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What the job of a B2B Salesperson will look like in the year 2030

23 June 2020 Amy Green Uncategorized

Without these critical skills, B2B Salespeople are at risk of being replaced by AI

Highly-skilled B2B salespeople operating in complex selling environments aren’t going to be replaced by robots any time soon, but the job will inevitably change in many ways.

Here’s how B2B salespeople can start preparing now to succeed in a world where AI will affect every aspect of the workplace.

AI trends every B2B salesperson should be aware of

As each year passes, the fear that AI and automation will displace human workers becomes more real.

If you are a B2B salesperson that is afraid of being replaced in the near future by a robot, your fears aren’t entirely unfounded. Here’s the bad news:

  • One McKinsey study found that by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost worldwide to automation.
  • A recent study by McKinsey found that more than 50% of the day-to-day tasks performed in sales positions could be automated using already-existing technology.
  • Within 10 years, as much as 80% of the sales situations currently handled by salespeople will be handled automatically, according to Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power magazine.

B2B salespeople must understand how these changes will affect their role and prepare in advance so they can thrive in a future powered by artificial intelligence.

The last salesperson standing

It’s safe to say that if your day-to-day responsibilities include lots of repetitive tasks, such as data entry, answering basic questions, scheduling meetings, taking orders, or qualifying leads, you should probably be worried.

According to research by McKinsey Global Institute, these are all tasks that can already be automated.

Forrester’s report, “Death of a (B2B) Salesman” identified 3 kinds of salespeople that are most likely to be replaced by AI and automation in the near future:

  • Order Takers: Salespeople who sell a simple product in a simple selling environment. The product is easy to understand, and the buyer can navigate stakeholders and budgets on their own. 
  • Navigators: Salespeople who sell a simple product in a complex selling environment, where various stakeholders and budgetary requirements must be considered.
  • Explainers: Salespeople who must explain how a complex product works in a simple selling environment where the buyer can navigate stakeholders and budgets on their own.

sales-for-life
Source: SalesForLife.com

This leaves one type of salesperson standing:

  • Consultants sell a complex product in a complex selling environment. Buyers look to the Consultant for assistance during every stage of the buying process. Not only are Consultant jobs safe from the threat of AI and automation, but Forrester predicts a 10% growth rate in Consultant roles by 2020.

4 steps to futureproof your B2B sales career as a Consultant

Here are the 4 steps we recommend taking in order to ensure you are in the minority of B2B salespeople who take advantage of these rapid changes to achieve long-term success.

1. Leverage data to better understand what customers want

There’s a mountain of data out there just waiting for you to collect and harness to conduct smarter outreach, retain your most important customers, and close more deals.

Artificial Intelligence allows you to quickly sift through all of this data and derive valuable insights that can help you better understand your customers and serve them in exactly the ways they most desire.

2. Become an expert to better serve and educate your customers

A Consultant doesn’t just ask the right questions, they also have a wide base of knowledge they can draw from to not help customers make the right buying decisions, and also assist them in navigating all of the complex challenges throughout the buying process, and beyond.

3. Take advantage of new technology

As a Consultant, you should constantly be looking for new tools you can use to gain deeper insights on your customers and automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks so you can spend more time actually selling. These tools include:

  • SalesForce Automation (SFA) tools, which have become extremely helpful at automatically handling all kinds of mundane, tedious administrative tasks. ZynBit, for example, is an SFA tool that works transparently in the background to automatically record and track all sales activity data, freeing you up to focus on more important sales activities.
  • AI tools such as Salesforce Einstein that allow you to engage with customers more effectively by giving you suggestions on when to reach out to each customer, on which channels they prefer (phone, email, text, video chat, etc.), and which products will resonate with them the most.
  • Predictive analytics tools such as Clari that can use AI-powered algorithms to relate your current transactional and customer interaction data (emails, meetings, phone calls, etc.) to actual sales outcomes in order to predict future revenue to an extremely high degree of accuracy.

4. Be human

It’s more important than ever for B2B salespeople to seek out positions that demand the kinds of complex cognitive abilities and emotional skills that AI cannot replicate. 

Commit yourself to lifelong learning, be quick to adopt useful, new tools, and continue cultivating the customer relationships that are vital to your company’s success, and you’ll never have to worry about being replaced by a robot.

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