Is AI The End of Professional Sales?

Is AI The End of Professional Sales? cover

If you follow the current hype, many speculate that generative AI (e.g. chatGPT or Google Bard) could signal the demise of many roles held by real people – including professional sales leaders and their teams. …But will it? Here’s a brief overview of why we think the answer is: No. AI will not end professional sales. Rather, it is an evolutionary step forward with material impact on sales productivity.

Let’s level-set on generative AI technology, using ChatGPT for illustration purposes. ChatGPT generates answers, often in bullets and/or long form, to questions asked by users. To produce these answers or essays, it needs “knowledge” which it quickly collates because it is pre-trained to use a very large database. In this case – the contents of the entire Internet.

Reflecting on the importance of good content and our desire to both create it and consume it, at no time has the concept of “garbage in, garbage out” been more important. All generative AI systems and content sound authoritative, but they also proactively warn of the possibility of producing wrong answers, and they actively discourage using the results for medical or legal advice. Clearly then, there is still a role for humans for the foreseeable future.

When it comes to the profession of Sales, it involves highly personalized processes that demand customized insights, intuition and judgement. It requires clear, relevant communication. The truism that “people buy from people they trust” remains unchanged with the advent of – and access to – AI technology.

While AI cannot read the room as would a seasoned rep, it can offer spectacular benefits to salespeople. In particular, it is really good at increasing productivity by automating routine tasks. Time saved that can now be used for more prospecting, more qualifying, and closing more deals.

Consider an example: a sales rep sits down to research a prospect in an unfamiliar industry. The process of searching the web, scanning websites, sifting through search details, formulating qualifying questions and drafting an email could easily take a couple hours. With ChatGPT, it might take less than thirty minutes, including the time needed to sanity check the proposed AI results. …Leaving more time for selling!

The speed at which sales teams will begin to adopt and leverage the power of AI for better sales results will depend largely on how well it is integrated into existing and familiar sales systems. As explained by Alex Ackermans, VP Engineering at Maximizer, “For all of our research into how our customers can best leverage AI for better sales outcomes, we've made sure that AI is embedded into the CRM features and functions that they are already used to. It is simply a productivity enhancement versus an entirely new platform to be learned.”

Inevitably, companies will adopt AI and fully incorporate it into their sales processes and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms. While AI can never fully replace a human relationship, sensible AI deployment will categorically enhance the success of professional sales teams by increasing their efficiency and productivity.

Read more about Maximizer’s Sales Leader Edition – a CRM platform built for sales leaders, finally!

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