In a world where automation is the new competitive advantage for firms wanting to reduce their costs, how at-risk are salespeople? The world is in an information age where customers making purchases can have information at their fingertips on most products, whether that's features, reviews, feedback, recommendations, blogs, social media feedback — and the list goes on.
Can the combination of AI and marketing really impact sales roles where the in-store rep would normally step in to sell a product or a service? My thoughts are: it depends. The dependency is on the complexity of the product or service and the number of competitors. The state of automation across the board is mixed. A McKinsey study cited by Harvard Business Review shows that 30% of sales activities can benefit from automation, but due to a number of reasons, only 50% of respondents using automation saw project success.
Complex sales with long sales cycles, will, in my opinion, always need salespeople. People value relationships and it can take a long period of time to fully comprehend services such as software solutions that require explanations from an expert in their field.