Blog/3 Activities in Sales That Will Become Automated Before 2020

Does the future of sales lie in automation? You’re probably wondering if that’s where we’re headed when seeing articles on robots replacing humans, or artificial intelligence coming up with new ways to automate business processes.

It’s high time to try and figure out how your job will look like in 5 years and what an innovative sales rep will be all about. Keep on reading for a list of three things that will become automated before the year 2020. What are the trends and what’s going to change in the sales process?

The future of automation

You woke up in the morning, it’s the middle of the week. You get an SMS: “Your package is here”. Yawning, you open the door. Well, it’s here indeed. What’s inside? You actually don’t know, since the self-teaching algorithm, based on your previous orders, as well as the fact that the team the jersey of which you’ve recently bought plays this Saturday, has calculated exactly what you’ll need. You haven’t even noticed that you’ve ran out of beer, and the re-up is already here. Sounds like a sci-fi flick, right?

In 2009, nearly ⅓ of the e-commerce industry in the US belonged to Amazon. Last year, the company owned by Jeff Bezos claimed 43% of transactions made in the online retail market. Amazon has not only taken over a major part but pretty much spurred the growth of e-commerce (a report by Slice Intelligence mentions 53%) that took place in the US. As of now, the company has close to 300 mln customers worldwide, with nearly 45% of US households responsible for 75% of the total American purchasing power. Do you still think that predicting purchase decisions is impossible to the point, where one can’t figure out the moment you’ll run out of beer?

Drones instead of delivery men, a shorter sales process

Not so long ago, some 40 years back, people had been watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has come to be considered one of the most profound science fictions pieces in the history of cinematography. Today, we’re watching the 1968 movie with a slight smirk caused by rather poor special effects. What used to be considered improbable – videophones, or flat, mobile displays resembling modern-day tablets, as well as multiple other elements of the future world, which Stanley Kubrick brought to life, are now our daily bread that no one gives a second thought to. Truth be told, we become irritated, when the daily reality starts bugging out.

So… how about we venture into the near future?

Pretty much all leading car brands declare they’re going to manufacture autonomous vehicles. This includes Ford, who said that before 2021 (it’s in mere 4 years!) they’re going to start producing their first car at the autonomous driving level four. Not that long ago, Apple, Uber, and Tesla have all expressed interest in this technology. Google has also launched test drives of its first self-driving cars. Taking all that into account, an off the ground city rail, drones instead of human couriers, and no cash registers at the stores don’t seem that far removed in time.

Amazon has Echo, Google has AlphaGo, and a Mac talks to you via Apple’s Siri. Artificial intelligence isn’t just starting to enter our lives – it’s already here.

It’s time to ask ourselves:

How is the future of sales shaping up?

#1 Machines, instead of sales managers, will be listening to sales reps’ calls

Among team leaders’ main tasks at call centers is the quality control of calls. An obstacle to automating communication with customers isn’t as much scalability. One simply can’t automate the listening process, and the biggest achievement so far in this regard has been speeding up listening to recordings. New speech recognition technology comes to save the day, though. The future of automation of the sales process lies in solutions like for example.

This AI-based software monitors consultants using keywords and is able to determine whether a given sentence is indicative, or a question. It recognizes the tone and pace of speech, as well as compares the number of asked questions with the length of the sales cycle. Which direction may this trend go to in the future? Voice analysis and content recognition are just a matter of time. In the future, every consultant will receive feedback from an automaton, and not from his team leader. Say, there will no longer be twelve managers for one hundred and twenty salespeople, but rather six, or three of them.

#2 Automated CRM data entry

It’s kind of a nuisance that a sales rep has to fill in the CRM data on his own, right? I guarantee you that this process will become fully automated soon.

There’s already software available, which imports data, or is integrated with email accounts. You can also get “air call” type plugins, which automate data entering, based on a phone call someone’s had. As the future unfolds, filling out a CRM system, as well as some other related tasks, will be taken over by machines. This will allow salespeople to focus solely on sales.

#3 Automating the sales processes

Recently, I mentioned supermarket cashiers in another post, which are deemed to be replaced by self-service registers before 2022. You’ve probably already heard about the Amazon Go project involving a self-service store with no human employees. Every product you put in the basket is supposed to be automatically scanned, and upon leaving the store, the customer’s card will be charged a relevant sum. Full automation.

It’s not only retail that’s going to be automated in terms of transactions. According to Harvard Business Review currently around 15-20% of the total spendings are being processed via e-platforms. It’s estimated that before the year 2020, customers are going to manage 85% of their relations with a business with no human involvement. Market leaders are already testing technologies focused on transactional processes at early stages of the buying cycle.

Sales on steroids

There are apps developed using artificial intelligence, that are already able to qualify, check and maintain customer relations. We have chatbots, talking to customers in a convincing manner. Still, in my opinion, no automation will replace a human able to create that extra value in the sales process.

This is why you shouldn’t fear the sales automation. The three things I discussed will only give you some lift on the way to boosting results. I reckon that thanks to modern day solutions, an organization will be able to become even more effective, way beyond what most sales reps and businesses that aren’t using the tech crutch will be capable of.

Technology will affect salespeople the same way steroids affect an athlete. Except it’s going to be legal.