For businesses with limited budgets, resources, or employees, cloud-based software can often fill in the gaps and allow smaller operations to perform with enterprise efficiency. That’s why the majority of small businesses have transitioned from storing their customer data in Excel spreadsheets to managing their entire sales cycle with an online CRM system.

Working with a user-friendly, multichannel CRM tool, businesses of any size and industry can perform their daily sales, marketing, and support tasks with a speed and efficiency that no spreadsheet or post-it-note strategy can rival.

But small businesses can grow, quickly. At least, that’s the goal, right? Maybe you want to add a new product or service to your offerings or expand your sales or marketing team. How do you manage a more complex sales cycle, keep track of new accounts, and, most importantly, ensure that your CRM is working just the way you need it to?

When operations kick into high gear, some smaller businesses turn to outside consultants, analysts, or marketing agencies to help them better understand their growing customer base and improve their processes—if they can afford it. Others work overtime to internally fine-tune their workflows, better interpret customer sentiment, and predict the likelihood of hitting sales targets in order to fix their weakest links.

But contrary to either of these options, the right technology can—yet again—fill in the gaps.

Similar to the advancement that comes when a business transitions their sales management from spreadsheets to online CRM, a new level of productivity occurs for those who incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into their daily workflow.

This technology that was once hard to imagine is now more accessible and easier to use than you might think. Although a new frontier, there are already well-established software companies offering AI as a game-changing sales tool for small and medium-sized businesses—allowing them to sell faster, smarter, and better.

As a leader in the multichannel CRM space, Zoho understands the nuances of sales force automation and how our users operate at their peak when using a sales tool updated with AI and machine learning.

With the introduction of Zia and Zia Voice last year, all Enterprise edition CRM users can now work with an artificial-intelligence powered, 24-hour sales assistant.

Instead of replacing your workforce, as opponents of AI would claim, Zia allows each of your team members to operate more quickly and with more accuracy, noticeably improving every one of your customer-facing activities—at no extra cost.

Zia is designed to work and learn right along with you. As you log more data into your CRM, Zia will home in on processes and activities that you carry out often, to spot patterns and suggest improvements.

Notably, this AI tool comes with lead/deal prediction abilities, anomaly detection, workflow advice, and it even gets to know your customers.

With Zia Voice, the first conversational AI for CRM, you can talk to your personaI digital assistant. Use the “Ask Zia” chat box on your desktop, or call her directly on your phone, to request to add, view, or change any information in your CRM. Ask her to pull up a report, set a task or reminder, or dictate what’s on your calendar for the week. Small business owners wear many hats, and when you have to juggle multiple tasks at once, being able to communicate in real time with a smart CRM can help you get it all done.

By understanding which leads are likely to convert and which deals are quicker to close, Zia helps your sales team balance their time and effort on the accounts that need the most attention. Zia can even forecast how each activity will affect your overall sales revenue, whether or not you’ll meet your targets, and where your team might be underperforming.

And while she’s working hard behind the scenes creating these predictions and reports, Zia will also be automating the repetitive, manual tasks that would otherwise take up much of your time. Why send the same email and update the same fields, day in and day out, when Zia can alert you to create a workflow instead? You may even find her suggesting a macro you didn’t know existed.

With the assistance of Zia, you can tap into your customer preferences faster than before. By using calculations from SalesSignals, Zia will let you know which day and times are best for contacting a specific lead or customer. Create follow-up reminders based on her suggestions, and cut down on time wasted on missed calls and lost opportunities.

Zia can further improve your relationship-building efforts by alerting you to customer sentiment in emails and social media posts. Knowing, at a glance, whether the customer is happy or frustrated will help you quickly craft the best response.

Using an AI tool, in combination with your familiar CRM, your business will save time and money by eliminating the need for third-party consultants to streamline common processes. Your sales will become more efficient, your marketing more targeted, and your customer support less repetitive and more customer-focused. Upgrade your business with a more intelligent CRM.


zoho - Sarah Bailey ZohoSarah serves as a product marketing manager for the SMB segment of the Zoho suite of applications. She creates content that reflects the needs of small business owners and connects with customers over the benefits of using cloud-based software. With 30+ applications built on the same platform, Zoho provides companies of any size the tools they need to successfully run their business.

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