Machine learning is the next big thing, proclaimed by the industry experts and it has started enabling different industries grow their revenue.
Revenue generation is typically a task considered for sales professionals, but the recent advent of tech has started sidelining the human competency in certain ways. Fearing that sales professionals are or will be over is an appalling misconception and quite dramatic. But, it's safe to say that organizations that transform their sales functions due to machine learning and AI will find themselves rising above the competition.
Machine learning tries to teach computers to learn like a human but it can never be as intelligent as us
Businesses generate and collect vast amounts of data, which is fed to machines to make them understand it by using algorithms, interpret the data and predict outcomes. There capabilities only get better, when machines get feedback about whether those predictions were right or wrong and this is yet to happen in future.
Sales professionals listen, understand and react
There's a personal side to selling that machines will never be able to replace. Humans and exemplary sales professionals in particular, are uniquely suited to listen, convince, negotiate and empathize as well as explore and answer the very critical question of "Why is this best product or service for me?"
However, machine learning is limited to contribute to successful sales initiatives and such initiatives will only continue to grow in importance with time.
Sales Proffesional and ML work together
There are many ways that companies can use machine learning in their sales process. Some possibilities could be:
Interpret customer data:
Machine learning helps make sense of the data we collect about our customers. Excel is getting redundant with newer technologies and many organizations have already put ML systems in place and spent resources to gather and store customer data. It's the machine learning that will now help us make effective use of that data in ways that relying on humans alone could not.
Improve sales forecasting:
When data is gathered on a prospect (company size, stakeholders, solutions they want), then through machine learning it can be compared to the historical sales efforts and better & effective solutions can be predicted along with the likelihood of the deal closing and how long it will take. This insight helps sales management better allocate resources and predict sales projections.
Predict customer needs:
Business success relies on how well we provide what our customers need. Machine learning can improve how responsive and proactive we are to anticipate the needs of our customers. The better we are in sales at addressing our clients' needs before they get escalated and at suggesting a solution that could help make their life better and easier, the stronger our relationship will be. Machines won't forget to follow-up or be too busy to proactively share solutions.
Efficient transactional sales:
According to Harvard Business Review, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interactions with an organization without interacting with a human. Having machines step in to handle certain sales efforts quickly and effectively can free up the human sales force to focus on the relationship.
Machine learning will only help process the data and identify opportunities for sales personnel to act upon along with taking care of transactional sales to free up the human sales force to build relationships and nurture their leads in ways only humans can. By taking care of mundane tasks for sales staff, machines clear the way for the sales process to be better and more effective.
Machines are there to stay and so will be sales professionals.
Source: HOB Team