In Conversation with Korina Ortiz: Leveraging AI for Sustainable Growth

Steph SmithLast updated on March 5, 2024
1 min

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Today’s sales and customer support teams are faced with a challenging task; achieving ever-increasing targets while also fostering sustainable growth. To better understand how to navigate this dynamic landscape, we spoke with Korina Ortiz, Head of Sales at Aircall. The biggest takeaway? The significant role of AI in driving performance and propelling small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) towards sustainable success.

Q: Korina, 48% of businesses say they will actively be looking at how they can use AI to hit targets. How do you see AI shaping the future of sales and customer support teams in SMBs?

Korina Ortiz: Without a doubt, AI will significantly change the way these teams operate. Some will adopt it faster than others, but it’s sure to impact all customer-facing teams over the coming years. 

AI presents an incredible opportunity for SMBs to optimize their operations and drive growth. It can streamline processes, analyze data more efficiently, and deliver personalized experiences at scale. To me, this latter point is absolutely critical; AI not only boosts productivity and performance but also strengthens customer relationships and drives satisfaction. This is a cornerstone of sustainable growth.

Q: AI is still a new technology for many. The Voice of SMBs report highlights a gap in the prioritization of upskilling between executives and individual contributors. How can businesses bridge this gap and implement AI more smoothly? 

Korina Ortiz: As with most change management, bridging this mismatch requires a multifaceted approach. Implementing AI is all fine and well but if it’s not adopted by your team, its impact will be minimal. So getting your team on board really is a pillar of success!

First and foremost, organizations must prioritize education and training to ensure that all team members understand the benefits of AI. We need to help all levels of the org feel comfortable (and excited!) about leveraging AI-driven tools. This means navigating any concerns and knowledge gaps, and educating to address these. Then, leaders should lead by example by embracing AI themselves; demonstrating its value with tangible results. By showcasing a culture of continuous learning and innovation, leaders can create an environment where AI adoption is a natural evolution rather than a disruption.

Be careful though; the risk is that your team sees it as being forced upon them simply because it’s the latest buzzword. This is why it’s important to understand your team’s needs and educate from this foundation.

Q: What actionable steps would you recommend for SMBs looking to integrate AI into their sales and customer support processes?

Korina Ortiz: The key is to start small and focus on areas where AI can have the greatest impact. Begin by identifying specific pain points or inefficiencies in your sales and customer support workflows and explore AI-driven solutions that address these challenges. A good place to start is by automating high-volume but lower-value tasks, such as data entry or jotting down call notes. Then, you can think about analyzing customer data to identify trends and opportunities, or enhancing communication through chatbots and virtual assistants. By taking a strategic and, importantly, phased approach to AI adoption, you’ll minimize disruption while maximizing the benefits.

Q: Fear of becoming obsolete (or FOBO, as we like to say) is a growing concern among workers. How can businesses address these concerns and ensure that AI is seen as a tool for empowerment rather than a threat?

Korina Ortiz: Businesses need to prioritize transparency and communication when introducing AI to their teams. Employees need to understand that AI is not about replacing people but rather augmenting their capabilities and allowing them to focus on higher-impact activities. We need to emphasize the collaborative nature of AI and its potential to positively influence job satisfaction and growth. This approach will help settle your team’s nerves and get them excited about AI’s potential.

Q: Finally, what advice would you offer to businesses looking to leverage AI for sustainable growth?

Korina Ortiz: My advice would be to approach AI adoption with an open mind and a willingness to experiment. Don't view AI as a silver bullet but rather as a powerful tool that, when used strategically, can drive big improvements in performance and efficiency. Always start with your business objectives. Then explore how AI can support these goals. 

Invest in education and training to ensure that your team is equipped with the skills, knowledge and motivation needed to maximize the value of AI. And most importantly, don't be afraid to embrace it! The businesses that succeed in today's evolving landscape are those that are willing to adapt to stay ahead of the curve.

Published on March 5, 2024.

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