If you’re looking for a strategy to get ahead in customer acquisition, machine learning can be your secret weapon.
While machine learning (ML) falls under the larger category of artificial intelligence (AI), it’s a bit more specific and can be extremely effective technology to pair with your customer and prospect database. True AI can think for itself, while ML can automate tasks and apply predictive analytics that drive meaningful growth. ML is the AI focal point for your CRM tool and can be the key to boosting customer acquisition.
What Does a CRM with Machine Learning Do?
Businesses are quickly noticing that a CRM which incorporates ML helps retailers of all sizes capture important customer information, track interactions and purchases and helps them provide an excellent customer service experience. It also adds the ability to access predictive analytics, automate email marketing campaigns and drive customer transactions.
According to Gartner, the fastest growing sub segment for CRMs is marketing automation, which increased by 18.8% and represented 25% of the entire CRM marketing space in 2018. Additionally, a CRM with machine learning can help with customer acquisition in these key areas:
Defining personas: Analytics from machine learning can help businesses create personas which can be used to segment consumers and create persona-specific marketing strategies. By creating a “lookalike” with personas, you can target potential new customers based on solid data points.
Focused content creation: A strategic content creation strategy will help you create highly focused content that speaks to specific customer groups. You can also determine which pieces of content get the most click-throughs or engagement and use that to create similar content.
Targeted lead generation: By tapping into the marketing automation aspect of ML, you can generate more targeted leads. Rather than sending out blanket marketing and sales collateral and seeing what sticks, data and automation helps you deliver content in a timely, targeted and tailored fashion. Companies that have utilized machine learning for lead generation have seen a 50%+ increase in leads and appointments.
Effective data collection: Automating tasks such as data collection can be a huge help to your employees. In fact, a recent survey reported 46.5% of employees said the time it takes to enter CRM data was an issue. Therefore, when accurate customer data including contact info, purchase history and previous communication notes are already loaded in and available to employees at the click of a button, your customer service goes from average to exceptional, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchase.
Quick response times: Customer retention will increase with the automation of certain tasks such as order confirmations, serving FAQ answers, requesting product surveys and other broad communications initiatives. Customers will be impressed with your quick response times, and it will take these nuanced tasks off your employees’ plates, giving them more time to tend to critical customer interactions.
Cost-related benefits: A CRM with machine learning can save you both money and time, allowing you to direct funds and resources into other facets of the business that dig deeper into customer acquisition efforts. Think about the skilled human hours it would take to analyze all of the data, generate predictive analytics, complete detailed customer entries, generate marketing themes and send out individual emails. It’s shown that sales teams who integrate automation have seen a 40%-60% cost reduction and a time savings of 60%-70%.
Understand the customer journey: At times it can be hard to determine how a customer followed the sales funnel ultimately to purchase. Machine learning can help retail and ecommerce companies gain insights into the customer journey, and then use that data to support customer retention for future purchases.
The Future of CRM and Machine Learning
These are already exciting times for companies taking advantage of a CRM with machine learning. It’s helping retailers gain a deeper understanding of the customer journey; capture data on even smaller pieces of marketing (like the subject line of an email); narrow in on a specific time of day for email deployments based on previous open rates; and investigate other avenues where ML can help save money.
With all of this and more on the horizon, machine learning is becoming the ultimate secret weapon for customer acquisition.
Chad Ruff is Chief Technology Officer of Swiftpage