Today, there are two types of sales technology: automation and augmentation aka AI. The first, sales automation, is something that has been around for a while. Indeed, it’s been more than two decades. There were two early benefits from sales automation and a game changer:
The first benefit that sales automation drove was administrative efficiency. Instead of, for example, paper contact reports, everything became digital. The second benefit that came with that efficiency was account, contact, lead and opportunity transparency. The second benefit, transparency, may not seem like a big deal, but it was – because the selling environment was changing. For example, in B2B. Business problems and solutions to those problems were becoming more complex, and because of that, the buying process became complex too.
Companies were buying as a team of experts, and we had to sell as a team of experts. Against this backdrop, transparency created the game changer for selling. The game changer was – for companies that were able to harness the power of transparency – a single source of sales truth for effective collaboration when selling consultatively as a team. This single source of truth was also the impetus for modern sales operations and accelerating the development of marketing technology, but that are stories for another day! So, once viewed with suspicion by salespeople, automation is now considered traditional sales technology. It is no longer optional if you want to compete at that level.
The elephant in the room now is sales augmentation or AI. What would the second type of sales technology, augmentation or AI do for you? One benefit of sales augmentation, if implemented correctly, is to help sales qualify leads and opportunities quicker, yet with due care.
Again, why is this a big deal?
It is a big deal because the reality is that we are always short of time and resources for selling. The resulting pressure leaves money on the table, as we hurriedly qualify leads and opportunities with limited heuristics, of which some are irrelevant bias. This is not good for growth and not good for the money poured into generating those leads and opportunities. The game changer will be – for companies that are able to harness the power of sales AI – a single source of sales intelligence for effective collaboration to open up customer lifetime value and not just close deals. A recent Forester survey indicates that almost half the companies they spoke to are planning to implement AI systems for sales teams, so this isn’t science fiction already. See you soon in the future.