We know that AI is all the rage right now, as SaaS leaders across the globe are waking up to its potential for infinite content creation. Content is a pivotal tool in your marketing tool box, allowing you to engage customers too savvy for traditional sales or marketing tactics.
But there are many others ways that AI can enable you to scale and retain at pace, and we wanted to hear it from the experts themselves, which is why in this article, we're utilizing both qualitative and quantitative insights from SaaS professionals across the globe to determine exactly how AI is going to help you smash your revenue goals and achieve airtight retention. Here, we'll be looking at how AI can assist you in:
- Data collection and analysis
- Customer support
- Cybersecurity and data protection
But first, let's look at the bigger picture...
AI and SaaS are a match made in heaven for a number of reasons. Both are two major tech developments that allow organizations to be more agile, addressing customer concerns as and when they arise, collecting and pinpointing key data at impeccable speed, and allowing for rapid development and optimization of products.
According to NarrativeScience, 80% of business and IT leaders agree that AI increases productivity, however, as of 2022, only 37% of businesses employ AI across their org. You can get ahead of the curve by unlocking the potential of AI for your SaaS org today.
In the Future of SaaS Report, we asked SaaS leaders and professionals about the extent to which they plan to integrate AI into their org.
53% of our respondents reported that they plan to use AI as a major part of their business going forward, 27% reported that they have no plans to implement AI, and 20% reported that they’re already using it.
Since in both our quantitative and qualitative findings, AI was the most frequently cited development, we thought we’d delve deep into the various aspects of a SaaS org that AI has the potential to touch. We asked our participants about the most crucial benefits.
A resounding 48% believed that the most significant benefit would be in data collection, 20% said scalability, 16% said customer service, and another 16% said cybersecurity.
The beauty of the SaaS model is that it allows orgs to drive prospects through the sales funnel at an unprecedented pace. Customers are able to sign up, on board, and get started, potentially within minutes of showing interest.
Although you’re likely going to be wanting to staff your SaaS org with highly capable experts, AI can take much of the heavy lifting with regards to scaling (dealing with customer queries, automated processes, analyzing data, etc) off the shoulders of your human personnel and allow them to focus on the more complex tasks that only human beings can do.
The key word here is productivity. All SaaS companies want to achieve growth, and AI can enable orgs to achieve growth by delegating simpler, more time consuming tasks to this technology.
Employing staff to man all processes can be extremely costly. The deployment of AI can be an investment that allows SaaS orgs to cut down significantly on unnecessary expenses and increase profits.
Now, let’s look closer at the aspect of SaaS operations that received the highest number of votes, data collection.
Data collection and analysis
A common mistake – especially with early-stage startups – is that they are often more concerned with converting new customers than retention and consolidation. But retention is no easy feat, it requires establishing a bedrock of trust with your customer base. How do you create trust?
By anticipating and addressing the needs of your existing customer base.
According to research from Salesforce, by 2020, 75% of B2B customers expect suppliers to predict and pre-empt their needs before they initiate contact.
An essential component of this is customer data. SaaS orgs want to segment customer types according to their needs and intentions. SaaS orgs want to be able to react and adapt to customer data quickly.
But this can be extremely difficult when the data collection and segmentation alone can require so much time and so many resources. AI can segment and organize customer data quickly and seamlessly, providing you with an essential resource for assessing whether your solution is solving the problem it purports to solve.
It also provides incredible potential for personalization and customization. AI is able to interpret and segment data with a kind of accuracy that is far beyond human capability. An essential tool for having an accurate profile of your customers.
AI can also provide a tremendous assist to your sales reps, identifying high-potential leads, so that reps don’t waste time trying to push low-potential leads through the sales funnel.
To find out how AI can benefit your Saas org in other ways, we asked Chris Martinez, Founder at Idiomatic.
How has AI technology benefited your org’s data?
"Idiomatic is an AI-driven platform that analyzes feedback so businesses can pull actionable insights from a clear customer picture and grow. As AI is at the core of our business model, we are affected by its improvement in our own operations, and externally, in how it enables us to get an accurate picture of customers."
How is AI technology benefiting SaaS orgs as a whole?
"Artificial intelligence is allowing us to understand and design experiences for customers in a way we never have before."
"Through AI-driven sentiment analysis, you can understand customer pain points with less bias — you can get to the data-driven conclusion of what issues are most important without having your perspective tinted by what you believe is the most important correction. In doing so, you can change things for your product that are going to have the maximum impact for customers, and therefore your business."
"In the future, AI is going to set you apart from your competitors in measuring feedback — both in the quantity of feedback and the quality of your data analysis. This will give you the insight to improve client experience where it counts most."
Scalability beyond human capability
Although B2B companies historically have expected a longer sales cycle, recent research shows that customers in 2022 are becoming more accustomed, due to advances in technology, to quicker processes. If you want to stay competitive, you can’t neglect the potential of AI for scalability.
What if you could have the infrastructure to not only identify bugs but fix them as quickly as they arise? This is the unique gift that AI can offer you.
Cybersecurity and data protection
All SaaS companies want to identify the pain points of customers; this is an essential component of establishing trust. But it pales in comparison to the level of trust that is formed by your customers feeling that their sensitive data is safe.
This, of course, has major ramifications for your brand reputation. The sheer scale and ever-evolving nature of cyber attacks in the digital world have reached the point where it’s beyond human capability to anticipate and intercept them.
Intelligence-enabled automation can identify and solve potential threats as soon as they arise, with a level of precision that matches its scope.
When we think about cybersecurity, your finance department is going to immediately spring to mind.
To see how this works in progress, let’s look at how Payment Expert Yuriy Kropelnytsky has utilized AI, and specifically, machine learning, to protect the data of clients.
How is new technology benefiting finance as a whole?
"Technology is making many people’s lives more convenient at an astonishing rate. In banking, this means that financial institutions must process billions of transactions with greater accuracy since more and more customers choose to bank online. However, wherever there’s an abundance of data, the potential for fraudulent behavior grows greater. Luckily, financial institutions can apply machine learn'ing in several areas of the overall payment process to prevent many types of fraud."
Can you delve specifically into the different aspects of finance that are benefitted?
- "Credit card and mobile payment fraud often involves stealing card data, so ML solutions mainly focus on identifying transactions that don’t fit into the clients’ regular spending habits."
- "Point-of-Sale (POS) fraud is usually performed by employees to steal money from their employers. The best prevention for POS fraud is regular data checks conducted after every shift, day, week, or at the end of the month. ML can play a significant role in analyzing chunks of data to validate the number of logs per user, transaction deletions, bill records, refunds given per customer, and loyalty program card usage."
- "Email phishing is a type of fraud in which emails pose as legitimate contact, containing links to lure users into entering their sensitive data. ML-based malware scanners are one of the most successful tools able to detect malicious emails and delete them before they even get to the user’s inbox. Microsoft and Google both implement these ML-based solutions. "
Let's look to the future of SaaS
It's a mistake to look at AI as a substitute for human effort. Instead you should look at it as a supplement. We believe the future of SaaS is innovation, but in order to give yourself the breathing space to innovate, it's essential that you take advantage of how technology can pick up the slack with those menial yet essential day-to-day tasks.
In order to create products that delight and excite customers, you have to have a firm grasp on human emotions and needs, something that AI can never achieve. But this demands thinking time, so give yourself the thinking time.
Allow AI to automate so that you can innovate!
Want more insights on current and future SaaS developments? Why not check out the Future of SaaS Report.