Pipedrive on Wednesday is launching an updated CRM suite that includes a virtual assist based on artificial intelligence, along with an online education platform and an enterprise plan in a bid to show it can serve larger organizations.
Based in New York, Pipedrive’s latest release adds a slew of other features such as the ability to sync to more kinds of online calendars and more sophisticated reporting dashboards. However the AI assistant — which will analyze CRM data to suggest “next best actions” for reps — will help its customers be more proactive in acting on opportunities to close deals, chief product officer Vinay Ramani said.
“Many managers know someone on their team is struggling, but not why they’re struggling,” Ramani told B2B News Network, adding that Pipedrive’s subtle approach to using AI shouldn’t put off reps or managers. “If you’re searching online, Google might suggest other searches of interest to you. They use AI for that, but consumers don’t need to understand how it’s working.”
Weaving AI into CRM tools is not new, of course. Companies like Salesforce have been doing so for several years now with an AI application called Einstein that’s part of products like Sales Cloud. Other CRM providers with AI capabilities include Nudge.ai and Kreato CRM. However Ramani said Pipedrive will aim to stand out by staying focused on its core audience rather than building an AI-based tech stack to help organizations compete with the likes of Amazon or IBM.
“We’re really driven around this notion of what we call ‘sales craftmanship,’” he said, pointing out a lack of ways to validate the authority and professionalism of sales reps the way consumers position themselves on social services such as Instagram. “That’s where you see this reputation of sales as being slimy or not trustworthy. We believe that is absolutely wrong.”
Beyond updates to its CRM product, Ramani said the company will help customers elevate their role with the launch of Pipedrive Academy, which will offer a selection of videos to assist with sales training and professional development.
The introduction of an Enterprise plan, meanwhile, will help Pipedrive appeal to bigger organizations with dedicated resources for onboarding, integrations and customization. Its former tiers of Gold, Silver and Platinum will remain in place but have been rebranded Essential, Advanced and Professional.
Pipedrive will also work to offer ways for customers to connect its CRM with marketing automation and other martech tools, though Ramani said there are other approaches that could achieve similar ends in some caes.
“You can have someone in marketing set up with a Pipedrive account to be in the flow of what’s happening in sales. Same for (those working in) finance,” he said.
As part of the launch, Pipedrive’s research division released survey data in which halfof sales managers said things like reviewing reps’ performance and adjusting goals and processes are extremely important to them.