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“Generative AI is a super-power”: Salesforce’s Bill Patterson

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“Generative AI is a super-power”: Salesforce’s Bill Patterson


What is generative AI, and how does it work? I sat down with Salesforce EVP and general manager for CRM Bill Patterson to talk about how generative AI is going to reshape our customer service.

But, to begin with, what is generative AI? A generative artificial intelligence or generative AI is a type of AI system capable of generating text, images, or other media in response to prompts. It’s ChatGPT, for those who need a bit more of a layman’s explanation. Patterson describes it to Marketing Mag as being a “whole new chapter of intelligence.” 

ChatGPT broke into the scene in late 2022, and as half the world was curious, the other half thought it was technology going too far. However, Patterson has looked at how it can coincide with human behaviour and intelligence, rather than replacement. How the dual nature of generative AI exists with customer service to create a better customer experience (CX) for businesses from large to small scale, to capture and retain customers.

“What we see in the future is sales and services teams, humans are still in the loop,” Patterson tells Marketing. “AI doesn’t have emotions, but besides that, it also doesn’t have ethics. We need that in the high value moments.”

What are the risks associated with generative AI?

With every new technology comes presented risks. And AI is not only no different, but also high risk. 

“It’s a zero-sum-game,” Patterson says of the AI advances. “There’s no right or wrong. As accurate as it is in giving answers, truth or accuracy, it can also be subjective to the user.”

Although it can present risks, AI is considered the driving force of future marketers working on CX.

How can generative AI help small businesses?

Generative AI will end up being most helpful for small businesses, Patterson thinks.

“It can become the sales assistant. It can schedule appointments, and it can be the facilitator,” he says of the near future. 

“It’s designed to create a more dynamic business experience,” Patterson finishes. 

And, for marketers who are working on a small budget and struggling for content, Patterson says that it’s going to be all about creating filler content. “It will create b-roll and low cost artwork.”

Who is using generative AI the best?

When it comes to who Patterson is looking up to as being a real driving force in AI, he lists Marriott Hotels as a shining example. 

“They know all your activities, they know your profile. They’re doing a great job of thinking about customer intelligence,” Patterson says about the global hotel chain. 

“I think actually their challenge is dealing with too much data,” he continues. 

As for those with trepidation with AI, Patterson says it’s nothing to be afraid of, “we are going to be in this world. Salesforce is a trusted software provider in this, and people are experimenting along the way.”

Salesforce’s Bill Patterson


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Liv Croagh

Liv Croagh was the Managing Editor of Marketing Mag from September 2021 to September 2023.

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