Person-in-the-Loop AI… where Value Lives
Hmmm… lots of talk about AI and automation removing people from the process. Not much about using AI to improve productivity when people still have jobs… Important, customer-facing ones that require a human touch to be done well or at all.
What, When, Why and How… Are Untested Hypotheses
It’s different to automate a known task that is already worth doing vs. figuring out how to perform a task, how to make it more efficient… and if that task is even worth doing compared to others that could be done. Time is scarce when people are involved.
Today big assumptions (guesses) go into deciding if something is worth doing and how/when to do it. Those should be questioned… analyzed as unproven hypotheses… because there is tremendous upside in smarter time allocation and execution efficacy… that today is not analyzed in a modern way.
For example, today’s sales tools mostly provide mail merge automation and click-to-dial. That’s execution automation. Cadences, email templates… it’s marketing automation for DIY marketers with sales titles. And placing a call faster is not innovative. These are commodity capabilities and over-automation is degrading the sales profession… even making it less productive due to spam backlash.
Conversely, most value in sales… 99%… is created by people interacting with prospects and customers, and there is very little technology to help people decide… figure out… what to do, when, why and how.
How many account executives and relationship managers use email automation tools like SalesLoft and Outreach? (They don’t.) People don’t send people they know templated emails. They send personal emails because they have a relationship already.
AI to Help People Engage Other People
But those AEs… don’t have much tech to help them manage their relationship portfolios. In CRM products… manual task reminders are literally from the 90’s. Or AEs don’t use CRM at all, or only begrudgingly, because they get no value from it to manage their time (besides to register already-won deals and get paid) and instead use email, calendars, spreadsheets, whiteboards… Lo-tech/No-tech.
That’s where the white space, high ROI opportunity is… in providing very valuable, experienced salespeople who build relationships and close deals with flexible, AI-based, automated decision support to increase their productivity.
What is it worth to make a $1M-$10M quota-carrying salesperson 10% – 100% more productive? Bingo. A ton… way more than the $50 – $100/month that sales tools providers charge. That’s less than a cell phone or cable bill…. because those tools don’t add much value. They just ignore the real problem, which is ensuring that the company’s most valuable team allocates its precious time to its most precious asset, its existing customers and potential for growth, more intelligently, in alignment with the GTM strategy.
If you see this mismatch of sales tech to real challenges/opportunities to improve sales and sales management productivity, I’d love to hear your perspective.