Think of all those dystopian sci-fi movies where the plot revolves around robots and their sense of ethics. The outcome is usually not all that good for humans. But if we forget fears of killer robots for a while, we realize that mechanical and virtual robots have already taken over our lives and improved our processes tremendously – especially when we have used them to replace human judgement with computations.
For instance, how safe would you feel driving a car without all those three-letter acronyms (ABS, ESP, ASR …)? However, among all these improvements there is one pivotal human process that has not been automated at all: B2B sales.
Automating your sales?
Think about it – sales reps face a daily struggle to get in touch with prospective customers and chase down sales leads. They take customers out for a fancy meal every year in hope of increasing sales. People in telesales deliver the same pitch a hundred times a day. What if we could boost the efficiency and effectiveness of sales with a bit of automation?
This does not mean that sales people need to be replaced by cybernetic organisms that relentlessly chase down sales prospects (picture an army of Terminators looking for Sarah Connors). Sales automation should instead be about leveraging customer data, making sales more efficient and creating more insight about sales than ever before. So instead of metal monsters, we are looking for sales robots that are efficient, scalable and can help sales people to always close the deal. But how long will we have to wait before the sales robots take over?
The big revelation is: they have been among us for some time already. They are (falsely) called “marketing automation systems”. In fact, they should be called the CRM systems of the 21st century – with robot skills included! They can infuse every phase of the customer process with automation – from marketing to sales and service.
Not convinced yet?
Here are three common sales “pain points” that robots can help to resolve:
1. Proactive sales – how can we figure out what the customer needs early on?
All sales managers agonize over spotting customer needs early enough. For the sales robot, this is a basic job. The early part of the customer journey has moved online, which is a good thing – the robot can track and rate customer behaviour. When the time is right, the robot sends the hot lead to sales.
2. Value propositions – how do we know what makes our customers tick?
Companies spend endless hours in refining their value propositions – in a vacuum. Features and benefits are neatly listed, but customer feedback is not used to iterate and improve the propositions. For the sales robot, this is just a normal testing task. Whether it’s an e-mail or product website, robots can run A/B tests and automatically deduce which product features and benefits yield the best customer response.
3. Account management – how can we handle the long tail effectively?
Almost all customer bases obey the Pareto rule – 20% of the customers bring in 80% of the revenue. Sales resources are distributed in the same manner, meaning that there’s a long tail of customers without devoted account managers. Again, work for the robot. Sales robots can execute almost all account management tasks – welcoming programs, up-selling campaigns and renewing contract, to name just a few.
If you want to know more, take a look at the Sales Robot’s briefcase here!