Those that know me, know that I am long robots. I’m of the opinion that eventually, robots will take many of our jobs and that we will live, not in a dystopian future, but in a future that is significantly altered by their proliferation. And perhaps it’s a future where many of us can pursue our own interests. We can be artists or makers or semi-professional golfers or simply do whatever we want to do with what was once just an “8-10 hour” workday.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about whether robots will take over sales. We all like to believe that our jobs are unique enough that robots can’t take them over. And most Salespeople believe that Sales is a function that will remain with humans; that it is far too nuanced for a robot. Many of us also believe that we are better than average drivers and that our kids are best.
If we look around, robots are already helping us with our jobs. It started a few years ago with dialers. Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have fancy dialers, we dialed one number at a time until our index finger had blisters. We made 100 dials a day and we weren’t allowed to leave.
Today, with a Robo-dialer, an SDR can make 500 dials a day and leave a personalized pre-recorded voicemail.
CEB/Gartner states in their classic, The Challenger Sale, that customers are already nearly 60% through their buying process before even speaking with a Salesperson. These services are making a big difference in how companies are buying and selling their products. Bots offered by companies like Drift will continue to increase this percentage.
We are still some time away from this getting to 100%, but every year more of the mundane, time-consuming tasks that Salespeople need to do are being replaced by bots and services to make life easier and more efficient. The smart sales reps are leveraging these tools to complement their skillset, allowing them to build stronger relationships with clients. The weaker sellers are at risk of jumping the gun and becoming too reliant on these technologies – and may find themselves out of a job.
The next five years will be very interesting for Sales professionals. We are going to see more and more technologies that come out that continue to automate steps of the sales process. Purchase limits will likely go up and many deals that historically required a sales rep will be able to be managed with some email campaigns that have Machine Learning to deal with responses, some good AI on the website to coach potential buyers down the appropriate path, and some great Automation to manage follow up.
It is going to be fun, and I for one, welcome our complementary robot overlords.