Modern technology has become a permanent fixture of our day to day lives and this has had an influential effect on business. Many aspects of business have become automated, whether it be online shopping, self-service checkouts or click and collect points. Companies are looking towards technology as a cheaper, faster and more advanced alternative to human workers. Whilst this has been massively beneficial to customers, many workers have lost their jobs with whole industries now completely automated. With technology advancing every day, other business sectors could be at risk of this outcome. Will sales be next?
Sales play an important role within every company. Individuals within these positions can offer services which mean the difference between a customer making a purchase or going elsewhere. However, with more consumers choosing to shop online, many aspects of sales have been automated. Take for example the retail juggernaut Amazon. The majority of customers will have purchased countless items from Amazon without ever speaking to a real human. This is becoming standard for all online stores, with consumers only interacting with customer service agents if they have some sort of problem.
We are already seeing evidence that some sales jobs have already become obsolete and others are not too far behind. That being said, this doesn’t mean that all aspects of sales will become automated in the future. There are some aspects of customer service which simply cannot be replicated by software and this is good news for workers.
The reason certain sales positions will remain in human hands is that they can offer something unique. Sales reps can build real relationships with customers and this engenders trust between companies and their consumers. Humans can also offer a personalised experience to customers which helps consumers to feel cared for and respected. Finally, sales reps can also provide subjective information which is something that is often missing from automated processes. It may be the case that in the future, the human sales experience becomes a luxury which is sought after by customers. For example, compare clothes shopping online with interacting with a real life personal shopper.
Whilst the human experience is still relevant when it comes to businesses and their interaction with customers, this may not be the case with business to business relationships. Many companies are opting to buy online because they claim it’s quicker and easier than having to deal with a sales rep. It may be the case that sales position will take more of a hit within B2B because companies are more likely to know exactly what they want. Some consumers may prefer help from reps because they haven’t actually made their minds up yet.
As we move forward, many positions within companies are going to become obsolete, this is just a fact. This could have a devastating impact on workers but there could be ways in which to combat this effect. We will lose some job types but these will be replaced with new positions we haven’t seen before. The trick is to offer something which cannot be provided by a machine and this can be applied to whatever your job description is. In terms of sales, employees should look into personalising the service they offer. This means becoming an expert in your chosen field and proving that you have both the objective as well as subjective knowledge required in order to offer a fully rounded service. As with many positions, a sunny disposition and friendly manner are also worth their weight in gold.