How Will AI Affect the Role of the Salesperson in Business?

 Five ways it could it have an effect by culture.

 

As a salesperson in the mid 1980’s in the automobile business there was great fear first that Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and Consumer Reports were going to provide the consumers with  too much information, and the advent of every business owner having a fax machine was going to completely change the competitive environment for price.

Although this now sounds like a history lesson, each time technological change in communications has happened, so have industries and their salespeople. It is also interesting to note that the internet has been moving along strongly for 20+ years and yet still considered to be in its infancy, and I would completely agree.

The newest conversation in technology around sales is how AI or Artificial intelligence will make a change to how we work as sales professionals, and more importantly how we will sell more of our products. It is part of my conversations with sales organizations all over the Americas.

As we have learned with internet selling, the combination of more technology at the customer’s finger tips will once again cause sales organizations and people to adapt.

Artificial Intelligence has provided amazing improvements in helping the consumer find anything in the world and help influence consumers based on online conversations, searches, and activities on Social Media. AI has helped the business world in making online marketing decisions with greater precision, and has helped logistics in having the right inventory, ready for delivery, and delivered fast.

The argument being presented however is AI will soon be replacing the salesperson in communicating directly with customers, and the role of a salesperson will completely be eliminated. I caution business owners and sales organization in believing this is feasible anytime soon.

Here are five areas to be careful in considering having AI replace the work of human beings:

1. Dangers of AI for ALL cultures

Presenting the solution in Spanish for many of my clients in Latin America has been a mess.

Message boxes are presented in English and responses are often done in English as well. Then if it does respond in Spanish there are different words used for the exact same item.

I have found 6 different words in Spanish for the “trunk” of a car and 3 in English, and we are just talking about a specific word, imagine the possibilities in how things are said in a sentence.

2. The danger is having too much confidence on AI to replace human interactions.

Recently I went online to shop for an item within a consumer website and when the chat room popped up, I engaged.

Soon I discovered I was speaking to a machine and not a human being and because of the work we do in internet selling I chose to stay engaged until a person became part of the conversation. After a frustrating 11 minutes of conversation with 30 and 60 second delays in responding, AI continued to want me to proceed to move forward based on the process it wanted me to, while I continued to ask a question for which I wanted to get answered.

When I would not comply with the algorithm that was obviously set up in AI, the chat then hung up on me. The irony in what I was trying to get the answer to information, I later discovered was at the bottom of the homepage of the website.

3.  When AI could help

Using AI analytics will allow business to be much more precise in making marketing decisions, in their marketing strategies, and it will help reduce costs.

What it won’t do as well as a human being is help in responding precisely to clients and potential clients within your social media.

Next page: Numbers 4 and 5