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Highly-skilled B2B salespeople operating in complex selling environments aren’t going to be replaced by robots any time soon, but the job will inevitably change in many ways.
Here’s how B2B salespeople can start preparing now to succeed in a world where AI will affect every aspect of the workplace.
As each year passes, the fear that AI and automation will displace human workers becomes more real.
If you are a B2B salesperson that is afraid of being replaced in the near future by a robot, your fears aren’t entirely unfounded. Here’s the bad news:
B2B salespeople must understand how these changes will affect their role and prepare in advance so they can thrive in a future powered by artificial intelligence.
It’s safe to say that if your day-to-day responsibilities include lots of repetitive tasks, such as data entry, answering basic questions, scheduling meetings, taking orders, or qualifying leads, you should probably be worried.
According to research by McKinsey Global Institute, these are all tasks that can already be automated.
Forrester's report, "Death of a (B2B) Salesman" identified 3 kinds of salespeople that are most likely to be replaced by AI and automation in the near future:
This leaves one type of salesperson standing:
Here are the 4 steps we recommend taking in order to ensure you are in the minority of B2B salespeople who take advantage of these rapid changes to achieve long-term success.
There’s a mountain of data out there just waiting for you to collect and harness to conduct smarter outreach, retain your most important customers, and close more deals.
Artificial Intelligence allows you to quickly sift through all of this data and derive valuable insights that can help you better understand your customers and serve them in exactly the ways they most desire.
A Consultant doesn’t just ask the right questions, they also have a wide base of knowledge they can draw from to not help customers make the right buying decisions, and also assist them in navigating all of the complex challenges throughout the buying process, and beyond.
As a Consultant, you should constantly be looking for new tools you can use to gain deeper insights on your customers and automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks so you can spend more time actually selling. These tools include:
It’s more important than ever for B2B salespeople to seek out positions that demand the kinds of complex cognitive abilities and emotional skills that AI cannot replicate.
Commit yourself to lifelong learning, be quick to adopt useful, new tools, and continue cultivating the customer relationships that are vital to your company’s success, and you’ll never have to worry about being replaced by a robot.