Gartner predicts over the next decade we'll see Sales Leadership transform from leaders of large human teams to more behind the scenes PLG and buyer experience design functions.
This makes sense given humans everywhere are gradually being replaced by tech, and sales will be no different. In fact, it's already happening.
The major shift from Outside Sales (face-to-face) to Inside Sales (phone/video) was IMO the first phase of this transition.
10 years ago it was unheard of to close an enterprise deal over a video chat, but today it's almost awkward to suggest an in person meeting.
Since all the information a prospect needs is already scripted out for salespeople, it can be pre-recorded or programmed into AI creating self-guided buying experiences.
What does this mean for the future of salespeople?
Long term it probably means selling (as we know it today) will become obsolete, but not likely in our lifetime.
In our lifetime what will happen is the strong will survive and tech will continue to supplement new parts of their workflows allowing them to focus on only the most human-necessary tasks.
The good news, it'll be easier to manage and scale SaaS co's and it'll be easier to shop and buy SaaS.
I remember when cashiers were replaced with self checkouts and people were livid about the lost jobs...
But you can't think like that because if we as humans don't continue to build technology that takes over the tasks we currently spend our time on, then we as humans can never spend our time on new challenges.
Jason M. Lemkin recently tweeted that the average public SaaS co spends 50% of revenue on sales and marketing but only 20% on product...
That means as we continue to build better sales automations, we can actually start focusing the majority of growth capital on the product itself.
Lots of things to be excited for.
But plenty to be scared of as well.
My advice is to approach this new era with a positive mindset.
Keep yourself at the top of the leaderboard and invest mental energy into identifying new opportunities you can suggest and present to leadership that can assist and support in the new mission.
When jobs are lost there are jobs created.
If we transition from human selling to AI and PLG-- there will be a lot of need for sales expertise in the product and design world.
It was no different when we added self checkouts at the CVS store I managed many moons ago-- we didn't fire the cashiers-- we started training them in new areas of store management.
Yes, sales will be replaced largely by AI.
No, it's not a bad thing.
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