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Humans vs. The Machine: Webinar Recap on Drawing the Line Between Sales and Tech

Humans vs. The Machine webinar | Walnut

How do we keep all our tech in check?

Well, that’s exactly what we asked our panelists from AI21 Labs, Sales Assembly, and Uniphore during our latest #WeAreProspects webinar. 

And while the event was a blast, what really knocked our virtual socks off was just how many sales leaders tuned in. This shows just how important it is to ensure that AI and tech are making the buying process better and not distancing us from our prospects.

It was really interesting to hear all of the practical tips our experts gave on which emerging technologies they’re currently using and when they avoid them altogether. 

If for some reason you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry. You can still watch the full webinar on-demand now

Here are some of our highlights that we gathered just for you:

Devin Liu moderated the event and opened by addressing the dilemma posed by the rapid evolution of modern technology: Although tech and AI are helping make sales teams more efficient, there is a risk that they will end up distancing sellers from prospects. 

“I think one thing is clear right now in technology, specifically AI, it’s getting increasingly more and more powerful. We’re seeing technology growing at unprecedented rates. 

I remember when we just had the landline and we shifted to cell phones. And then there was a headphone splitter, and now we have AI call recording. We also now have the thing called ChatGPT that helps us with everything from writing cold emails to creating sales pitches.

And while it helps sales teams become more efficient, lower costs for companies, and ultimately allow them to grow faster, it’s undeniable that the right tech can be a fundamental asset to sales teams throughout the industry. 

But we can’t help but ask ourselves: At what point does all of this tech distance us from our people, and then ultimately our customers? So when, if ever, should we step away from tech and AI, and approach our customers just human to human? And what areas of sales stand again and suffer the most from these new and emerging new technologies?”

Marie Brunet explains that the key to striking the right balance when it comes to using AI and tech is understanding your business goals and which solutions will best enable you to achieve them. 

“We still need to use tech. We cannot go back… not with the quotas and the crazy KPIs we have to make. 

But it’s about finding the right balance. Now, each seller has 7-10 tools to use every single day, and all the time they use those tools is time they spend away from the clients. 

So, it’s about finding the right balance. What priorities we have for the business and what tech really helps us achieve those in the short-term. And the rest, as of now, we just put it aside.”

Matt Green suggests some simple ways to use AI to help sales teams not only save time, but also become more informed sellers so they can offer a better buying experience for prospects.  

“Let’s say you’re selling to enterprise-level companies. It’s always sort of been a cardinal rule that there’s no excuse to walk into a prospect call without having a complete holistic understanding of the company’s priorities and initiatives over the next two quarters. And the cool thing about selling into publicly traded companies is they tell you on their earnings calls.

But where AI is going to be able to alleviate some of this bandwidth is now, all you have to do is go into Chat GPT, enter the transcript of Adobe’s last earnings call. And just summarize this in three points: I sell this type of product. Can you identify the right person that I need to talk to within Adobe? And based on the transcript of this earnings call, can you identify the top two or three priorities that my product is potentially going to be able to solve?

So doing that, what would normally take a sales rep 20, 30, 40, maybe even 60 minutes of research… Now, it could be done within a matter of moments and we do see a lot of really high performing sales organizations that are starting to operationalize leveraging AI in that way, just reducing the amount of time it takes to be a well-informed seller before you hop on a call.”

Aryeh Abramowitz dives into why there are some parts of the sales process that just can’t be automated and need to have a personal touch. 

“Obviously, I think we’re probably all in the same boat that we prefer texting… It’s pretty much okay when it’s an existing relationship… that I have this established bond with. 

But when we sort of fall into this trap of engaging with people in that sort of automated manner. We look to younger sellers that are coming in today and everything can kind of be automated. I would say you can’t skip certain steps. So, before you’ve established that relationship, often that relationship with the buyer or several people on the buy side, that’s going to be your number one asset for this whole process. And I think even with AI, people are going to continue buying from people. 

So, if the first impression on the other side is like, this is automated and this is generic, and maybe they insert personalization here, they check that box, but they don’t really care about me, that’s already a reason why a company might choose Vendor A over Vendor B. 

And I think that with the biggest deals, it always gets complicated at the end. You’re expecting that PO to come back, and obviously something goes wrong, and knowing that I’m close enough or that I’m aligned well enough with that person on the other side, and I can feel comfortable picking up the phone or sending that text because we’ve gone through the necessary steps. Because I called on their birthday or remembered that they left the office early to go to their kid’s play and asked about that. Those things really make the difference. 

So, I think from a sales leadership perspective, it’s important to not be afraid of technology. And we’re all selling technology, so we can’t contradict ourselves too much. It’s sort of figuring out where that goes hand in hand. And I think empathy has become a sales buzzword, but for good reason. Because that’s not something that AI can generate, or at least not for now.”

How to take advantage of tech to offer a better buying experience 

As sales managers, it’s your job to not only find the tech that will deliver the best ROI for your team and company, but also know when to put it aside. 

But most importantly, it’s about using tech and AI to improve the buying experience for prospects, without eliminating the human touch. 

And while we loved getting the chance to share our favorite quotes from the webinar on how to do exactly that, there were just too many nuggets of wisdom to include in this blog.

But no need for post-webinar FOMO. You can still hear every piece of advice these experts gave. 

Watch the webinar now! And check out our other #WeAreProspects webinars

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