4 Ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Transform Your Small Business
In today’s startup landscape, you don’t have to be a huge company to take advantage of the efficiencies created by AI.
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Surely it's entered your mind that one day a computer could replace you or a colleague.
In this dystopian vision of the future, all of your hard-earned education and on the job training leads to an early severance package (or perhaps some kind of universal basic income).
In the distant future, research does indicate that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to perform many jobs. And while it is true that AI will transform our world, McKinsey and Company found that only 5 percent of jobs can be fully performed by artificial intelligence in the near term. What's more likely is that AI will create new human jobs itself as well as empower humans to work more efficiently.
Brand name companies like Amazon and UPS are already using AI to help employees succeed. UPS is using machine learning to determine the most optimal routes for drivers while Amazon is using robots to help people organize and retrieve packaging at fulfillment centers.
But AI tech isn't just for Fortune 500 organizations with billions of dollars of capital on hand. In fact, AI tech can be harnessed by your organization to aid employees and to gain a competitive advantage.
So rather than fear the coming AI revolution, recognize that AI can transform your business for the better. It's time to embrace AI solutions so that you can transform your small business into a roaring success.
1. AI can coach your salespeople so they close more deals.
Most high-growth B2B companies use an inside sales team to generate revenue. Given that inside sales reps are critically important for business success, why not harness the power of AI to coach salespeople to sell better?
Tools like Gong, Chorus, and Jog record and transcribe the calls your sales reps have. They then compare the strategies employed by your most successful sales reps to every other salesperson within the company.
Using machine learning, these platforms analyze a variety of variables like word choice, or the ratio of time spent talking versus listening. The tools help analyze performance and coach salespeople to communicate more like your most successful sellers.
2. AI can help your marketing team build better ads.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook generated over $12 billion in revenue, which is steady increase over prior years. A major reason for Facebook's success is thanks to the platform's ability to use artificial intelligence to identify the right audience for a given ad.
The technology that undergirds many of Facebook's ads is known as "lookalike audiences." Marketers provide Facebook with a list of their best customers. This information includes customer email, phone number, and address. Then, Facebook's machine learning software builds similar audiences for its ads based on all that data.
3. AI can improve employee engagement and development.
A Gallup report shows that nearly 70 percent of employees are not engaged at work. Your people are your biggest asset. Failing to inspire and engage them will make it much harder for your small business to succeed.
Certainly it can be tough for small businesses to invest the time or capital into building an HR team capable of engaging employees, as well as coach managers to inspire those on their team. AI solutions like Tangowork and Rocketbot, offer employers internal chatbot solutions that give employees access to HR information 24/7.
Sometimes a chatbot can be easier for an employee to talk to than a human. This can encourage shy employees to voice concerns or to share feedback in instances where they might not have otherwise. If a chatbot is unable to answer an employee question or issue, it's smart enough to route queries to the appropriate person on your team.
In this way, internal chatbots can fuel conversations that might have otherwise been stifled in a small business workplace.
4. AI can help you find product-market fit faster.
What are you without product-market fit? You're a typical small business struggling to survive.
Thanks to the power of AI, small business leaders can find product-market fit faster through AI specialties like natural language processing, audience segmentation, and machine learning.
In the old days, collecting feedback from early users required manually sifting through written or verbal data to find patterns. But today thanks to tools like Keatext and Monkeylearn, entrepreneurs can provide AI platforms with raw customer feedback, and receive neatly categorized customer sentiments in return.
Ads (mentioned in section two) can also help entrepreneurs pinpoint people most attracted to their value proposition. Such ads give entrepreneurs a better understanding of who their ideal customer is, making it more simple to develop a product they'll love.
Artificial intelligence doesn't have to be a frightening tech trend understood and utilized only by giant organizations. In fact, AI can help entrepreneurs and small business owners create more successful operations by applying AI technology to sales, marketing, HR, and product teams.
One of the keys to successfully implementing an AI solution is to prioritize areas that offer the biggest reward if optimized. Then leaders within that area of the business will need to buy-in and be trained to get the most out of an AI platform.