5 Benefits of Machine Learning and AI for SMBs

What comes to your mind when you think of the “artificial intelligence” (or AI)? How about “machine learning”? While these terms once merely conjured thoughts about robots, or maybe even The Matrix, there’s a chance you thought about how these tools can be used to increase efficiency and improve your business practices.

While these software advancements are becoming much more commonplace, many business owners still believe the misconception that machine learning and AI technologies are merely “futuristic” or “expensive.” As a result, many SMBs fail to reap the benefits of machine learning and AI, setting them back in their ability to achieve success.

It’s time to destroy the myth, however, that machine learning and AI are exclusive to enterprise-level organizations. Rather, machine learning is a tool that can be adopted by enterprise-level organizations and SMBs alike to improve their internal operations to the customer service they provide.

Here are just 5 benefits machine learning and AI can offer SMBs.

1. Take your business processes to the next level.

The first way you can bring machine learning and AI onboard is by incorporating these tools into your business processes. While your business may already follow standardized processes, there’s always room for at least subtle improvements, and the good news is that these tools can give you that extra boost.

To receive that boost, consider adopting business process automation tools. With the help of AI, your software can automate some of those repetitive processes. To take that one step further, machine learning can help: By identifying patterns in those processes, it can self-correct errors, as well as make predictions about next steps within your processes.

With the help of machine learning and AI, many businesses are seeing boosts in their productivity: In fact, AI alone has the potential to increase labor productivity by up to 40%, giving your business the potential to do more with less.  

2. Optimize your sales processes.

In addition to your overarching business processes, machine learning and AI are commonly used to augment sales processes. Just next year, an estimated 30% of B2B companies will be using AI within their sales processes, and you may want to as well.

Most sales managers have a lot on their plate, from the need to generate reports to manage communications with potential leads. Thankfully, machine learning and AI can help them to save time, as well as use the time they have more effectively. For instance, B2B companies that use AI in sales can reduce call-time by up to 70%, while increasing leads and appointments by up to 50%.

Whether your sales team could benefit more from having a greater amount of time to get things done or an increase in your number of leads, machine learning and/or AI may be the best ways to achieve those goals.

3. Carry out stronger marketing campaigns.

Marketers often use “pain points” to connect with and pitch products or services to customers. To discover these pain points, marketers typically use data collection, and these days, 61% of marketers identify AI as the most critical piece of their data collection strategy. However, machine learning and AI can help with more than just that.

With the help of AI, your marketers will be able to collect valuable insights about your consumers, and in less time. With the best insights, they can create stronger and more targeted campaigns. Not only that but machine learning automate some marketing efforts by identifying the patterns in consumers’ behaviors (such as what products they view) and sending a follow-up email that aligns with their interests.

While your marketing efforts could still be successful without the help of machine learning and AI, there’s no question that implementing this software will take your marketing efforts to yet another level of success.

4. Give your customers what they want.

As technology continues to evolve, so do customers’ expectations. With the increasing prevalence of machine learning and AI, it should come as no surprise that, by 2020, over half (57%) of consumers will expect companies to know what they want before they interact.

While you may not be able to read your customers’ minds, you can use machine learning and AI to make it seem like you can. If you have an ecommerce store, for instance, machine learning can provide product recommendations based on a customer’s behavior (e.g. Netflix or Amazon use product recommendations).

By making a consumer’s desired product available to them as quickly as possible, you make it fast and easy to purchase a product from your business. As such, machine learning and AI can help to increase your sales and maybe even your customers’ likelihood to return.

5. Spend less time worrying about customer service.

By 2020, an estimated 85% of customer service interactions won’t involve human interactions, and with good reason. Machine learning and AI can greatly help reduce the need for humans to handle customer service issues, which can be particularly beneficial to organizations with limited human resources.

As such, chatbots are becoming a more common solution for answering customers’ frequently asked questions, reducing customer service costs by as much as 30%. AI provides the knowledge necessary to automatically respond to those questions, while machine learning can help chatbots to grow their knowledge base.

As an added bonus, 40% of consumers don’t have a preference for a human or a robot custom service representative, as long as they receive help. In this way, there’s no reason to waste your team’s time chatting with a customer when a machine could be doing it instead.

Conclusion

While these are just a handful of the benefits of machine learning and AI, there are very few limits to what you can achieve with these tools. When you make this software a part of your team, you can start small, and take baby steps toward increasing your machine learning and AI-adoption—or you can dive straight into the deep end.

Machine learning and AI are accessible to organizations of most budgets and can be implemented using either out-of-the-box applications or custom software. For the best results, consider opting for custom software that uses machine learning and AI in a way that meets your unique needs.

To start reaping the benefits of machine learning and AI, contact us now.