Presented by Conversica

Everyone has a morning routine. You wake up, get dressed, have breakfast — and in the days before COVID-19 — pack up your bag to leave for the office. Day after day, you pack your bag the same way, tossing in your laptop, lunch, and maybe even workout clothes. It’s so routine that it becomes automatic.

One day you leave the house, and you notice your bag is less bulky than usual. You clearly forgot something, but what? Whatever the case may be, the realization is nearly instantaneous and the problem is quickly remedied.

Intelligent automation works in much the same way. Intelligent automation software autonomously performs rote actions, learns to identify conditions and responds appropriately, all without bringing a human-in-the-loop unless absolutely necessary.

While already present in manufacturing and supply chains, intelligent automation is ripe for adoption by revenue-generating teams such as marketing, sales and customer success. When these customer-facing teams spend undue energy on time-consuming but important tasks (such as chasing down leads or scheduling account reviews), they miss out on high-value opportunities that only people can accomplish, such as building trusted relationships and solving complex business problems that drive value.

Some are understandably worried that intelligent automation might replace employees. However, research finds that these aforementioned teams are positively augmented, rather than replaced, when working in tandem with intelligent automation. Technological solutions, like Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs), take on repetitive and predictable tasks so that people can focus on what they do best.

Let’s take a look at what intelligent automation means for marketing, sales, and customer success professionals, and what it means for the organizations that bring on Intelligent Virtual Assistants to augment their organizations.

Intelligent automation sets up marketing, sales and customer teams for success

By automating business processes, interactions and tasks using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and machine learning, customer-facing teams benefit from improved efficiency, reduced operating costs, and greater top-line growth across their entire organizations.

Intelligent Virtual Assistants are one such technology currently embraced by forward-thinking companies across a wide range of industries including technology, telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing, and even more niche industries like sports and entertainment, health and wellness, and higher education. What does that look like in practice?

Let’s say your organization is hosting a virtual event; a more common occurrence under the present circumstances. While these events are less costly than in-person events, marketers still put a lot of time and effort into lead generation and participation. Yet, only 69% of organizations have formalized lead follow-up plans. And those that do usually only make one to two attempts to connect with the lead before dropping off. When you consider that the optimal number of touches to determine lead intent is between 8 and 15, it’s easy to see why sales teams are adopting intelligent automation to manage lead outreach.

Salespeople only have so many hours in a day. By offloading repeatable tasks like lead outreach on an Intelligent Virtual Assistant, they can dramatically increase the number of leads touched while focusing the majority of their time on hot leads. Since IVAs are built on an intelligent automation platform integrating natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG), they can autonomously (and convincingly) communicate with leads or customers in natural, human-like two-way conversations.

This is just one example. But imagine how much more productive Marketers could be if an IVA was driving top-line growth, nurturing leads in a personalized way and qualifying leads on their behalf; or how much more capacity a customer rep enjoys by letting an IVA chase down customer meetings for quarterly business reviews or renewal discussions so they don’t have to.

The recovery phase

A technological transformation of the workforce is all the more valuable now as many teams have been forced to cut staff or budgets to cope with the economic downturn. Economic analysts are cautiously predicting an uptick, but with potential subsequent waves of COVID-19, no one can say if that recovery will be an upward sprint or a wavering amble.

What we can confirm, however, is how organizations are using intelligent automation to their advantage. Multinational computer-technology corporation Oracle uses its Intelligent Virtual Assistants for sales/marketing and customer success. As Kevin Colosimo, senior director of digital strategy and innovation at Oracle will be sharing at Transform 2020 tomorrow, for every $1 invested, Oracle claims $140 in pipeline creation.

Catch Oracle senior director of digital strategy and innovation, Kevin Colosimo, in conversation with Conversica’s CEO, Jim Kaskade, at Transform 2020, July 16 at 3:45 pm.

Similarly, Talend, a cloud and big data integration software company, unlocked $10 million in pipeline opportunities and $1 million in bookings by using an Intelligent Virtual Assistant to go after low-scoring C- and D-level leads who had not been touched in over a month.

“It was hard to justify spending a person’s time on a C-ranked lead that had a low probability of converting,” says Adam Benitez, marketing operations manager at Talend. “But it’s a no-brainer to have an AI attempt to engage them.”

Intelligent automation is especially well-suited for navigating a digital-first world. IVAs can be used to prove out hot leads from content syndication, provide optimal lead coverage, reactivate dormant leads and the like.

The same thing can be said for customer teams who need to retain the base, now more than ever. By automating rote actions such as scheduling meetings, driving interest in upgrades or new products, and delivering educational materials to drive customer health, customer reps can concentrate on personalized problem-solving and guidance which offers vital value for their customers.

No matter what the future holds, organizations will need to rely on these teams to generate revenue. Intelligent automation gives them the boost they need to survive today, revive tomorrow, and thrive into the future.

Rashmi Vittal is Chief Marketing Officer at Conversica.

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