Salesforce has unveiled Einstein Relationship Insights (ERI), an AI-powered virtual research agent that autonomously explores the internet and internal data sources. The agent looks to discover relationships between customers, prospects and companies to help sales reps close deals faster.
Einstein Relationship Insights acts is a virtual agent for salespeople in all industries. It scans web, social media, collaboration apps, email and other online sources to find and recommend related people and companies.
Salesforce says Einstein Relationship Insights is an important example of how AI can work with – not in place of – salespeople. It helps them close more deals and increase revenue. AI-powered tools are increasingly essential for over-burdened reps. Without AI, sales reps are left to manually research relationships and networks around key decision-makers that lead to a connection.
The Harvard Business Review has suggested AI can increases leads and appointments by more than 50%. At the same time, it reduces costs by up to 60%. They suggest AI creates more value for sales reps by freeing up their time to spend more time on closing deals.
Nearly 50% of sales reps surveyed in Salesforce’s own State of Sales Report said there has been a major improvement in utilising rep’s time as a result of using artificial intelligence.
According to Jason Briggs, Senior Director of Product Management, Einstein Relationship Insights, “Salespeople should be able to focus on the areas that matter most. Such as high-touch online or in-person customer interactions. They can leverage technology as an assistant to handle the manual task of searching for relevant insights.”
Briggs added: “ERI can do this at a pace and scale that is impossible for any human to do. This is a glimpse into the future of how humans will successfully work in tandem with AI.”
Einstein Relationship Insights includes a browser extension. It works alongside the sales rep by animating key information from each data source. It also offers a single-click CRM update capability to directly import information from various data sources.
For example, Einstein Relationship Insights can highlight relevant personnel or companies in the data source (such as a news article). It can then shows the sales rep all relevant connections directly within that data source. Because it’s integrated with Salesforce, sales reps can update their CRM with a click to enrich account and contact records.
Combined with CRM data, sales reps are supported to engage in more relevant and strategic conversations with their customers. Sales reps then have more time to accelerate sales and generate new business opportunities.
The agent is designed to save individual sales reps a dozen hours every week on manual prospecting and meeting prep. Financial advisors can reduce, if not eliminate, cold calling prospective clients. Instead, they can leverage warm lead introductions found through the relationship insights Einstein has generated.
- 57% of high performing sales organisations are using technology like AI to improve internal processes and customer experiences. (State of Sales Report)
- 52% of reps said there has been a major improvement in understanding customer needs.
- 45% of reps said there has been a major improvement in utilising rep’s time as a result of using AI.
- 52% of sales professionals say their companies use AI to prioritise leads and opportunities. (Trends in Workflow Automation Report)
Salesforce confirmed that Einstein Relationships Insights will be generally available in June 2021.
Forrester predicts that spend on marketing automation tools will grow “vigorously” over the next few years. Reaching $25.1 billion annually by 2023 from $11.4 billion in 2017. It’s estimated that 55% of marketing decision-makers plan to increase their spending on marketing technology. This includes AI and machine learning — with one-fifth of the respondents expecting to increase by 10% or more.
Enterprise Times: What the means for business?
Information overload has always been a major challenge for salespeople. Ensuring they can access the right type of information that assists in generating real and meaningful lead opportunities. Einstein Relationship Insights (ERI) powerfully automates that process, research and collating pertinent information across all media to produce sales prospects.
Virtual agents are not new, and used widely in other areas of business operations, especially call management. What’s interesting with Salesforce’s solution is the way the company has positioned the technology. It is not about replacing current sales reps, but an additional tool to generate more and higher quality sales leads.
The future of work will be dominated by the increased use of AI, machine learning and automation. Perhaps the interim approach will be to present these emerging technologies as support tools. An Aide-mémoire that can enhance the productivity and effectiveness of salespeople.