Generative AI Series Part Two: SalesRead time: 8 minutes
The skills that make a salesperson AMAZING right now will soon be the skills that make a salesperson… period. The rest will become the job of AI.
Last week we talked about the changes that are rapidly coming to the world of marketing thanks to the (so far) uninhibited growth of AI models. My prediction was that AI will be merely a tool for marketing, not a replacement for human talent. Unfortunately, that might not turn out to be the same for Sales.
There are a few things that people in Sales need to know right now about the progression of AI:
- The day-to-day tasks AI will take over
- Why AI efficiency means fewer salespeople
- The skillsets salespeople need to keep their jobs
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are some things that AI will likely never be able to do, and those are the things that will become even more valuable, rare, and sought-after as computer-generated-everything gradually melts into the fabric of everyday life.
But first, let’s dive into the things it CAN do (and will likely be able to do very soon).
How Generative AI is Changing Sales
Sales begins with prospecting.
Trying to find the right prospects, scoring accounts, planning territories – these are some of the most daunting and time-consuming jobs for Sales or RevOps.
I’ve had reps do so many different versions of tiering and whatnot. I’ve personally run regressions against win-loss data to figure out the signs of a customer being a good fit.
If a computer could mosey in and tell me all of this stuff – then tell me what territories I should have, how many accounts should be in them, and optimize who they should go to – it would completely change the prospecting game.
There’s an incredible amount of low-hanging fruit here that could elevate many companies simply with AI automation. Most of us are still stuck in the caveman era with things like territory planning. Hell, I’ve taught classes on how to do the Excel work for this.
Companies like Gradient Works are already well on their way to advancing AI models capable of doing all this. Their Dynamic Books tool, for example, continually matches the best available accounts with rep capacity.
Alongside that, you can add in the kind of technology that Lavender.ai is producing, which generates customized outreach messaging for you.
You can have AI leaving voicemails, because now we can generate voices through AI. You can leave voice messages on LinkedIn, connecting with a mass number of people and customizing your messages to them. Fallback.ai represents just the beginning of this kind of technology.
Suddenly, the entire ritual of prospecting is not only optimized, but automated.
Let’s add in the fact that a lot of salespeople spend very little time actually selling. They’re attending internal meetings, taking notes, updating Salesforce, etc.
There’s no reason that an AI couldn’t be built around an automated assistant for you, that listens to your conversations, monitors activities, and updates your CRM automatically.
With salespeople essentially getting their own Iron Man suits, a huge amount of their time can now be spent selling.
And this should be scary for them.
Why Generative AI Might Take Your Sales Job
Just because a salesperson is five times more efficient, doesn’t mean they’ll sell five times as much.
What I mean by this is:
- Companies will have the same amount of money
- Customers won’t be able to buy 5x as much as before
- There will still be the same amount of deals to go after
- Salespeople are just now 5x better at going after them
When one person becomes as productive as five people, in a zero-sum game, four people will likely lose their jobs.
And eventually, AI will become so integrated that it will be table stakes. The Iron Man suit will become no more special – and no less mandatory – than clothes.
The difference between having a job in sales and not having a job in sales will come down to one thing.
The Skillset You’ll Need to Work in Sales
Can you guess what it is?
Promise not to get mad if I tell you?
Promise not to get mad at yourself for not guessing?
It’s sales skills.
Your people skills, soft skills, networking, relationship building, negotiating, charm, charisma.
These are the things that used to make a salesperson great. But once technology takes over all the manual rank-and-file work of the day-to-day sales job, the only things left over will be the things a computer can’t do.
The ability to interact with humans on a real level. To read a person’s tone of voice or body language. Computers don’t have the genius, the spark, the human. (Not yet, anyway…)
You won’t be able to be a salesperson unless you have these skills in abundance.
Will Sales Managers Become Obsolete?
A lot of the time, sales management consists mostly of:
- “Did you log that opportunity?”
- “Did you follow up with Sarah?”
- “Is that contract out for Jacob?”
It takes time to follow up on deals, hound slacking salespeople, and ensure proper data entry. With AI, this can all be done automatically.
However, I don’t think this means the end of sales managers. It just means that sales managers will be able to effectively manage more people. With an AI system automating manual tasks, then feeding the sales manager lean information, the manager is able to get a more efficient view of what’s going on with their people.
By getting to the meat of the problem faster, a sales manager can spend more of their time coaching their salespeople on how to fix it. Again, the value of the role comes back to soft skills.
The AI Arms Race
Let’s say your competitor’s sales team has AI that can:
- Give them the right targets
- Find them all the data they need (even if it’s not in their CRM)
- Serve them all kinds of automation and provide 90% of the messaging for them
How are you going to compete with that?
There are tons of crappy products out there that sell better than good products – simply because we never hear about the good products. Just having a good product doesn’t mean you’ll win. Now, with AI, that’s more true than ever before.
Tech stacks are about to get more complex – they’ll need AI embedded within them while functioning at a higher level than they were expected to before. Or, they’ll be entirely torn down in favor of an all-in-one AI tooling solution.
That’s the only way we remain competitive.
And the only way to do this successfully is to have a high-performing RevOps team that understands the tech, the customer experience, and the financial needs of such a job.
If you’re curious about what that might look like for your company, we offer a 1:1 Revenue Efficiency Workshop where you can:
- Sit down with me (or another Senior Revenue Strategist) for one hour
- Answer some questions you’ve likely never been asked before
- Get a clear understanding of what’s happening in your biz
- Receive a follow-up report of prioritized actions to take
The private consultation hour plus personalized report is valued at $997.
But since it’s our favorite way to learn more about our audience, we offer it for free.
Click here to get more info.
- AI is going to make the biggest impact in Sales through optimizing and automating prospecting
- With these tasks out of the way, salespeople will have more time to actually sell
- With more efficient salespeople, but the same amount of deals to be won, we can expect companies to cut their Sales headcount
- The skills that used to make a salesperson amazing will soon be the skills needed to keep your job
- People skills such as; networking, relationship building, negotiating, etc.
- To stay competitive, going the AI arms race is mandatory
- Adapting to rapidly changing technology requires an expert RevOps team that can go beyond systems admin, to help integrate your entire organization to the new demands in your tech stack, processes, and strategies
When you’re ready, here’s how we can help:
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