Artificial Intelligence has been one of the hottest topics in
the field of technology in the past couple of years. The debate has been
centered on its usability and the type of benefits it can offer. It’s a known
fact that the big players such as Amazon and Microsoft have already invested
substantially in developing the technology.

However, what needs to be seen, if these benefits could also
help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Discussed below are some of the
areas in which small businesses could benefit from AI.

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Optimal
Resource-Utilization

One of the significant issues faced by small businesses is
the lack of sufficient resources. This scarcity of resources in critical
verticals such as Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, etc., can be a huge setback,
especially if they have to compete with big players in the market. Proper
utilization of available resources could well be the difference between
profitability and extermination for SMBs. Here is where AI can help, by
ensuring optimal use of resources across various verticals.

·       
Marketing: When it comes to Marketing, SMBs
usually work on spreadsheets to collect and collate customers’ data. Running
marketing campaigns and processing leads by manually tracking these
spreadsheets can be a monotonous task that results in depletion of considerable
resources. However, by automating the task through AI tools, small companies
could be able to add efficiency and value to their marketing initiatives.

For instance, identifying the right
segments of target audience providing maximum return on investment can be done
much more easily by integrating the CRM with AI. Similarly, quarterly and
annual sales forecasts, as well as predictions on weekly or monthly sales
leads, could get much more accurate, which could help the management in optimal
deployment of the marketing and sales resources.

·       
Customer Service: Most queries from the prospects and
customers are simple questions that are frequently asked. However, these
trivial calls could add an extra burden on the call volume being handled by a
small company’s contact center. Subsequently, there could be a shortage of
resources when it comes to handling critical issues, which could leave the
customers with a bad experience.

However, by deploying AI tools and
chatbots, SMBs can track the type of query coming in through IVRs, and direct
the simpler issues to the chatbots. On the other hand, issues those are
complicated or require the expertise of qualified service personnel can be
handled accordingly. Moreover, machine learning techniques can also be used to predict
the time and duration having maximum and minimum call volumes, which could help
in the optimal use of available resources.

·       
Lead generation: Artificial Intelligence can be used
to nurture and capture new leads through social media. The AI algorithms can be
used to track prospects through their social networking activity. Personalized
content can be targeted at them at a specific time to ensure they do not miss
the new offers and discounts. Once their details are captured through simple
forms, the new leads can be followed up by providing relevant comparisons with
competing offerings, which would eventually convert them into customers.
Further opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling can also be created
through constant engagement.

AI algorithms can also be used to
define the detailed buyer personas with much more accuracy. By taking these
personas into account, unique product features can be used to generate targeted
content that could encourage leads to respond positively. Analytical tools
equipped with machine learning capabilities can be used to identify the right
channels to match the content.

Minimizing Cost

AI can be highly helpful in crunching huge volumes of data
and derive valuable information from it. If performed manually, these tasks
could require a considerable amount of resources, which in turn would increase
the cost for the small business, and bring down the ROI. In the micro business
environment, where even a minor decrease in returns can be disastrous, AI can
prove to be a game changer. The technology would not only help in bringing down
the overall cost of the process but could also add extra efficiency to it.
Also, the valuable resources can be diverted towards more critical tasks such
as innovation and improvements, which could help the SMBs in maximizing their
growth and profitability.

Thus, AI can help small business face the usual challenges of
optimally using their scant resources and budget while improving their
computing capabilities. By helping them identify the right insights, they can
also improve their chances of sustaining in the market and achieving continuous
growth. 

Key Takeaways

·       
One
of the significant issues faced by small businesses is the lack of sufficient
resources, and it is the area in which AI can play a significant role.

·       
By
helping in optimizing the usage of resources, AI can bring down the overall
cost of the process and also add maximize the efficiency.