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Seven Strategies to Get Ready for AI in the Salesforce Ecosystem

October 2, 2023 in

Artificial Intelligence (AI), more specifically generative AI, is all the buzz and certainly was at Dreamforce this year, dubbed “the largest AI event of the year.” And Salesforce is no stranger to the AI space.

For almost a decade, predictive analytics via Salesforce’s Einstein products provide users with productivity tools, custom recommendations, insights, and more. With the recent launch of Einstein GPT, it’s clear Salesforce continues to revolutionize workforce efficiency with generative AI.

So, what is generative AI, and how does it apply to Salesforce customers and end users? (Generative AI is defined as artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, and other media using generative models, for the record).

Let’s review seven tips to help you and your organization get up to speed regarding one of the most impactful technologies in decades, and Salesforce’s AI customer relationship capabilities.

1. Know Your AI Fundamentals

Before delving into how AI applies to Salesforce, it’s critical to understand the basics. At its core, AI is the ability of a computer to do tasks usually done by humans because those tasks require human intelligence and decision making. Machine learning is an application of AI, primarily focused on machines being able to learn from data and find patterns to provide predictions. Generative, predictive, and conversational AI take machine learning to the next level.

  • Predictive AI uses a data-driven approach and relies on historical data to forecast future events, like which customers are likely to purchase from your organization.
  • Conversational AI also uses machine learning to develop content and communicate using capabilities like chatbots.
  • Generative AI takes machine learning data and turns it into actionable content. A subset of generative AI is large language models (LLM), which generate human-like text by predicting words based on previous words. Think ChatGPT.

Salesforce recognizes how all AI capabilities used together are going to launch us into the next revolution. Click here for a Trailhead trail we recommend reviewing to learn more.

2. Establish Ethical Guidelines

Technology impacts society in myriad ways, and AI is no different. Implementing AI should include a strong emphasis on ethics – guidelines that include accountability, reliability, explainability, security, and privacy.

Trust is one of Salesforce’s core values, and ensuring ethics in AI is a priority (read more about Salesforce’s AI principles). As Salesforce did, it may be necessary to establish an ethical committee that ensures transparency, data privacy, accountability, and potential bias are addressed may be necessary. It is important that customers and employees understand how you will implement AI within your organization. (For example, even something as simple as what employees may or may not use tools like ChatGPT for.)

Click here for a Trailhead module on responsible AI, and review part one and part two of a series about how to build ethics into AI.

3. Understand that Clean Data is Key

The potential for generative AI is vast, both within and outside the Salesforce ecosystem, and can transform how any organization manages relationships. But the insights that result are only as useful as the data used to create them.

Clean data is paramount, even if AI is not part of your long-term customer relationship strategy. Clean does not contain duplicates, inconsistencies, or unwanted or unused attributes, and is both relevant and current. To get the most from AI, you must clean and maintain high-quality data within Salesforce to support the best predictions and recommendations.

4. Prepare an AI Strategy

With the myriad opportunities to use AI in any business as the technology evolves, having a strategy to help direct resources and maximize benefit is key. We recommend:

  • Identifying the business value of AI by determining use cases in your organization for which AI can add the most value and identify stakeholders that may benefit from this use case
  • Determining capabilities required based on those use cases, including data requirements and workforce readiness
  • Implementing ethical guidelines, including human checks and balances, to ensure safety, mitigate bias, and protecting privacy

5. Understand Salesforce AI Integrations

The Salesforce platform’s capabilities are almost endless, and when it comes to AI, there are plenty of tools to explore. But not all will help your organization achieve goals; knowing which products are critical to business outcomes will maximize any organization’s foray into AI. Among them are:

  • Data Cloud, which helps by integrating data into one customer profile record. (Note: Salesforce Unlimited and Enterprise orgs will have free Data Cloud edition licenses soon).
  • Einstein GPT combines models trained on CRM data in Data Cloud and models trained on external data (LLM).
  • Einstein 1 takes Data Cloud, CRM apps, and Einstein products and puts them all under one platform to provide seamless integration.

6. Understand How to Apply Einstein GPT to Your Business Challenges

We’re excited about all Salesforce AI features, but of the features we’re most excited about, Einstein GPT is at the top of the list. It can speed up and improve even the smallest customer interactions.

Let’s imagine an employee wants to send an email after a phone call with a prospect or customer. Using Salesforce’s generative AI features, the employee can begin with the click of a button in Salesforce to trigger a prompt. (This step is also where the Einstein Trust Layer feature comes into play to keep data safe and secure. The prompt can securely merge data within the trust layer, including data masking).

The prompt will return a personalized email for the employee to review and send. And that’s just the beginning. Salesforce AI can enhance productivity and efficiency across various domains, including Sales, Service, Marketing, Commerce, and even integration with Slack. Having trouble figuring out what’s right for you? We can help.

7. Skill Up and Learn More

One of the best ways to get ready for AI in Salesforce is to take advantage of free training resources on Trailhead, Salesforce’s self-guided learning platform. This trailmix is designed for individuals hoping to pursue the AI Associate certification, but is generally a fantastic collection of bits of knowledge to support any AI education. Learn AI fundamentals, the difference between generative and predictive AI, and how to apply that knowledge.

Ready to Start Using AI in your Salesforce Org?

Bringing AI into your Salesforce strategy is vital for any organization looking to remain competitive in today’s fast-moving, technology-forward world. If you are ready to begin incorporating AI into your Salesforce org, we’re ready to help!

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how HigherEchelon partners with organizations to help quickly and successfully implement Salesforce, and helps organization maximize their investment. (We’re good at improvements in existing orgs, too!)