We’re already integrating with AI daily and soon 50% of the day-to-day tasks for sales people could become automated. Rather than viewing this as a threat to jobs, we should instead focus on how technology might impact our overall productivity. What’s more, there remains the other 50% of tasks that AI and robotics do not currently pose a threat to. Since it seems that robots will inevitably become more present in our lives – and our work – in the coming years, now is the time to ask ourselves how we can work with them and use them to our advantage. Here’s how:

What do we mean by robots?

Robots are designed using AI with the purpose of completing a task automatically. They use computer systems for their control and information processing. While AI may sound futuristic, it’s already fully integrated into our daily lives, being used for Google predictive searches, mobile banking, traffic updates in maps, and uber. While robots are not yet in every home, companies have been hard at work over the years designing bots that can automate every aspect of our lives. For example, Café X is an automated, robot-powered coffee bar that could potentially remove the need for baristas and coffee shops, but that’s dependant on whether they can produce a higher-quality espresso and assumes that we will choose a robot to make our coffee over a human. For many of us, the human touch will always be preferred, and this is true of sales.

How can robotics do what a salesperson does?

Ecommerce platforms have already replaced some B2C and B2B sales jobs. Evidently, AI is redesigning sales teams and automating some processes. However, while repetitive, low-level cognitive functions may be taken on by robots, the entire sales process cannot. The mundane tasks can be delegated to a robot but transferring the entire sales process to an automated system runs the risk of not supporting a flexible sales strategy. Markets change and consumer’s demands evolve with this, so salespeople must move with the trends.

AI has allowed computers to replicate 75% of our nervous system. They now outperform us in terms of information processing and memory, but the brain still has a greater capacity when it comes to creativity, emotion, empathy and consciousness. There is an emotional component to each sale that is difficult for robots to generate.

We just want to talk to a human

The key function that a robot cannot emulate is emotional intelligence, though they will try to. We are social beings and we will always desire to make connections with other humans. In fact, 55% of customers prefer to talk to a human. As technology invades more areas of our lives, and removes the need for human interaction, we begin to seek new ways to connect with people. Yes, robots can be programmed to imitate genuine conversations, but they lack the creativity to truly replace a human.

Salespeople and robots working together

If we have learnt anything from the past it is that innovation is unstoppable, and with the largest corporations funnelling money into AI and robotics, we must accept that they are a thing of the future. So how can we work with them and not against? Exceed.ai is one of the many available AI tools that can generate leads and book qualified leads. Embrace the change and you may find that an automated system will free up time spent on mundane tasks. This will allow your salespeople to focus on how to personalise their outreach to leads and improve conversion rates.

Those who aren’t flexible and continue to rely solely on their sales skills will be left behind. The technological advancement should be seen as an opportunity to boost your sales team’s morale and to challenge them to become indispensable by engaging in higher-level cognitive tasks and enrol in training courses.

So, will robots replace salespeople?

Technological advancements will inevitably create some displacement for all workers, including salespeople, as it did it in the late 80s when robots were introduced in automotive factories to assemble cars. The workers who kept their jobs were the ones who learnt to operate the robots – and so the salespeople who thrive in the future will be the ones who embrace AI and robotics now.

BMS are here to help

We want to help you build a strong sales team. With 15 specialist divisions, we can offer support for attracting and retaining top talent even in the most specific markets. Get in touch to hear how we can help you.