A few days ago, CX TODAY posted an article entitled “Salesforce Teases ‘The First Generative AI For CRM.’” Salesforce’s promotional video for this new functionality, posted with the article, begins with the line, “What if your CRM could sell for you?”
Another CRM giant, Microsoft Dynamics, is also standing behind similar claims—that AI functionality can sell in place of sales reps.
Sorry, guys, you’ve got this way wrong.
First of all, B2B sales, for which both of these solutions are primarily marketed, can (and usually does) involve more than the two-person combination of a salesperson and a buyer. Most often there are multiple people on the buyer end, and in larger deals there are multiple people involved on the seller’s side. There is no way that AI could ever track the potential thought processes of all of these people, for every type of deal, through the complex sales process of a B2B sale.
But even more fundamentally, sales is one of the oldest professions in history, going back to the primitive barter system of trading goods-for-goods or goods-for-service. Selling was always a human skill, rooted in relationships, and it still is today.
We firmly believe in technology and its supportive role in sales. Algorithms and machine learning can undoubtedly provide instant support and data for salespeople—but there is the key: support.
Today sales, being conducted by humans, is more critical than ever. In the B2B arena, prospects and customers have precise and diverse needs and wants for the products and services they buy. Advanced technology is vital to navigating this complex path—but again, it is as assistance. AI can never replace salespeople.
Any company will have profitability as its primary goal. An enterprise that is not profitable will fold up after a period of constant investment with no profitable return.
How does profitability come about? It comes from productivity. Productivity comes from efficiency, and efficiency comes from utilizing the right tools. Just as in the construction business, workers must have the right tools for what they’re trying to accomplish, so do salespeople.
When a company purchases a CRM solution, the purpose is to be efficient and to gain sales productivity—again, to lead to profitability.
The advanced technology brought about through the right CRM solution is vital for any company’s sales profitability—but only in a supportive role. At least in B2B sales, AI will never be able to “sell for you.” It’s a ridiculous assertion on the part of both these vendors.