As founders we're all constantly selling and being sold to. I've read tonnes lately on how AI is the future of sales. I've also used some awesome apps like Charlie to get insights on people I'm meeting beforehand.
I've always believed sales was about relationship building. And that people want to buy from people they like, not companies whose products have the most features. So this article by the guys at Predictable Revenue really resonated with me. It talks about how creativity and connection are becoming more important to salespeople looking to differentiate themselves and their products, to stand out from competitors.
I'd love to hear what this community thinks about the future of sales and the current direction you're all actively driving your teams right now.
Maybe if the future of the world is that AI runs everything, AI will be the future of sales. Unless or until AI passes the Turing test, I think that humans will prefer to deal with humans. We don't like phone trees, we don't like chat bots, we don't like canned responses, and I can't imagine working with an AI bot on an investment-heavy, business-critical decision.
I can only see the value of relationships becoming more important in sales.
That being said, there is a great deal of potential for technology to help sales find and qualify leads faster and to make it easier for customers find better solutions to their problems.
Sales has been an inevitable part of every voyage. I am noticing even artists are trying their best to increase sales of their work. We have witnessed globalization. Future of sales is hidden in data analysis. How quickly we can mine data and reach the prospect is now a question and will be a question to addressed in near future. Trend analytics, machine learning and predictive analytics will improve however, the basics of sales will remain same.
Nowadays when we talk sales it is automatically related to Artificial Intelligence. Like some of my peers I think that sales will always be about a human relation. The way that sales is done will change. Sales team will have more and more data about their clients. Not only professional data but also personnel ones. Sales will be more personalized, more tailor-made and more focused on client behavior and sentiment.
I've sold a couple of things and one thing I can confirm is the ability to connect with your buyers. You need to listen to them - what they want, what challenges are they facing - and creatively come up with a solution to cater to each buyer. I've sold million dollars worth of property and it took me approximately 4 days to close this deal. Main reason: I developed a relationship with them. They would call me the night before and request for a meeting on a weekend, and i'd still meet them. After which, I offered to take them out for a nice breakfast. Building the buyer's trust in you is crucial - and the only way to do that - build relationship. Be genuine.
The near and the far future of sales will always be humans, yes, humans.
The sales intelligence for contextual prospect engagement used by the sales person at the different phases of the selling process will be delivered by bots that mine data from the website, CRM, help desk and Ad/ email campaign platforms. For example the bots will have the ability like,
1) This is the best time of the day to call the prospect.
2) Sentiment analysis on how likely a prospect will convert into a customer based on his / her conversations with the sales person.
3) Identifying trigger words for a pitch that will resonate well with the prospects.
The opportunities are endless with AI and any technology that fuels sales intelligence will be a force to reckon.
The higher the investment, the longer the sales cycle, the bigger the decision making committe, the more senior and seasoned sales person you need. Robots can sell coffee and book you into a hotel. Only a fool will gamble their company and career on a programmed AI answering machine. :)
I agree with you. Sales will always be about relationship and trust. No matter what AI or Technological Advances will be to replace it, Relationship Selling will always be at the forefront. Better yet , we can use technology to deepen and widen our relationship with clients across borders and geographical boundaries.
As indicated by others, I also feel the basics of sales process will remain the same. But I am witnessing real transition in terms of lead generation process.
As a growing start-up, we are generating real time leads from news sources and networking sites. Trust me, it is giving rich dividends. The traditional methods are fading away. Again this depends on the industry and offerings.
I also find some of the bigger companies tracking prospects based on your online activity enabling them to target at the right time.
The startup I've founded is specifically building in this particular space and I agree whole heartedly with many of the responses here. AI will help to provide insights, spot trends more quickly, and automate very specific tasks in the sale cycle.
However, their is a human aspect of establishing trust, empathy for problems our customers are trying to solve, and most importantly building relationships. These are things that are hard for any ai based approach to replicate.