Many people are curious about what the future of sales will look like with the addition of artificial intelligence (AI), and other AI-based tools. Some people fear that it will be an absolute armageddon and the end of all sales careers. Other people think that it is an amazing tool for salespeople to have access to. The reality is that it is probably somewhere in between, and AI’s influence will continue to evolve as things progress.
Which Kind of Salesperson Are You?
There are two kinds of salespeople: those who will utilize AI-based technology to their advantage in order to succeed, and those who will be replaced by AI-based technology and lose their job. The elite salespeople will use AI as a tool in order to gather the information that enables them to do their job better. They leverage the information that they’re receiving in order to prospect better, identify new territory plans, decide which accounts to go after, and more. Using AI to crunch through that data is going to tremendously help that elite salesperson. The salespeople who use AI to do menial tasks, like replying to emails or automate certain processes, probably won’t get very far in their sales career. Be the salesperson that uses AI to work smarter.
Three Trends: The Way Customers Buy
There are three trends, influenced by technology, that shape the way salespeople do business. The first of the major trends is that customers are buying things differently. With so much information available to customers, they can do about 90% to 95% of their research and information gathering online, without ever talking to a salesperson. Many customers know what they want before they even engage with someone in the sales team – and that’s if they engage at all. The world currently doesn’t value salespeople, and there’s a salesperson avoidance that can be very challenging to overcome. This trend has made it increasingly difficult for salespeople, which makes it even more important for salespeople to utilize information from AI resources to help them get ahead.
Three Trends: Social Communication
Technology-based social communication has also changed significantly in the last several years. In a world where you can have therapy sessions through instant message conversations, and see a doctor through a video chat session on your couch, communication has significantly changed. Especially for the new generation, communication is largely being done through email and text messaging. This makes it a lot more challenging to have open-ended conversations, identify customer needs, and help them problem-solve with your product. The elite salesperson needs to be looked at as an elite consultant, as opposed to someone interrupting the customer’s day. In order to do this, you must provide value and take the customer on a path that illustrates how your product or solution can make their life better. Elite salespeople are always trying to decipher how they can become an elite partner in helping their customers perform better.
Three Trends: Salesforce Productivity
Salesforces are typically looking to reduce their costs. Initially, everyone wants to grow the sales team, but when they find out that half of them aren’t producing, they either invest in training, or they let people go. On average, only about 53% of salespeople met their quota in 2019. Ensuring high productivity and quick, high-quality results must become a necessity for salespeople.