Generative AI is taking over CRM – starting with Salesforce and Microsoft

Salesforce and Microsoft announced they had enabled generative AI tech into their CRM technologies.
8 March 2023

Generative AI is taking over CRM – starting with Salesforce and Microsoft. Source: Shutterstock

As with any transformative new tech, generative AI has seen growing hype and adoption, especially among organizations. Unlike the Metaverse (that faltered too soon), the AI boom is paying off, especially considering how tech giants are incorporating it into their products and services. This week, generative AI took a leap that could see it become a technology that transforms customer relationship management (CRM).

On Monday and Tuesday, two tech giants, Salesforce and Microsoft, announced that they were enabling generative AI tech in their CRM technologies. The move makes Salesforce the latest tech powerhouse to join the ChatGPT craze. For Microsoft, it’s just been another week of embedding the highly popular generative AI tech into one of its products and services.

The move by both companies, however, signals a more notable trend. From now on, we can anticipate more industry moves to embed generative AI into traditional CRM, to create a future of intuitive customer-business engagement that has never been possible before. Salesforce earlier this week said that it would release software incorporating AI to help salespeople, customer service agents, and marketers do their jobs. The cloud-based software giant is calling the offering Einstein GPT.

Salesforce’s chatbot AI will be drawing on OpenAI’s technology, that has taken the tech industry by storm since the Microsoft-backed startup opened ChatGPT to the public in November. “The world is experiencing one of the most profound technological shifts with the rise of real-time technologies and generative AI. This comes at a pivotal moment as every company is focused on connecting with their customers in more intelligent, automated, and personalized ways,” said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. 

How Salesforce is bringing generative AI into its CRM

Currently in beta, the ChatGPT app for Slack provides a conversational interface powered by OpenAI’s large language models to get instant conversation summaries to stay informed, research tools to learn about any topic, and provide writing assistance to draft messages quickly.

As for Einstein GPT, it will infuse Salesforce’s proprietary AI models with generative AI technology from an ecosystem of partners and real-time data from the Salesforce Data Cloud, which ingests, harmonizes, and unifies all of a company’s customer data. 

“With Einstein GPT, customers can then connect that data to OpenAI’s advanced AI models out of the box or choose their external model and use natural-language prompts directly within their Salesforce CRM to generate content that continuously adapts to changing customer information and needs in real-time,” Salesforce’s statement reads.

Simply put, the new Einstein GPT combines knowledge found in Slack with the intelligence of ChatGPT, empowering customers with the information they need to move work forward faster.

As for the ChatGPT app for Slack, customers can get up to speed faster on channels or threads, instantly find answers on any project or topic, and even draft messages in seconds to communicate with customers and teams.

Einstein GPT is the next generation of Einstein, Salesforce’s AI technology that delivers more than 200 billion AI-powered daily predictions across Customer 360. “By combining proprietary Einstein AI models with ChatGPT or other leading large language models, customers can use natural-language prompts on CRM data to trigger powerful, time-saving automation and create personalized AI-generated content,” Salesforce noted.

Microsoft brings AI features to its competing Dynamics 365 software

Microsoft earlier this week unveiled a new AI-based extension to the company’s Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP platform. Based on OpenAI’s GPT-3, Microsoft’s new Dynamics 365 Copilot is an extension to its existing CRM and ERP software, working alongside those applications to answer questions, create content, and summarize conversations and notes. 

The announcement furthers Microsoft’s ongoing generative AI push in its business-centric apps. “Generative AI is transforming the next era of business applications. Microsoft highlighted how users would increasingly expect their CRM and ERP applications to include AI-powered expertise. 

“Dynamics 365 Copilot brings the latest AI breakthroughs to every line of business, improving customer experience, employee experience, and operational efficiency. Today’s announcement builds on recent AI momentum across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and the Power Platform,” Microsoft’s CVP for business applications and platform Charles Lamanna said.

The bot extensions include AI capabilities in Microsoft Teams, Viva Sales, and Power Apps, enabling citizen developers to write code using natural language.