Why chatbots will replace humans in sales
Recently I published a quite provocative article. I put forward an idea that chatbots will replace sales reps. The first comment I got was:
“Not sure … people do prefer talking to people :) bots will speak with bots and sell to them:)”
My answer is: Changes may occur much faster that we expect.
Robots will become better sellers because of 3 facts.
1. Availability. Robots are available 24/7, they are hard workers, they are not lazy nor shy. They don’t hesitate to follow up and ask.
2. Scalability. Your best salesman is a god. But are others as good? How many deals he or she can handle? What if he or she decides to leave the company? Robots can communicate with thousands of customers at the same time with the same quality.
3. Learnability. It takes months to years to train a good salesman. Robots can update their scripts at the speed of light. They can A/B test and validate scripts that work and improve their performance within hours. Of course, you still have to have an expert salesman to create scripts and teach your robots. This process takes time. But it takes less than teaching humans.
You already buy books on Amazon from a robot. Because robot can offer you better recommendations than a human librarian. Amazon knows everything about millions of books, knows how people rate them, knows everything about recently published issues. Of course, robot is a better bookseller.
How about other areas?
Ecommerce shows us how robots can beat humans in B2C sales. There is no problem with online shopping at all. You have a need, you google a product, you follow a search results and get to an ecommerce website, and you buy it online. Ho human interaction involved.
Okay, you might ask me about B2B sales, where sales reps are still in place. And I will tell you: that is not going to last forever.
B2B sales involve Solution selling approach and are more complex because of the 3 factors.
1. B2B sale is long and expensive. Usually, expensive deals require some time to get closed. There are several decision makers, everyone’s approval is required. The salesman is someone who keeps this focus, talks to everyone, explains and educates.
2. B2B sale requires a driver. In B2B every purchase changes a corporate ecosystem somehow. New business processes appear. Someone gets new responsibilities. This change requires an effort. And salesman is one of those who puts energy to drive the sale.
3. B2B products require customization. Someone needs to know the product and design how it becomes a part of a corporate ecosystem. Someone needs to implement changes and conduct trainings.
Advicetising is the new solution selling. The factors above are not something Artificial intelligence cannot handle. Advicetising is about giving advice with smart robots. With this approach robots can detect needs, barriers, doubts that customers have and give relevant advice.
Just think for a moment. When you receive a follow up email or a LinkedIn message from a smiling man in a suit — do you still believe this message is not a script sent by a robot?
Advicetising is emerging and it could take some years to create knowledge bases that can reproduce human knowledge. But changes may occur much faster than we expect.