Will Robots Replace Sales People?
Well, one thing is a given.
Soon, 50% of the day-to-day tasks for salespeople could become automated.
The advancement of technology means robots are taking up more jobs in every field and workforce. We have seen it in movies. Read about it in books and slowly but surely seeing it manifest in front of our eyes daily.
Elon Musk said it was inevitable. Stephen Hawking guaranteed it. And futurists, technologists, and economists all agree that automation is taking our jobs and disrupting every industry.
Actually, studies predict that robots and AI are likely to replace 7% of all jobs in the U.S. alone by 2025. This date draws ever closer, which is getting the human aspect of any workforce in any field worried. Automation is kicking people out of jobs, and salespeople may not be spared either. Robots are sure to replace a part of the work done by salespeople.
Technology advancement and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are guaranteed to make everything they involve a little easier. It’s easier to track relationships. It’s easier to send follow-up emails. It’s easier to capture lead data at a reasonable rate. Technology is already responsible for the sophisticated CRM Software and analytics tools that have come in handy.
"If you want to know where to make money over the next two decades, look for companies that are finding ways to automate jobs that humans are currently doing...that you wouldn't have thought previously could be done by a machine. Truck drivers are one thing, and Google and Tesla have a great head-start in disrupting that market. Still, lawyers, doctors, teachers, customer service and sales reps – some companies are turning these professions into lines of code, and they're going to make a lot of money."
-Keith Rabois of Khosla Ventures (early investor in PayPal, LinkedIn, Square, YouTube, Yammer, Palantir, Lyft, and Airbnb, among others)
It is, too, several games. By replacing the human workforce with software and AI, companies cut on their operational costs, reducing expenditure. To fully understand how automation is slowly running human resource out of the house, here is an illustration:
"Artificial intelligence will replace salespeople even faster than sensors combined with algorithms will replace drivers. Why? How? It's economics. If you look at the regulatory barriers as well as the onerous capital investment required for new vehicles or retrofits for Uber to replace all of its drivers successfully and compare that to how cheap and politically easy it will be to replace salespeople (it is one of the most reviled professions after all), it's not hard to see why I believe that 95% of current sales roles will be completely automated by 2036, and probably a lot sooner than that. Uber is aiming to replace the cost of labor in their unit economics equation. No drivers = more profits. Transportation is an important segment of the economy. Still, looking at gross numbers, the sales profession employs many more, and as individuals, many of them likely earn more than a driver. So, if I were an investor looking for a market to disrupt by automating a profession, sales look like a much better target than drivers. And alas, investors and entrepreneurs are piling into this market, as my last piece noted."
Salespeople are not just going to go out. Rather, tasks that mostly deal with repetitive, low-level cognitive functions are ripe for being automated. eCommerce platforms led the way when they eliminated the need for buyers to go through platforms. AI programs built especially for sales teams could soon eliminate salespeople's need to spend so much time prospecting and qualifying leads.
COVD19 hasn't helped much. The biggest part of the workforce worldwide has been working remotely, further heightening the need for automated systems.
A world in which human labor is given an extra boost by artificial intelligence is exactly the kind of future that Ilan Kasan, the co-founder and CEO of Exceed.ai, envisions.
In an interview with TechnologyAdvice, Ilan said, “Companies will use virtual sales assistants that leverage AI and automation to help sales teams find and secure customers faster and more efficiently by automatically contacting, engaging, qualifying, following-up with, and booking qualified leads via natural, two-way conversations over email and chat.”
The safety button that salespeople are going to press is the one that leads to continued learning. Machines can only operate with predictable tasks, but tasks needing high cognizance will still be up for grabs.
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