In just ten years, most salespeoples’ jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence. This bold prediction was made by LeadGenius co-founder Anand Kulkarni, who has been tracking dramatic innovations in the tools sales teams now use to locate, interact with, and close leads.
These tools are able to solve problems in exciting new ways, empowering teams to be more effective in everything they do.
To be clear, sales is not going away. Salespeople are not going away. It’s the way that salespeople do sales today that will vanish. This key distinction being, it will not be sales as usual, only captained by robots. The sales process itself is on the brink of disruption and technology will enable (and force) sales teams to conduct business in new ways.
In order to remain relevant in a technology-driven world, sales teams must learn to combine their efforts with the tools they’re provided. Here are a few things your teams can do to prepare for the next decade of technology-driven sales processes.
Start at the Top
For sales teams to truly be effective, they must have leadership in place that supports the work they do each day. Data-driven sales managers will be in high demand as businesses realize the importance of analytics in the sales process. When sales managers arm teams with the tools they need to source workable leads and close those leads efficiently, they see higher levels of success.
Putting the right tools in place isn’t enough, however. True data-driven sales managers will be able to put collected customer and audience data in action, further increasing chances for success. Data will be an increasingly important part of sales management, from the lists of leads teams use to the performance of team members themselves. CRMs already have the ability to measure how many successful calls sales professionals have each week, but this technology will only become more sophisticated in coming years. Managers will have the ability to see whether employees are effective in each of their pitches over the course of a week, month, or year.
Analytics is rapidly becoming an important part of sales organizations across the country, with organizations stating that they plan to increase their use of sales analytics by 58 percent over the next year. So far, much of this activity has surrounded the use of data analytics to provide a solid list of leads for teams to use. But technology is transforming everything about the way sales teams do their jobs, from analyzing customer behaviors on social media to alerting teams when current circumstances may impact customers across a certain industry or demographic.
One area of particular interest to sales teams is predictive analytics. This science gathers massive amounts of demographic, firmographic, and behavioral data and uses that information to predict what will happen in the near future. Predictive analytics includes the art of determining whether a customer is likely to buy or not based on past interactions with a business or information found online about that customer.
But how far can artificial intelligence really go in helping a business close deals? Many sales professionals assume technology will only inform the work they do. It will still be up to skilled sales professionals to communicate with leads and convert them to valued customers. While there will always be a need for human beings in the sales process, however, Kulkarni has discovered that software already can communicate customers via email in a way that has customers believing they’re messaging with a human.
Through the use of analytics, software can gather information on a specific customer and craft a personalized email that mentions specific information about a customer’s account. These messages address a customer’s problem and offer to resolve the problem. While the technology is still in its earliest stages, it stands to be very effective once it becomes more sophisticated. In fact, AI can analyze exactly what will make a customer most likely to open an email and tailor its email around that information.
Over time, all of this automated technology will still require the human touch. Even robot-generated email templates can be made better by asking humans to edit them. Analytics may also likely never replace the effectiveness of a good sales pitch executed by a talented sales professional. Those professionals will simply automate mundane tasks like email and lead prospecting in order to be able to channel more time presenting to potential customers.
Artificial intelligence will augment and streamline – even radically change – the function of today’s human sales force, but not necessarily become its dark overlord.
This article was written by Steve Olenski from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.