factors including the organization’s resources, technological infrastructure and data quality.

Vena, a CRM Buyer, said that “implementing AI this way requires a significant amount of investment in AI technologies, data analytics and a clear understanding customer needs and preferences.”

Although the concept of CRM is exciting, it requires careful planning and execution to achieve customer-centric functionality. He agreed, however, that the increasing integration of AI within CRM systems is a trend worth noting. This is driven by the need to enhance customer engagement and improve business operations.

“While AI-powered CRM Although AI has many benefits, there are also valid concerns regarding security and privacy. Vena said that organisations must make sure that sensitive data about customers is protected, and that AI algorithms used responsibly in order to avoid privacy breaches.

He warned that transparency, ethical AI practice, and robust security are essential for reducing these fears and building trust in AI powered CRM.

Raising the bar to lower costs

Rob Enderle is a principal analyst with Enderle Group. IBM’s Watson early testing showed that Gen AI can lower costs, increase customer engagement, loyalty and satisfaction.

“Generative AI has the potential to change applications that communicate with people verbally and through text. “Customers are clamoring to have these benefits,” he told the CRM Buyer.

Enderle stated that the costs of creating these models were prohibitively expensive up until recently. However, with experience and newer, more sophisticated tools, these costs are falling rapidly. He predicts that CRM/SFA tools (sales force automaton) and other interfaces will look and behave very differently in the near term due to generative AI.

John Bambenek is the principal threat hunter of Netenrich. The more companies rely on AI chatbots to save money and cut down sales and customer service personnel, the more their information about their customers is at risk.

“Generative AI” has led to companies developing a voracious desire for data. Bambenek told CRM Buyer that there is little understanding of where the data is stored, how it can accessed and what sensitive information they can infer from their interactions with attackers posing as clients.

AI can help improve CRM and focus security

Gopi Ramamoorthy senior director for security and GRC, at Symmetry Systems. Before they are addressed and hardened, new applications have generic security risks.

He told CRM Buyer that “Gen AI systems do not represent an exception, but they have inherent risks, such as data leakage and data poisoning.

Gen AI in CRM can increase the risk that non-public client data will be lost by third-party providers or SaaS systems. Ramamoorthy also said that adding a new system from a third party increases the possibility of data security risks.

“This adds to a list of needed systems and providers under the scope privacy governance,” said he.

The CRM Industry is More Than Just a Specialized Concern

SugarCRM is a leader in predictive AI, ML and ML innovation. With the advent of large-scale language models, generative AI is now a reality. Oram said that Gen AI is the new technology race.

He said that the next frontier in technology will be determined by how well people can integrate this new technology seamlessly into their daily lives, whether they are front-office employees for a business or customers interacting with this company.

But the technology is not limited to CRM. We will see all forms of AI — such as predictive AI, machine learning AI, and generative AI — manifest in all business and consumer applications, Oram predicted.

He added, “It’ll be the next user interface.”

Give CRM new tasks

Oram said that the new role of CRM has already begun. Since the last few year, AI and ML predictive capabilities have been embedded in CRM applications.

He said CRM apps can tell you which leads are likely to become deals, which deals are likely to be closed, and what contacts need immediate customer service. They can also show what companies are likely to purchase more.

Front office staff can now provide proactive customer support and suggest next steps before prospects or customers even realize that they require assistance. Oram said that this proactive customer service model reinvents the customer experience, from who reacts best to who predicts best.

SugarCRM’s survey revealed that CRM users are increasingly relying on their systems to manage day-today tasks. This change in behavior is largely due to the new CRM users.

“They intuitively know that sharing is more valuable than hoarding information. They know that quick communication makes customers happy. And they know they’ll get 10 times more value from a CRM system for every data point they input.

It’s a generational issue. The CRM users of today are millennials. They grew up using technology in their classrooms and other areas. They know intuitively the value of CRM. Baby boomers and Gen Xers are less concerned about technology at work.