Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Personal Selling


#1

I am trying to establish what you think the impact will be of Artificial Intelligence on Personal Selling in the future. Do you think it provides opportunities for the future or threatens it and the role of the sales person. Would love to hear your comments and thoughts.


AI (Artificial Intelligence)
#2

There is definitely place for technology and human abilities in sales. The “robots” can do the mundane repetitive work and the humans do the customizing and unique solutions which need to be designed.
The media, movies and science fiction have created a lot of hype and exaggeration as to the ability of AI, so to the layman it may seem quite daunting and threatening… but at the end of the day a robot (AI device) is only as good as its software and processing power. Admitted software (AI) can learn from data which it receives but it still cannot think outside of the box. A robot is limited to the software of a human developer or developers but the “software” involved in the human brain and body and DNA is millions of times more superior, and after all God created and designed it so obviously man cannot compete.
I personally would prefer to talk to a human than an Android/Martian/Robot… I get frustrated retrieving my own voice mail!!!
A robot can exhibit superior physical strength and endurance than a human but that context is not really sales per se.
I think for sales we want to feel special and like someone is listening to us and proving a unique solution based on our description of needs so I think the android device could tend to be rather feelingless and unemotional and sympathetic. Admittedly a robot would not strike but they could get corrupted or blow up or overheat…
I think a human being with all its quirks still rules the sales and marketing game.


#3

I think with AI we’ll get to a point where AI can sell and the need to have a human being won’t be so strong.
With enough data and enough time, it will all become real. The one big hurdle I see is intuition.
Humans have an amazing ability to use their intuition and make decisions based on small amounts of data and that is really hard to beat. An experienced salesperson can often go by their gut and, most of the time, they’ll be right.
They are also able to go the extra mile and touch in to sense how the customer is responding to the product and what is being said. Will AI really work then is my question?


#4

This is a very interesting topic as with AI there is often fear of people possibly losing jobs and taking over. I see it from 2 perspectives. Firstly in personal selling AI can be seen as a second brain for sales people giving them access to data like numbers, statistics and patterns they would otherwise not have access too. It can therefore help sales people to stand out but on the other hand with advances in technology can also lead to empowering customers more and eventually they will be able to do more business without even having to interact with humans so then where does this leave the sales person? Will AI be able to generate those feelings needed in customer service? Interesting indeed.


#5

Hi @edithcornet
This is a very interesting question and many different ways that it can be viewed. I completely see the different points that others are making of having fear of jobs being taken and AI taking over the world of selling. However, I don’t think it would ever actually threaten the role of a sales person. People in the world of sales love to have personable conversations with customers and the prospect appreciates the seller finding a solution for their problem. Emotions play an important role in sales. Using a robot for this would generate lots of technical and communication problems because every prospect can have different objectives and I don’t think the conversation would be natural enough to gain a sale. I completely agree with @PierreA, a human would still rule the field of sales and marketing regardless of the advancement of AI.


#6

Definitely an interesting topic. They are currently working on having AI diagnose medical conditions for patients over the internet. Facebook is figuring out algorithms to determine your habits So I think if an AI has enough data and over time they will have enough data I am pretty sure they will be able to close a sale.

I was always told a sale is basically a transfer of emotion and if AI can trigger those emotions I am pretty sure a sale can be accomplished. Just as I previously mentioned they would just need enough data. With big data collecting our shopping habits, collecting our internet searches and even Google tracks every move you make in the location history. I know for a fact most people don’t disable that. AI should have enough data to get sales.

Think of your closing techniques that you might use often, they are generally repetitive and that is a robots strength.

In a head to head competition is where a salesperson might have an advantage. The competitive nature in some salespeople would be hard to match. When the pressure is on sales reps get extremely resourceful and the ingenuity can be considered almost genius. The adrenaline kicks in and can get a sales reps working non-stop.

So i think in a head to head competition won’t be determined by how “smart” the AI is but how long is the robots battery life.