We’re over halfway through 2023 and the tech layoffs keep coming.
This year has already seen over 200,000 layoffs: a figure greater than the total number of layoffs in 2022. The list of affected companies has become a who’s who of the tech world, from Meta and Microsoft to Salesforce and Twitch.
Then there’s AI. The recent rapid growth of AI tools has workers in every industry worried about their jobs – their application is at the centre of the current actor and writer strikes and the OECD recently stated that 27% of jobs are at high-risk of automation.
But is automation simply synonymous with job elimination? What if AI could halt tech layoffs, not hike them?
Within the B2B SaaS sector such an opportunity is opening up. AI and automated tools have the ability to empower, not replace, humans and increase revenues and profitability that defend against redundancies.
So, how does it work? And what does the AI revolution mean for your team and your business?
A new way of working is needed
Running a business has never been easy. In 2023, it’s got much harder. With inflation and interest rates high, operational costs have soared and profit margins shrunk. For many, this has been the end: in the first 3 months of 2023, business insolvencies in England and Wales remained close to the 13-year high that closed out 2022, exacerbated by the end of government pandemic support. The tsunami of tech layoffs shows that even the biggest companies aren’t immune to the financial pain.
In this climate, wastage is dangerous. This puts B2B companies in a precarious position. Fail to deliver consistent value or provide a service that isn’t up to scratch – or your price point – and you’ll be cut quicker than you can say ‘customer loyalty’. Or you could see your client base walk into the arms of a competitor.
That’s why a new approach is needed: Customer Success. It’s the practice of deeply understanding your customers and their evolving needs and challenges which is vital for driving renewals, expansion and growth. As such, it’s the secret to increased revenue and greater profitability.
But so far B2B SaaS businesses are being thwarted in this area. They’re struggling with siloed customer data which means they can’t properly join up the dots and see the bigger customer picture. They’re sinking time in low-value housekeeping tasks and trying to collaborate with tools that don’t fully let them. This means confusion around customer needs, capped Net Revenue Retention, lost opportunities to upskill and grow and an increased danger of being eclipsed by your competition.
Automation as an aid, not an enemy
This is where AI can help out. One key role AI can play in Customer Success is by taking the seeming chaos of customer behaviour and making it predictable and therefore manageable. This knowledge is power for every department, from the C-suite to product development and onboarding.
How can businesses achieve this? The first step is consolidating all your customer data from every customer channel in one place, so you’re working with complete clarity: drawing from sources including product adoption data, email conversations, surveys, support interactions and financial information. The next step is applying AI techniques such as Natural Language Processing and predictive algorithms to identify patterns and trends and suggest the best course of action to take. This gives businesses the superhuman ability to forecast net and gross retention as well as anticipate future customer behaviour, acting on early warning signs to halt client loss and jump on every opportunity to expand. AI gives teams the power to avoid surprises, even in a volatile market.
As part of its predictive role, AI can generate business dashboards and reports, helping organisations hone in on specific data points to better understand their customers. But this isn’t the only way it helps reduce teams’ workload. Embracing automation enables serious efficiency within businesses, taking the drudgery of mundane tasks off teams’ plates so they can focus on higher level tasks that need maximum attention.
With the right tools, businesses can automate actions including emails, tasks, playbooks and surveys and programme actions based on specific events, such as creating a new account or building a segment for ‘unhealthy’ customers who need extra special care. This automation works hand-in-hand with AI predictive analytics: AI will analyse customer data to flag a new action that’s needed, which can then be automatically carried out. It’s a new way of working that allows organisations to work at unheard levels of efficiency.
AI’s ability to increase productivity and profitability could be the solution to tech layoffs, not its next wave. Used with consideration, it’s a tool that removes repetitive, mundane, error-prone work from a team’s to-do list and enables individuals – and the entire business – to work much more strategically. The subsequent boost in profitability could offer protection against job losses for a sector in sore need.