Salespeople Will Never Have to Write Another Email, Blog Post, LinkedIn Update or Tweet Again
By Bryan Colyer
I have been selling for 25 years. And over those 25 years I’ve sold education, paint, and software. I have sold for small companies and large companies and no matter where I have been there has always been one consistent problem. I spend an awful lot of my day searching for and creating content.
What really surprised me was having this problem after our small software company was acquired by a large software company. I figured there is no way they won’t have it together. Not the case, same problem. Can’t find the content I needed for a customer so I created my own.
This isn’t just my problem; it’s a nationwide epidemic, and it’s been going on for years. I have read several studies published recently by Docurated, IDC, CMO Council, and others that report 30–40% of the average salesperson’s day is spent looking for or creating content. To put into context, there are a little over 5 million inside and outside sales reps in the U.S. who are wasting 150 million hours a month. It’s unbelievable.
This is a huge problem, and I believe the two words to reverse this trend are technology and content. I went searching for an answer. Is there a solution from companies in the sales enablement or sales acceleration space?
The answer is, partly. There are some companies that have solutions in making it easier to find content, but nowhere in my research did I find a company that simply writes the content for me. The discovery part is hard enough, but writing content that inspires customers to buy our products and services? Now that is a challenge. I can see a blank Word doc staring at me now. We need help.
So I kept searching and couldn’t find a company in the sales industry — but I did find the solution in sports. The Associated Press will generate thousands of game stories this spring using natural language generation and data from the NCAA. The company providing this for the AP is Automated Insights, a Durham, N.C.-based company. Automated Insights also generates Fantasy Football narratives for Yahoo players after weekly match-ups. It was fascinating to read the stories about taking a box score and raw game data and creating a story. And get this: you can’t necessarily tell whether it was an AP writer or a robot.
When can I hire a robot to write my emails and LinkedIn posts? Turns out we’re close. There is a lot of interesting technical work, mostly in academia, that dates back to decades ago when scientists started experimenting, but it’s not really understood in the business community today. I found a dozen or so companies in the space that were all relatively young and well-funded.
In short, the future is promising. I think there will be some really exciting applications using natural language generation — and we can definitely leverage this technology in sales. I think to really understand a technology you must build something. I am going to grab some software tools and start coding. I’ll keep you posted.
Bryan Colyer has been consulting athletes, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 executives for 25 years. He is the founder ofFastaSales, helping sales teams create stories that inspire their customer to buy their products and services.