Can A Robot Do My Job : One of the responsibilities of managers is to help their teams not only plan for the future but also anticipate it. However, using the well-known Niels Bohr quote, “making predictions is always difficult and more so if it is about the future”. The problem is that it seems that the future is already here.
The changes that we are already experiencing in the commercial area and that come from the application of tools such as Artificial Intelligence or Expert Systems, force us to ask ourselves the following question: Will technology allow sellers to be replaced by robots at some point in the near future?
So I’ve looked into my crystal ball and this is what I’ve seen in future sales
The digital transformation is going to drastically change the way in which the purchasing and sales processes are developed. The role of the traditional salesperson will be completely transformed and in some way, the need for that position will diminish. That does not mean that there will be fewer jobs in the world of income generation (at least relative to the number of total jobs). But those jobs will be different from what we now call “sales.” What we will see in your day to day I think will look like this:
Less New Business Activity
The traditional methods of prospecting for new clients, what is now known as “new business” will have fewer and fewer returns. Vendors specialized in this task will be prohibitively expensive and will be restricted to sectors in the early stages of development or in categories with low penetration.
Fewer Meetings With Clients
Prospects and customers will have less time and interest in considering new vendors and going through the traditional cycle of face-to-face presentation to consider new offers.
Loss of differentiation
Buyers will flatten the market, turning previously value-added products and services into minimum requirements, thus reducing the need for explanations and comparative analysis.
Buyers’ focus will eventually shift from price to results.
This may sound like good news at first. But the reasons why this will happen need consideration and are not so positive. The pricing exercises will end up squeezing all the possibilities that the margin allows. This means that more products and services will be included in structured purchase processes as if they were “commodities”. Commodities are “traded”, not bought and sold. This means that the activity of quoting will replace the more traditional roles of salespeople offering advice, comparing solutions, and justifying prices.
The Skills And Competencies Of Business Profiles Will Change Drastically.
1. Align customer and vendor profiles.
Especially in the hiring phase, organizations need to reconsider the profile of a vendor for a given customer. Attitude has never been so important. Many of the skills that have always accompanied the best salespeople are still relevant. However, sellers will have to rethink the image they have of their own activity. For example, you will have to take responsibility for your personal learning in order to keep yourself constantly up to date with information and new technologies. The seller’s ability to embody the brand’s values will be vital to the seller’s own survival.
2. Align marketing and sales.
Customer relationship management will take on a new level of complexity. Functions and departments that currently act more or less independently (eg sales, customer service, marketing, retail, e-commerce…) must commit to working together to deliver a seamless service. The CRM will be combined to bring intelligence to all participants in the customer relationship. This will make it more complex, but also more enriching if managed well. The ultimate goal should be that no matter who the customer interacts with, they are treated as the same person.
3. Knowledge management as a tool to add value to the client.
Information and communication must be dealt with in real-time. Organizations will need to carefully consider their knowledge management systems. This will allow quick and seamless access to information to support the vendor in the field. A salesperson’s value to a client will include the ability to provide timely and relevant information and analysis.
4. The Sales Manager as a Training.
In the context of flattening hierarchy and processes, the role of the sales manager must also be reconsidered. In the same way that the salesperson must become a reliable source of advice for the customer, the sales manager must take enough distance from the day-to-day to be more strategic. This means providing more training and less supervision and control. Ultimately, the role of the sales manager has to be expanded to improve the networking of their team, facilitate communications, as well as helping to retain information, and streamline training.
5. The urgency perceived by the client will triumph in the process.
When customers have real problems and find themselves in a rush, they will cut corners to solve their problems as quickly as possible. Companies that are effectively positioned to provide a rapid response will be able to seize the opportunities.
6 Trust will continue to be the most important value.
Ultimately, buyers have to trust the company they are going to work with because their own careers will be at stake if they are wrong.
Many of these changes have already been addressed by companies with more vision. However, this picture of the future is incomplete. It’s not like this is going to happen overnight either, but it has already started. There will continue to be direct prospecting efforts and there will still be traditional selling people and approaches. But they will be limited to sectors with certain characteristics, in the initial phases and surely to regions of the world with certain undeveloped distribution channels.