AI software for small businesses can help in a plethora of ways. Small business AI can help marketing teams analyze how their content is being received and push them closer to their goals. The finance teams in a company can have access to faster and more accurate tools to make informed decisions about the next quarter and focus their budgets. AI can simplify logistics and help your fulfillment team efficiently complete orders and keep up with demands.
AI for small businesses automates many of the small tasks used to take up far too much time and energy to keep the company running at total efficiency. Finding an AI software program that fits your needs may be challenging, as each business model will have different requirements and ways of processing things. Working with a company that can customize your software to fit your needs will often be one of the most significant and most valuable assets of your business.
What is AI Software?
Artificial Intelligence is a term used in science fiction and speculative science. We’ve been trained to imagine artificial intelligence as semi-sentient robotic constructs designed to help our daily lives. While that is partially correct, business AI is more often designed to automate menial tasks in our workplace.
Your business can use AI to automatically print new orders when they come through your website or push a notification to your phone when you’ve got a further client inquiry. There are numerous ways to utilize AI without risking the violent robotic take-over Hollywood has ingrained into our imagination.
Types of AI Software for Small Business
With business applications, several different kinds of AI software will benefit your business. Each piece of software is programmed to do a specific task. Therefore, in some cases, you’ll need to implement several types of business AI.
1. Lead Generation AI
In past generations, lead generation meant cold calling purchased lists of numbers and praying for potential clients to pick up their phones. When you rang a number, you didn’t know who would pick up the phone or how they’d react to a stranger trying to get their information to sell them a product. People get irrationally angry with cold callers, and it can be painful to deal with that day after day.
With Lead Generation AI, it is easier to target specific markets because they use information scraped from a person’s online interaction to determine the best way to reach and engage them. You no longer have to throw thousands of dollars at blanket mailing campaigns or hundreds of hours calling phone numbers and harassing people that aren’t in your target market.
2. Sales AI
Sales AI is sometimes called a Virtual Sales Assistant. Most often, the programming is embedded into another programming to automate processes for sales reps. However, some of these systems can stand alone and help with most sales processes on a website.
Programs that fall under AI systems may include Chatbots on a sales page of a website, follow-up email sending programs to recover abandoned carts. Suppose your business focuses on services rather than products. In that case, you might find utilizing an AI system looks like automating your appointment calendar to remind clients of their appointments through a text two days before. Further, sending follow-up emails for reviews or to answer questions are tasks that an AI system can take that stress off the shoulders of the sales staff.
3. Data Collection AI
We produce incredible amounts of data. Data collection allows companies to build experiences around your habits and create products and services that will add to your daily satisfaction. Data collection can include simple information like name and phone number or go into more detail depending on the industry that the data is being used for.
For example, a medical office may collect data on medications being taken by each patient, their height and weight, and any illnesses they get. Later this data can be added to thousands of other people’s data and analyzed for patterns in diseases and theories or treatments.
4. Data Analysis AI
Speaking of data analysis, this is one of the most common uses for small business AI software programs. Once the data is collected, it’s essential to break it down into useful bits that the company can process and use. AI programs that can read and plot data into usable representations are critical to companies planning new products, services, specials, and promotions. Financial analysts can use this information to help your business expand, organization consultants can use the information to help you and your staff work more efficiently, and many other ways to use the data analyzed by the AI systems.
5. Human Resources AI
Human Resources teams can use AI for many different facets of their work. From employee applications being processed into a shortlist for interviews through keyword isolation by an AI software program to automating training programs for current employees to simplify the onboarding process, HR utilizes AI frequently in successful businesses.
In addition to hiring and training, Human Resources departments can use HR AI to track payroll, benefits, time-off requests, and more, taking much of the load off the human staff and allowing them to handle the situations that come up more complex. In the past, Human Resource managers would spend far too much time authorizing weekly time cards manually or needing to process PTO requests manually.
6. Competitor Research AI
This type of AI is pretty self-explanatory. Using programmed keyword recognition, this kind of AI software can watch your competitors and how the target market interacts. Many competitor research AI programs are designed to learn new language patterns based on context and tone with online reviews, mentions, and recommendations.
The cost of manually doing these kinds of analyses can be detrimental when you can gather more detailed analysis from an AI software program. When a program can provide you with more details, big decisions are easier to make. Your company can respond with a better level of agility than a company without these data points to reference.
7. Customer Relationship Management AI
Most businesses use a CRM of some sort. This is the modern Rolodex; it’s where you keep all of the contact information and relevant details about each customer. It’s the simplest way to follow up on services rendered or pre-emptively schedule routine appointments. It’s the easiest way to send greetings and special event invites that will interest specific clients. When you automate your CRM through an AI software program, you can make your employees’ jobs more efficient by taking the menial tasks off their shoulders.
