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What AI Can Do To Engage With Customers Using AI, businesses can now make smart and timely decisions to increase sales and improve the efficiency of their communication with their target market.

By Ali Shabdar Edited by Pamella de Leon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The way businesses engage with customers has seen a paradigm shift with the advent of one of the most disruptive technologies in the human history: artificial intelligence (AI). Armed with the insights drawn by AI from the torrent of data available to them, businesses can now make smart and timely decisions to increase sales and improve the efficiency of their communication with their target market.

Companies now have more consumer information than ever before, and AI provides ways to connect the dots and optimizing the sales process for them. A recent study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review found that 76% of companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue are targeting higher sales growth with AI and machine learning.

In the UAE, the adoption of AI technologies is gaining momentum thanks to the initiatives by the Ministry for Artificial Intelligence and the private sector. The local businesses are adopting AI technologies to transform themselves digitally and stay ahead of the competition.

AI can help with gathering market intelligence, such as knowing the best time to contact a prospect, when an existing customer is likely to make their next purchase, or suggest the best price point to win a deal. This is why companies, especially retail establishments, in the region are shifting their focus from the conventional methodologies to using AI technology.

When it comes to customer engagement, AI can be used as a tool to increase efficiency and productivity, and to ensure that less resources are being used to achieve the desired goal.

Here are four major ways AI is taking customer engagements efforts to the next level:

1. AI can help businesses find their next customers.

A study published in Harvard Business Review showed that companies that use AI in sales have increased leads and appointments by 50%. Automated sales assistants are already helping companies sell more by engaging all leads in human conversations, without a human salesperson present. These AI-powered assistants engage potential customers in natural, two-way email conversations- and keep engaging them until they either express interest or specifically opt-out.

Automated sales assistants are dedicated; they never quit or take a day off. They pursue every lead for as long as is feasible. Then they can hand off customers to actual salespeople at the exact time the customers are ready to engage. Then, equipped with details from the AI conversation, salespeople will be in a much better position to engage that prospect and convert the sale.

Related: Five Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Disrupting Asset Management

2. AI can help uncover a prospect or customer's intentions.

The technology can be used to monitor and analyze thousands of first- and third-party signals. These signals may include a number of actions, such as what particular pages of your website the prospects visited, how much time they spent there and whether they opened a document on the page. There are many other signals as well. Did the prospect visit one of your tradeshow booths? Did they call support? Attend a webinar? View a product video?

AI can make sense of thousands of different data points and know when a prospect is actively researching a product or service. This analysis enables sales reps to engage leads with the highest buying potential. AI can even provide an accurate prediction of a deal's likely outcome, including the chances that it will close and how long it will take if it does. This means the sales team can tailor their approach to create a winning deal or walk away early if there's little chance of a conversion.

3. AI can optimally pair customers with reps and support agents.

It can predict the outcome of interpersonal exchanges by analyzing factors like past interactions, demographic data, and contextual data to determine whether customer engagement will be successful or not- and why. AI can segment audiences by gender, location, purchase history, web behavior, etc., then dive deeper with insight to individual prospects. It can then look for and assess patterns that will help predict the outcome of an engagement. Specifically, it can determine which pairings of customers and reps are most likely to lead to a successful outcome.r

4. AI can create personalized messages that will resonate best with each prospect or customer.

This can also help determine the right channel to deliver a targeted campaign. There are AI tools on the market today that can predict the personality of any prospect or customer, based on analysis of their public written information. The tool can even provide personalized email advice and communication recommendations, based on the unique dynamic between the sales rep and the customer.

These are merely some of the ways in which AI enables companies to drive more meaningful conversations and build stronger rapport with their prospects and their customers. AI in sales is all about empowering and augmenting salespeople. In the end, it puts them in a stronger position to engage customers and convert more sales.

Related: Why Data Analytics Can Help Drive Sales For Your Business

Ali Shabdar

Business Development Director – MEA at Zoho Corporation

Business Development Director – MEA at Zoho Corporation
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