The Future of Sales: 3 Biggest Lessons from Sales Machine 2017

Posted by Alex Stillman on June 18, 2017
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Will sellers be replaced with AI bots? Is the ‘spray and pray’ approach finally a thing of the past?

According to the speakers at the Sales Machine Summit  in NYC on June 14, yes.  At the conference, the Emissary team heard everything on the future of sales (from the innovative to the scary) and how to navigate this fast-paced landscape. These are the three things we took away:

1. The sales tool of the future is AI


Companies have turned to artificial intelligence tools to increase efficiency, helping with tasks like research, lead qualification, and pitch strategy. But giving a software the ability to make decisions has its risks, so most companies have experimented with AI tools in smaller, more controlled environments.

But once deployed at scale, these powerful tools can make sellers’ efforts more accurately targeted, leading to faster deal closures and greater revenue.

CA Technologies’ Tiffany Giddens discussed how their 30-day onboarding process for sellers was reduced because of their use of AI to identify the best product (CA Technologies has 1,000) to pitch to each client. After rollout to a few teams, CA Technologies has placed AI in the hands of all of their sellers globally.



2. Tech can sometimes hurt

 There’s no question that tech has helped sellers perform better. But influencer and author Jill Konrath cautioned of the overwhelming role that technology can play in the life of the modern seller. Over-stimulation, she says, can lead to losses of one to two hours per day of productive work and a drop in IQ of 5 points for women and 15 for men.

Over-stimulation can lead to losses of one to two hours per day of productive work and a drop in IQ of 5 points for women and 15 for men.


Konrath suggested three actionable solutions to maintain productivity in the digital era:

1. Firewall Your Devices: Use tools like to remove clutter, turn off notifications, and close your email program frequently.

2. Block off Time: Give yourself an hour or two per day to make progress on current tasks the same way you would schedule a meeting with a colleague. 

3. Plan and Reflect on Goals: Set goals and reflect on their success or failure. Holding yourself accountable can help improve future success.

These three tactics can help fight the ever-threatening distractions of today while breaking quotas and driving revenue.

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3. Sales is being disrupted

Former Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paasschen challenged attendees to be “change agents” because the world of sales is experiencing disruption. New approaches to marketing and the advances coming from AI tools are shifting the sales landscape dramatically.

 In the adapt-or-die world of modern sales, van Paasschen suggested 7 virtues to thrive in a disruptive era, including prioritizing a brand, embracing innovation, and focusing on strategy over planning. These approaches can help ensure that sellers and companies succeed in a new sales environment.

We can be the solution, not the carcass on the table of the disruptor’s feast.

Topics: Sales Intelligence