“Automation First” seems to be the order of the day and very slowly moving to an era of “AI First”. As technologies are maturing with the increase in adoption of automation, Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive technologies, and artificial intelligence, the whole mechanism of the sales process has to mature. Just as automation has brought about a revolution across industries, it is only natural that automation is now influencing many other areas like sales and marketing.
Many of us might have watched the film Jerry Maguire, where a lone sports agent does anything it takes to win his clients’ confidence. What’s going to happen to this approach to selling in an automated world? We understand the value and the importance of human-to-human relationships – “the Jerry Maguire way” with clients will only take center stage as the sales strategies move from hunting and farming towards more of orchestration from the outside. With access to huge volumes of data and insights, companies expect high customer focused value propositions, as customer experience is clearly a top priority. While machines increasingly take over many tasks, they haven’t or cannot really replace humans. There is an increasing shift in value creation at higher levels where human intervention and expertise is a must to solve more complex customer problems.
Sales force automation systems are becoming popular, but with a view to equip and empower sales personnel. They can now be armed with more real-time customer insights to take on a wider range of duties with a delightful customer experience in mind. This also means that sales and marketing engines will have to evolve new innovative models, which start with a significant cultural change as well. While sales personnel become curators of their client portfolios, a strong executive support with fewer layers of control but increased enablement with automation tools is essential.
With data and machines ruling customer decisions, the softer aspects of emotional intelligence is what will boost the psychological aspects of sales and is unmatched by artificial intelligence. The recent years have seen a drastic move towards the importance of social skills from cognitive. With vast information and insights handy, the key is not just about achieving efficiency with automation, but to hone the ability of collaboration between humans and machines on the same plane. Jerry Maquire 2.0 will be about partnering with machines and showing genuine human empathy.