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Generative AI – The Top Ways CEOs Are Driving Value

(This article is part of a series on Artificial Intelligence for Board Members and Senior Executives.)

CEOs are increasingly turning to generative artificial intelligence (AI) to unlock unprecedented value across the organization. The entire C-Suite, including the board must understand where and how generative AI can deliver the greatest value.

In this article, I will talk primarily about Generative AI, but will also include examples of what I call “traditional AI” as well.

Generative AI uses machine learning to generate new content and information. It enhances efficiency and drives growth by eliminating many mundane tasks. It also frees employee time for more critical tasks and reduces the size of the workforce without impacting productivity.

Understanding how to apply generative AI to improve operations across all departments will give you a competitive advantage. Here are just a few of the areas where generative AI will have a noticeable impact:

Sales: Reinventing Engagement

Sales teams have traditionally relied on human interaction, but that has dramatically changed recently. The pandemic accelerated a trend that was already underway. More buyers prefer online research and self-service over direct contact with sales representatives.

Generative AI bridges the gap, enhancing lead qualification and delivering relevant support materials to sales reps. Sales bots now qualify online visitors before turning them over to sales reps. For example, AI can automate lead scoring, matching demographics, engagement, purchase history, and other criteria to assess prospects’ likelihood to buy.

By automating lead qualification and CRM data entry, AI tools enable sales teams to focus on converting the right prospects and reducing the time spent with less qualified buyers. Most CRM solutions are offering some level of this capability today.

Generative AI can also speed up revenue generation (see 5 Ways AI Can Help Increase Your Revenue).

Marketing: Creating Personalized Experiences

Generative AI can personalize customer experience, anticipate customer needs, and match preferences using historical data, bringing you closer to your customers.

By analyzing customer data, AI can tailor interactions to boost customer engagement. Not only does AI create personalization through chatbots, but it also helps create more targeted marketing campaigns. AI can generate blog posts, email newsletters, product descriptions, and other materials, saving time and resources while delivering content created for a target customer.

For example, McDonald’s has been working on a personalized drive-through menu. The digital menu uses machine learning to make suggestions based on diners’ ordering decisions.

HR and Recruitment: Streamlining Talent Acquisition

Finding the best talent has become more challenging than ever. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment is at an all-time low, with 0.7 job seekers for every job opening. The job market has become more competitive, with more organizations competing for top candidates. Every job opening now reaches job seekers worldwide, making it harder to sift through resumes and find the best candidates.

Generative AI is proving to be an indispensable tool in recruiting, starting with creating job descriptions (See Six Ways To Use AI (including ChatGPT) To Solve the Labor Shortage In 2024). A properly trained AI model can create job descriptions faster than HR professionals, and AI can eliminate bias. AI is also more effective than keyword searches and other tools at matching potential candidates to specific jobs, eliminating the need to evaluate hundreds of resumes manually.

For example, Siemens uses AI to screen candidates, analyzing resumes for keywords, skills, experience, achievements, education, and personality traits, and shortlisting only the most qualified candidates.

Generative AI can also streamline employee onboarding. AI models can personalize the onboarding experience, providing information tailored for a specific role. It also makes onboarding more exciting and engaging.

Product Development and Management: Accelerating Innovation

Companies also use generative AI for product development, starting with customer needs assessment. Using AI for market and customer research can validate product viability in advance.

AI tools are ideal for rapid prototyping, reducing time to market. Companies can use AI models for everything from rapid design generation to generating branding elements.

For example, Volkswagen used generative AI to reduce the weight of their electric microbus, thus increasing the EV range. By using generative AI for design, Volkswagen created a new type of wheel that cut the weight by 20 pounds or 18%.

Customer Service: Enhancing Satisfaction through Technology

AI-powered chatbots have become the first layer of customer service, offering instant support and efficiently handling inquiries and transactions.

Generative AI can also analyze large datasets to identify customer preferences and provide actionable insights to help refine decision-making and improve the customer experience. For example, Bank of America developed Erica, a virtual financial assistant, to help customers with banking requests, including intelligent call routing.

Conclusion: A Unified Approach to Generative AI

The diverse applications of generative AI across the organization underscore its potential to transform operations, elevate customer engagement, and spur growth. The CEO’s challenge is embracing AI-driven strategies company-wide as a collaborative effort.

By embracing AI-driven implementations, companies can remain competitive (See The AI Threat: Winner-Takes-All), agile, and responsive to evolving market and customer needs, setting a new standard for innovation and efficiency.

If you care about how AI determines the winners and losers in business, how you can leverage AI for the benefit of your organization, and how you can manage AI risk, contact me at glenngow.com. I write and speak about how senior executives, board members, and other business leaders can use AI effectively. You can read past articles and be notified of new ones by clicking the “follow” button here.

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