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By Dominic Cummins 

Each amplifying the hype for the other, developments in Smart systems, Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, and robotics are sparking excitement, fear, and many worried questions in the sales profession.

Especially in industries supposedly under threat from these new technologies of tomorrow, such as sales and marketing who rely already so heavily on technology to optimize reach and monitoring of existing and/or potential client groups.

Sales industry experts, such as the renowned Entrepreneur David Cancel, argue some very valuable points on this topic. Most notably, that human error in sales is a major reason why so many closing percentages are, well… pretty abysmal. Compound this reality with the fact that for the last 60 years salespeople have been using the same basic sales process that focuses entirely on “closing a sale” rather than meeting a prospects needs and you see plummeting closing percentages, and buyers that want to interact less and less with salespeople. Enter the robots.

Like, as if competing against each other in Sales and Marketing wasn’t already hard enough – now we’ve got to battle it out with the robots too?!

Before we go getting all Will Smith in iRobot though, lets first ask ourselves – how can we be proactive about this? What skills do we each individually already possess that machines don’t?

You know, apart from the obvious abilities like being able to fall in love. Or that, despite possessing logic and a supposed higher level of consciousness, we are the only living being to continually and very enthusiastically poison ourselves with alcohol for entertainment. Then again, watching your dog tip back a beer would be disturbing. I digress.

In my opinion though, the idea that technology is the cure to human error feels a little ignorant of the fact that only through this perceived ‘abomination’ that is human error can we tap into miraculous abilities such as the creative process. In other words, being human is exactly what we need to defeat the robots…or at least keep them in their place.

Despite all the panic triggers we experience when reading about these industry developments – like Forrester’s article titled ‘The Death of a B2B salesman’.

We need to stop viewing the digitalization of the sales and marketing branches as some kind of attack on humanity.

As I discussed in one of my recent Mashups, the introduction of Smart technologies is absolutely hitting the Sales and Marketing industry where it hurts. Rendering both powerless, however? I think that is an overreach.

I think the first step to managing these industry disruptions is to begin with a change in perspective.  Seeing it instead as a fantastic opportunity to re-align and sharpen our abilities to communicate and pitch by utilizing our greatest and most often forgotten strength; our humanness.

Man vs. Machine.

Communicating, and communicating well is both an art form and real science that most of us humans still struggle with daily.

I mean, people not being able to communicate well with each other is the reason why I have a job!

Heck! It’s the whole reason you’re reading this jumble of words right now! Well, that and the high-quality humor, of course.

Technology and data open many new and exciting ways to understanding the mystery that is people’s buying decisions.

However, technology being able to understand this highly impulsive, illogical set of events and master it to a better degree than a human?

Still a thing of fiction, people!

The way the human mind works, especially in such an emotionally triggering process like decision-making, cannot be summarized and plugged in as algorithm.

It’s all your fault…

Communicating on a real human level is a soft skill that no machine, at least for the foreseeable future, can master, according the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs’ report.

Entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Sales and Marketing Professionals were of the minority of stable industries expected to not only survive but to actually benefit and grow from this fundamental transformation, according the report.

Let’s focus on that little mention of ‘expected’ in the previous sentence though.

Expectations are no rock-solid assurance that things can’t still go Titanic on us Sales and Marketing Professionals, and the irony of it is that it might just be our own fault.

With 60 percent of us apparently having an insufficient knowledge of the disruptive changes taking place. Our own inability to be proactive about the situation at hand may very well be our own undoing.

And we are back to panicking…

How to be Human

I know how daunting the future can look, and I also know that the ‘every man for himself’ approach will not make adjusting to these industry disruptions any easier.

At RightMind, we teach humans how to sell to humans.

Let me help you tap into your innate humanness… And we can fight the robots together.

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