For example, if you’re an insurance agent, you might want to keep tabs on your clients’ birthdays so you can send them a birthday card and a reminder of their annual policy review. If your CRM is automated, the system can automatically send off a pre-written email the night before their birthday. This shows that your company cares about milestones in their lives and helps the business keep up with changing policy rates.
8. Custom Developed AI
The last seven listed AI systems are essential services used every day in businesses. You can find some of these services free or as SaaS programs available on the internet. However, companies are complex and will often require more than one of these actions to be integrated to serve your clients best. One of the most common reviews on many of the pre-built AI systems is that it’s excellent at one thing but doesn’t do all that the company needs it to do.
When you have a company custom build an AI system specifically for your business, the design team can make sure that the software hits all the requirements on the list. Further, it’s easier to create something that integrates several facets of the AI systems mentioned above if you’re building it from the ground up.
When your company needs to contact clients who are new to your area, then collect their information, and follow up with them after they’ve become your client, having a system that puts the features of data collection, data analysis, and CRM automation into one program will save time and money for your business.
Benefits of Custom Developed AI Software for Small Businesses
When you can use AI to train and coach your sales teams, track their strengths and weaknesses, and develop coaching plans with that information, you can build your team faster and stronger than ever. If your customer service reps are getting more calls on a specific problem with your product or service, a smart AI system can make suggestions on training modules to help them improve in that topic.
Further, automating the sales training system ensures that all sales team agents are trained with the same information and kept up to date on new methods, techniques, and products without dropping hours into preparing people to teach them the latest information.
After a sale has been made, adding the interaction to a CRM and using that information to follow up and maintain client contact through the sales experience is another way to improve the sales process for both staff and customers.
Another way that small businesses can benefit from AI is through chatbot automation. These are already easily accessible through Facebook business pages and many DIY website development programs. A customer is greeted by a chatbot when they visit your Facebook page, where they can ask several frequently asked questions, and you’ve programmed in the answers. If their question is outside the FAQ range, they can ask for a live representative to return their message and discuss their needs.
This is not significantly different from the automated banking and payment systems we’ve used when we call in to check our balances or pay a bill over the phone. Multi-million dollar businesses have built AI systems to help with the customer experience and streamlined sales processes, and it’s time that small businesses claim a piece of their pie. When we ask Alexa to add toilet paper to the shopping list or as Siri to look up the weather, we use AI systems. Small businesses need to grow to meet the clients at their standard of experience.
Traditional marketing techniques are wasteful and costly. When you work with a learning AI software program, investors can track the ROI. While it will take time to program and train your AI system to collect and analyze the data in the most efficient and ethical ways, your business will see a better idea of customer needs and wants once the training is in place. You’ll be able to react faster to changing tides in the business world.
Another issue with traditional marketing is that it used the spray and pray method of customer outreach in many cases. Your business would spend huge chunks of money on sending out emails or physical media in bulk to purchased lists of names and addresses and hoping that content reached the right handful of clients to make it worth the financial burden.
With digital marketing, you can use AI data collection for your business because people leave preferences saved on websites and share their shopping patterns and spending habits for the public eye. The programs they use daily to share this data and your AI program pulls it, analyzes it, and helps you put your product or service in front of the people who would benefit most from it.
When you’re able to sift through hundreds of applicants without ever looking at them physically to find the best shortlist to interview, AI has saved you hundreds of hours of tedious work. When you program your HR AI system to flag referrals from within the company or specific certifications, you can further reduce your shortlist.
When you hire the gems of the application pool, you can invest your time where it matters and train the best of the best for your business. By significantly reducing the chances you’re taking on your staff, you have a higher opportunity for staff that will work hard and remains efficient. Good hiring makes a happy team and a productive business. Turnover is less, and burnout is reduced dramatically.
Building a promotion program into your AI system can help you recognize team members who are working hard and deserve raises, promotions, or additional training. Further, you can record and track new skills and processes requiring more in-depth training from onboarding to retirement.
IdeaMaker Custom Built AI Systems for Small Business
IdeaMaker is a team of highly trained, specialized software and web developers with your custom project in mind. The challenge of catering your AI to the specific needs of your business brings joy and satisfaction when the team is successful. We build for your business needs now and your future growth.
Between automating a simple CRM to organizing all aspects of the backend of your business, IdeaMaker has your back. Using a variety of software frameworks, IdeaMaker can customize the systems down to the very littlest details.
Contact us today for your consultation appointment, and check out our portfolio of previous work to see how we work with clients on other projects. We are eager to help your business run at top efficiency.