Artificial Intelligence and New Challenges for Salespeople

While developments in AI throw up new challenges for salespersons, learning to embrace them and preparing oneself in time can take away the bite substantially.

The advent of artificial intelligence is throwing up challenges for many sections of the industry. This is a revolution with many possibilities, but it also means that the human workforce will have to adapt smartly to extract its full potential.

One of the more obvious changes we are seeing is how robotic systems are beginning to handle many transaction services, like taking food orders at a drive-thru food outlet or handing out money at a bank ATM. Not just low-paying entry-level jobs, but even mid-level positions will see increasing presence of AI as the technology develops, especially in sales.

AI vs. Human intelligence

Does this mean that all sales workforces will be replaced by robots completely? Before answering this, let’s consider the key arguments that AI has over a human worker. One, salespersons take home salaries, which an employer saves on when working with a machine (even after considering the maintenance and programming costs). Two, automation allows customers access to services at any time – think waking up an admin guy at 3 am against switching on a robot. Three, even the most ardent opponents of AI will concede that there are some ways in which artificial intelligence scores over human intelligence. So, in a competitive world, employers are not completely unjustified in giving AI a chance.

What history teaches us?

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Consider the automobile industry as a comparison. Despite early beliefs in the role of the human element, the machine revolution of the 80s and 90s did put a large number of workers out of business. At the same time, those who learned to work the robots stayed behind. And other opportunities opened up – gas boom picked up; so did the mortgage industry – absorbing workers from the auto industry and creating new jobs too.

The way forward

Thus, the challenge for salespeople also brings up an opportunity in its wake. The future of sales is learning automation, the tech side and artificial intelligence so that you can work with the robots. And as other sectors of the industry open up, you need to keep your eyes out for them. It is all about embracing the new technology, so that instead of getting washed away by the wave, you can ride it successfully.


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