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Symbiosis of Human and Machine
Blog / Sales Management / Jun 4, 2021 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 1303 

Symbiosis of Human and Machine

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The last point to be taken up in account management is the symbiosis of humans and machines. We’ve asked the question before: is the future dominated by humans, or machines? Or, both together in harmony?

There’s no question that they are becoming, and will continue to become, more as one. We’ve just come through a worldwide round of vaccinations, and I believe we’ll be receiving internal computer chips in the not-too-distant future. This isn’t fiction and is already happening in Sweden and Germany.

This symbiosis is unstoppable, in my opinion, because we live in a symbiotic environment—we need machines, and they need us.

Data Accuracy, Technology, and Shutting Out Competition

An enormous benefit of this symbiosis is the accuracy of data. In sales—especially in today’s ultra-competitive digital age—data accuracy is everything. On the plus side, just remember a time when a salesperson reached out to you, and you realized (perhaps with somewhat of a shock) that this person really understood you and your issues. On the negative side, just remember the last email you received, from which you could tell the sender knew absolutely nothing about you. Data accuracy tends to run the gamut from one extreme to the other. Obviously the more accurate it is, the more effective it will be.

It’s that edge of technology in this symbiosis that makes for precise data accuracy, shutting out competition.

Efficient Salespeople Roles

In combining automation and people, we’re not out to create some kind of superhuman. We only want to develop efficient salespeople—and through our CRM, we cover the whole spectrum of sales roles like no other vendor in the world.

In the old days sales, roles were oversimplified, with just the hunter and the farmer. Today these roles are more complex. For example, we have inside salespeople, outside salespeople, technical specialists, client managers, account executives, business managers, and more.

Power Through Opposite Poles

However, the main thrust of sales boils down to two main courses of action: either pursuing new accounts or selling to existing accounts. Any business may have many different sales roles, but the above basic pattern would apply to any organization. Both of these impact your sales strategy, because each requires different planning with teams and resources. Each also requires a different mentality. Trying to approach both with a single team just becomes too complex.

These two different approaches are much like the two opposite poles of a battery, and the tension between them creates power. What is power? It is a company’s growth because a company will only grow if both of these functions are well cared for. You of course need new customers, but you also need to follow up with existing customers.

In reaching out for new business, you need a robust lead machine. Such a machine generally includes Sales Development Reps—SDRs. It can also include inside and field salespeople.

We then have the unit or units that sell to existing accounts, which is vital for any company. We know that it is far more expensive to sell to a new customer than an existing one, making it very interesting that CRM companies rarely empower sales to existing accounts. Pipeliner, however, holistically supports the entire sales spectrum in a totally visual fashion.

Combining With Technology

It is impossible to have this kind of complex operation, including account management, without efficient and powerful technology.

As an example of account planning with technology, with Pipeliner I recently created a matrix with 49 of my customers, filtering out all business prior to the last 6 months, with renewal value over $10,000. I was also examining the production of several specific salespeople.

While I had the matrix up on my screen, I was able to drill down on any particular customer. In one overview, I could see what products they had purchased and their buying trends, the contact, the lifetime value, the renewal value, when they were last contacted, the number of licenses, and much more. This is account planning in its highest form.

Without technology, such a powerful view, including all of these factors, would be impossible.

It’s a whole new area: the computer is taking over a lot of work that previously we had to do. What’s interesting is that CRM is no longer what you feed it—it’s what the system feeds you. It provides everything you need to engage, communicate, and interact with your prospect or customer. It enables you to provide additional value without you having to perform extra work, and allows you to concentrate on that customer relationship.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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