With the rising dominance of the cloud, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has quickly taken the tech industry by storm. As more industries transition to offer more cost-efficient, subscription based services to enterprise clients, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionize and improve many aspects of the SaaS market.
AI, while seemingly next-generation, is already all around us, from email spam filters, to virtual home assistants and search engines like Siri. On the business side, AI has helped organizations reduce running costs, save time and boost efficiency by integrating the technology into operations and activities. Some major enterprise segments in the midst of disruption by AI include collaboration, sales management, marketing and customer relationship management (CRM).
Automation is quickly replacing what were previously manual components of software that perform a wide range of tasks and services. Machine learning is being used to automate everything from aspects of customer service, to the onboarding process of SaaS products and customer prospecting. In this sense, automation is set to save time and lower business costs significantly.
While many users find the remoteness of SaaS products as a big challenge, AI can help to mitigate this byproduct of a 24/7 service by ensuring better customer satisfaction. Moving forward, while many foresee automation replacing millions of jobs, some major software providers are trying to integrate human intervention with the new technology, so that it works to simply enhance the capabilities of specialists. That being said, in the future, most business operations should have AI integrated into them completely as teams rely on the technology to run operations without the need for continuous input from them. As SaaS companies redirect their investment towards core business activities and away from routine operations, they will be able to scale more quickly and better utilize capital to generate returns for investors.
Through repeated and correct use, AI can become smarter. When used in SaaS sales and marketing, AI can analyze data such as customer behavior patterns to cue marketers as to what tactics were most beneficial in the past, while offering insight on which customers and products will be the most profitable to target next.
Currently, sales teams spend about 80% of their time qualifying potential leads, via vetting and research, while only the 20% remaining is available for closing promising leads. As AI takes over the qualifying process and carries out conclusive checks on leads, sales teams are set to become more productive as the majority of their time is dedicated to following up and closing deals, sharpening their selling skills and the value of their time in the process. Businesses in turn should see profits rise on their employees’ better allocated working hours and sales increase as more deals close.
On the marketing side, virtual assistants help teams collect masses of information on consumer trends and behavior and synthesize data to offer valuable insights on what services and products their customers want. AI can also help marketers gain accurate data on how effective past campaigns have been in order to develop more efficient and targeted campaigns in the future. As businesses see greater returns from more efficient and calculated campaigns, profits should rise.
CRM software developers are also rapidly integrating chatbots as traditional customer service is replaced and streamlined. Automating the tasks of a human being responding to customer concerns and questions comes with its challenges, but should significantly reduce operations for businesses.
While the many uses of AI should work to continue spurring new niche startups doubling down on the technology, the use of the technology will help the startups themselves get off the ground quicker, streamlining the set up process and reducing initial costs.