As a Fintech sales professional I am really interested to understand who sales jobs will evolve in the future. It is appealing to understand what the possible outcomes of the current digital revolution are likely to be and what is the right path to follow so we are equiped with the right skills the jobs of tomorrow will require.
Many people argue AI will lead to disappearance of jobs as more and more repetitive task will be automated. There are certain sectors where we can already foresee will be affected by dramatic changes. As an example we could use taxi or truck drivers, the rise of self driving cars is likely to put around 4 mln people out of jobs in the US alone. We can also look at journalism, where the the rise of AI is already be felt. Some predict the change will be gradual and is likely to take anywhere between 10 and 30 years. Various research publications also suggest that there 6-10% of jobs will be wiped out. Oxford University study even argues that the number can even go up to 47%. Sales jobs will be also affected and many seem to be scheduled to disappear.
Well, in that situation change also means opportunity. It probably lies in the fact technology increases productivity and in some cases wages. It is unquestionable that the future sales professionals will have to use a large data sets as well as sophisticated tools so they can deliver value. They are likely to be needed only when they deliver monetary worth to overall business process. Lets think of examples. Imagine a situation where customers do not know how a given technology will increase their productivity, do not know how to calculate potential ROIs or even do not see an existing problem in their operation… I am sure, there are many more examples we can think off. Remember, digital age means innovation and innovation means new products to sell. As Daniel Pink argues in his book To Sell is human being able to sell is not only going to disappear in the future, but there is high likelihood there will be even more demand for savvy influencers as consumers will constantly gain access to more and more data that they may struggle to analyse .
Being aware of the situation and avoid resisting to the imminent change is a good start. Knowing our customer as well as knowing our industry better than our clients will allow us to become leaders, not a followers. In that case the value we deliver to our customers will inevitably increase. We need to make sure that we polish our soft skills over and over again. Great place to start is having a look at Neil Rackhman’s Spin Selling or searching for a course that helps that delivers the same content. The one I attended couple of years ago is from Hutwaite International . We need to master digital age sales tools- digital marketing, social networks, CRM tools, you name it.
As cliche as it sounds – the world is changing. We are probably experiencing transformations whose magnitude can be compared to the industrial revolution of 18th century. Social debate will surely ignite and we will see government, business and workforce coming together to build a framework for tomorrow’s workplace not only for sales jobs. In the meantime, being proactive, anticipating, even mastering new technology as well as continuously building up on your existing skill set seems to be the right choice to make. This is how we can have the odds on our side, participate in the definition of the future working place and even lead the way for a better tomorrow.
The Economist – Coming to an office near you – Jan 2014
Bloomberg Businessweek – Is your job about to disappear?: QuickTake – Jun 2017
HBR – How to deal with resistance to change? – Jan 1969
Be curious and great full to the hyperlinks in the text 😉