Why ChatGPT, AI Is Taking Over Cold Calling: The Salesforce Lead


  • ChatGPT’s launch started a wave of tech companies looking to integrate generative AI into their products and applications.
  • Salesforce is releasing a new product that uses OpenAI’s advanced AI models to help salespeople, customer service reps, developers and others take the day-to-day tasks out of their jobs.
  • According to Clara Shih, CEO of Salesforce Services Cloud, one workload in particular to avoid is writing “dreaded” sales emails.

Generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT are changing the way companies and salespeople interact with customers for the better, said Clara Shih, CEO of Salesforce’s Service Cloud Business.

“You look at how salespeople work today, and most of them dread writing sales emails, preferring to be there with customers,” Shih said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday. “So you can offload those more mundane tasks … you want to focus on interacting with the customer and solving problems.”

Compared to business customers and enterprise users, Shih drew a clear line on how generative AI can be used by humans in general: “We’re not talking about writing funny poems, we’re talking about writing sales emails and writing customer service responses to send agents to get back to customers faster.”

Earlier this week, Salesforce announced its first generative AI CRM technology, Einstein GPT. The updated software uses Generative AI technology and OpenAI’s advanced AI models to enable ChatGPT to create personalized emails for salespeople, auto-generate responses for customer service representatives and developers, and more.

“It’s really about bringing enterprise-grade generative AI to our customers, whether they’re small businesses or the largest companies in the world, and doing it in a way that’s connected to business outcomes,” Shih said.

Jonathan Ra | Nurphoto Getty Images

Since Microsoft-backed OpenAI opened ChatGPT to the public in November, it seems every tech company has sought to release its own proprietary AI-based tool amid growing interest.

Microsoft said earlier this week that AI will compete with Salesforce’s offerings for CRM and ERP applications, following the company’s earlier plans to integrate OpenAI’s chatbot with the Bing search engine.

Google’s ChatGPIT competitor Bard has faced pressure from insiders and investors over criticism that its technology was rushed. According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company is creating a new product team focused on generative AI to create products for Facebook and Instagram. Snap said in February that it would integrate the ChatGPT bot into its app.

In a separate announcement, Salesforce said it’s launching a ChatGPT app for Slack that helps you compose messages and get conversation summaries. The company’s VC arm Salesforce Ventures has launched its own $250 million seed AI fund.

The ChatGPT craze has gone beyond technology, with companies from construction equipment maker Caterpillar to financial services company Wells Fargo highlighting their AI technology efforts in recent earnings calls.

“When it comes to AI, we’ve been on this journey for over seven years,” Shih said. Salesforce first introduced Einstein in 2015.

Shih said at a CNBC job conference last October that integrating AI tools into employees’ lives was “absolutely critical.”

“A lot of workers these days feel burned out, they’re overloaded, their days are full of routine,” Shih said, comparing how AI can help make things easier for employees to how Google Maps helps people plan their commutes.

Shih said that while these tools can help employees with those tasks, it’s important for companies to make sure their employees aren’t using consumer-focused chatbots.

“It’s about making sure their proprietary information doesn’t get out into the open,” she said.


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