In the past decade, artificial intelligence has taken some amazing strides. This technology has been successfully implemented in a wide variety of use cases. Yet, it still gets a bad rap—many people hear the term “AI” and immediately think of HAL, the computer that couldn’t be controlled by its human users in the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Another common fear regarding AI is that computers are going to steal jobs. As AI makes inroads into sales and marketing, those fears grow. However, salespeople should stop worrying—AI isn’t going to take away their jobs. Instead, it will help them work more efficiently and effectively. Read on to learn how AI helps, rather than harms, salespeople.
How Vulnerable Are Salespeople’s Jobs, Exactly?
In order to understand that AI doesn’t threaten salespeople’s jobs, it helps to understand why salespeople aren’t in danger of being replaced anytime soon.
Researchers from Oxford University addressed this myth in a 2013 paper entitled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?” The study’s authors note that insurance sales agents have a 92 percent chance of having their jobs becoming completely automated. Sales managers, on the other hand, only face a 1.3 percent chance of the same thing.
Why Are Salespeople’s Jobs Safe?
The risk to salespeople is low because of the nature of sales. Sales is a field that relies on the human touch. It requires emotional intelligence, creative problem-solving skills, and the ability to inspire trust in and build rapport with the customer.
It’s the need for the human touch that led Forrester to predict a 10 percent growth in sales consultant roles by 2020. However, although salespeople are not going anywhere anytime soon, that doesn’t mean they don’t need a bit of help doing their jobs.
How Can AI Improve the Way Salespeople Do Their Jobs?
Instead of replacing sales jobs, AI (especially conversational AI tools like Conversica) fill in the gaps in a company’s current sales workflow.
One such gap is the inability to connect with the right customers. There are so many leads to follow up with, and salespeople don’t know which leads will pan out and which won’t. As a result, salespeople wind up wasting their time chasing down people they think are potential customers, only to discover that they’re not. That approach costs money. Research shows that because companies don’t know which leads are the right ones, they often don’t connect with the right leads—one in three companies failed to respond or follow up with hot leads.
Here’s how AI can fill that gap: a conversational AI solution can dynamically generate messages based on the lead’s response. Each interaction is personalized and relevant to the lead’s needs. This saves salespeople time and hassle. The solution can be programmed to follow up a set number of times if the lead doesn’t respond—after that, the system won’t contact that person again.
It might sound as though a conversational AI solution would steal jobs, given that it can efficiently and effectively connect with customers. But that’s not the case at all—a conversational AI solution will turn the lead over to a live salesperson when the lead is ready to have a phone or in-person conversation. At that point, the lead is much further along the path to becoming a real customer, which makes the salesperson’s job easier.
Essentially, conversational AI closes a leaky sales funnel in an efficient, cost-effective manner. You never have to wonder if you’re pursuing the best leads because you have a round-the-clock tool at your disposal. Conversational AI solutions never take breaks or vacations. Moreover, you can adjust the messaging so it sounds like it’s coming from a human being, not a computer.
Conversica’s virtual sales assistant is so convincing, people don’t know that they’re corresponding with a machine. In fact, the virtual sales assistant has gotten asked out on dates!
Sales jobs aren’t in danger of disappearing because of AI—solutions such as conversational AI will make salespeople work better. To see Conversica’s conversational AI solution in action, click here for a live demo.