Artificial Intelligence in Sales

Yesterday, a new CEO asked, "What if we're at the beginning of the end of sales? .... aren't computers significantly better at taking a set of complex inputs and making a recommendation? What's left to automate?"

I hear what the CEO is saying.

Remember Facemash in Social Network? Facemash creators wanted to determine who the hottest girl in school was, but instead of asking who's the hottest out of hundreds of girls, it showed two girls and asked who's hotter? then two more, etc. Do your salespeople understand the science behind that process? Can they do it?

Yesterday, I had pasta at Carole's house with her family. I 'suggested' that if she put the lid on the pot, the water would boil faster. Her husband chimed in with, "C'mon, Carole. Everybody knows that." She asked why and I answered "PV=nrT". The same thing happens when a salesperson tries to follow a sales process and their own timeline. Prospect feels the pressure and you have to take the lid off or they'll boil over. Do your salespeople understand the science behind that process? Can they handle it?

The day before yesterday I was having a conversation with a Harvard Professor and pointed out that when a patient sees a psychiatrist, the psychiatrist asks questions and the patient talks. The ultimate goal is that the patient figures out 'the truth' and is ready to do what is necessary to be healthy. Do your salespeople pitch and pressure or do they ask questions in such a way that the prospect discovers their true need and the solution? Do your salespeople understand the science behind that process? Can they do it?

I am not an advocate of salespeople using American Hustle-type tricks or tactics on their prospects, but they should understand the science behind them. So, they can apply the science in a more ethical way.

Did you see Hidden Figures? How many missions went to space before computers? Interestingly, back then, the hidden figures (people) checked the math of the computers. The hidden figures understood the science of the math that the computers eventually did better.

Robots are doing surgery. Drones are making deliveries. Self-driving cars and autopilot on planes, but are we ready for, "Alexa, I hear funny noises coming from the furnace. Please get it fixed."?

Here's what I think....

Like in Hidden Figures, only the best and the brightest of salespeople that understand the pure science as well as the applied science will be relevant.

Like in Hidden Figures, there will be a transition period that will move from resistance by buyers to a non-hman buying experience to acceptance and salespeople will need to help during that transition.

Finally, like in Hidden Figures, the best and the brightest will find the next thing.

Are your salespeople ready? Do they understand the science? Can they apply the science?

Can you or your sales managers help them be great?


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