Artificial Intelligence is Here: Is the Sales Role Dead?

As more roles are being replaced by intelligent systems, the question arises whether AI means the death of the sales role. Martin Moran, International Managing Director for XANT, answers the question in an online interview.

This is a hot topic right now, for all professional roles: recently, the founder of investment company Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, said that almost half of the jobs in the next two decades will be replaced by artificial intelligence.

Sales Taks That Can Be Performed by AI

According to XANT research, around 25 percent of sales executive’s time is being spent on administrative tasks. These will be decisions like: who to talk to, arranging a time to speak with them, determining the best way to contact. Salespeople need to do less administration and more selling, says Martin Moran.

Those 25 percent are increasingly being relegated to Artificial Intelligence (AI), shows Martin, in an interview with “The Leap” magazine.

“In the lead cycle, we can tell a salesperson if their prospective lead is worth their time, but we can also tell them a lot more. We can give them an optimal time of day to call, and whether they are more likely to respond to a mobile or landline call or an email,” said Martin Moran.

Sales acceleration platforms can help sales reps identify which deals are most likely to close. They can show when you are more likely to close or show you the last time someone contacted a decision maker.

The Death of a Salesman

In the age of e-commerce, you might be forgiven for thinking the days of the salesperson are numbered. However, the rise of machines and smart sales systems does not mean the death of the sales role, says Martin Moran.

“There’s no truth to that at all; I’d argue the opposite. If I’m buying something low value, that’s relatively commoditized, I don’t need someone to sell it to me, I just need a frictionless e-commerce relationship.

The e-commerce relationship is going to be fully automated and will only get smarter, says Martin.

“But as you go up the stack, as sales transactions become bigger and more complex, then there will always be human intervention,” adds Martin.

How AI Helps Humans Build Relationships

AI is a great help to build an environment where a salesperson interacts with a prospect, adds Martin. Especially in a landscape where face-to-face communications is increasingly rare, AI can help the modern salesman create the context where they can refine sales their skills. Technology is there to help build an enduring relationship between human beings.

“I don’t think there’s ever going to be a total replacement of the art of selling, so to speak. People are still going to buy from people,” said Martin.

To read the full interview, click here.

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