Artificial intelligence is all around us; from the self-service checkout at our local supermarket, to the smartphones we spend so much of our day looking at. AI plays an important part in our day to day lives and we have become so used to it, we often don’t even realise we are using it. AI is a computer system which takes over tasks which humans would usually undertake. It makes our life easier, better and is something we’ve grown to heavily rely on. You turn on Netflix and you have viewing recommendations based on your viewing history or you receive an alert from your bank from the fraud department to check some transactions – these are all forms of AI and they are highly beneficial in our day to day lives.
AI in the Workplace
Artificial intelligence is not particularly new, but it has become more commonplace in the workplace. There have been many articles about the potential effects of AI in the workplace and these are usually focused on the negative effects, i.e. the loss of jobs. AI should not be viewed as a negative. It is not there to take over, it is there for support. If you think about self service checkouts in your local supermarket.; they are not there to take over jobs, but to support sales assistants. They allow customers with small amounts of shopping to get served quickly, while keeping queues down for sales assistants. AI in this environment, can take a lot of stress off the shoulders of workers. The use of AI is only set to increase, especially throughout the sales industry.
The Sales Industry
The sales industry is one where the use of AI is increasing and although there may be the fear of jobs being lost as a result, it is highly unlikely to be the case. In fact, AI has the potential to create jobs. PwC spoke about the potential benefits of AI in the workplace. Although there could be 7 million jobs lost between 2017-2037, 7.2 million may be created, which is a total increase of 200,000 jobs.
Sales professionals often have low level, frequently repeated admin tasks which take up a lot of time and this is where AI can step in. AI can analyse data, help sales professionals to prioritise leads and offer the best recommendations to customers.
AI can give sales professionals the information they need to identify discounts to offer customers, using clever algorithms. It can also help with the forecasting of sales and managing performance. Using AI, managers can focus on sales training programs, rather than the day to day monitoring of tasks, which tends to take up most of their time. This can make sales professionals much more effective.
AI Creating Jobs
AI in the sales profession can help to create jobs in many ways. As the menial tasks are taken care of by AI, the door is open for sales professionals to enhance their sales skills. Sales is fundamentally about a relationship between humans and it relies on this contact. The ability to empathise with the customer, offer solutions and create a rapport are never going to be replaced by AI.
AI can’t replicate the human relationship, but it can allow for more focus on sales prospecting, rather than administration tasks or data analysis. People want to talk to people and the only way to build any real relationships is having the time to speak to customers and go through the numbers.
The more efficient and successful the sales team become, the more demand there is for further workers, which is why AI can be key to the creation of jobs within the sales sector. The focus can go on sales skills training, which will make sales professionals more efficient.
In order to make the relationship between AI and sales professionals as effective as possible, sales professionals need to be willing to embrace technology. AI should be viewed as a support mechanism and should be welcomed with open arms. Sales professional can focus on perfecting their sales skills, rather than data analysis and other tasks.
This is fundamental for the relationship to work. If sales professionals are willing to work together with AI, it can lead to the perfect relationship. The more AI is embraced, the more efficient workers become which means more sales, more customers and fundamentally, more jobs! Consumers also believe that AI is a good thing, with 38% believing it will improve customer service. With a positive attitude towards AI in the sales sector, the creation of jobs will be imminent.
Whether you like the idea of AI or not, it is unavoidable, so it is far more beneficial to try and embrace it rather than worry about it. Sales professionals who work with AI will be sure to reap the benefits for their future success.