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AI + CRM: The Saber for Every Martech Buyer

Raju VegesnaZoho’s Chief Evangelist, Raju Vegesna Spoke About Zoho CRM and Their AI-Based Sales Assistant, Zia Are Perfect Tools for Running an Entire Business

You wouldn’t disagree if the “C” in CRM would actually expand to ‘Competition’ and not ‘Customer’ alone. With so much happening in the industry, marketing teams are super-busy with multi-channel communication and pipeline management. Working with CRM requires a significant expertise in dealing with data and mining them for proper orchestration at multiple levels of the sales funnel. That’s where AI and machine-learning make their presence felt. They automate the data processing. Once you get a hang of how AI works, it’s cheese and toast beyond that. Zoho makes ‘sense of complex CRM data’  unlocking the huge business opportunities in the industry. Zoho continues to set the product roadmap for martech buyers on accelerated mode with some really ROI-focused products, including Zia Search, the latest AI-based sales assistant for B2B.

We spoke to Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist of Zoho, to understand how he sees the company making it big with AI in martech.

How do you see trends in AI influencing martech companies to deliver better automation and CRM technologies?

I am the Chief Evangelist at Zoho. I work with all product and marketing teams across Zoho. Marketing apps produce lots of data – from website visitor analytics to social media analysis, from lead generation to lead nurturing – data from these tools comes in numerous ways. With each martech tool producing large amounts of data, it is too much data to process by humans.

AI is the way to go. From analyzing a ton of data to correlating data across tools to making sense of it and generating insights, we see AI playing a key role. We ourselves use AI and machine learning to correlate data produced by several of our own martech tools and generate insights, which are turned into actionable suggestions.

A key trend moving forward will be about correlating data across martech channels and making sense of the data alongside CRM to calculate ROI and o**** predictions and more.

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How do your latest product enhancements and release help marketing teams improve their tech ROI?

Our AI assistant, Zia, correlates information across various martech channels and makes sense of the data and provides suggestions to users. For example, information on user activity across channels (like website, web chat, customer support, webinar attendance, event attendance) is correlated across various apps and offers suggestions to a salesperson about which leads to prioritize. This will help salespeople to focus on important leads.

Tell us more about Zia Search and how is it different from other search engines?

Search is common within a business app. But it is uncommon to search across business apps. There is a reason. It is complex. This is partly because historically each business application came from a different vendor, and wanting to search for information across apps meant searching across multi-vendor silo-ed products. With Zoho One, we created a suite of 40+ business applications that are tightly integrated. With that as the base, we created a smart s************ that aggregates data across various business apps and shows the results contextually.

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Doing a s************ for business data is different compared to a public search. For one, business search requires us to respect data authorization rules and access controls which could be specific to each application and for each user.

To understand data relationships as well as authorization across apps requires a deep understanding of applications, and this can only be obtained when we own the applications. As we own all the applications we o****, we are able to build a comprehensive search that deeply understands business data and displays contextual results based on activity across the system.

Thank you, Raju, for your insights on Zoho CRM and the role of AI in martech!

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