I bought a robot vacuum cleaner. I know, I’m a little late to the party. They’ve been around for a long time after all. Even so, I was reluctant. I work from home and leave the door open for the fresh air (and dirt) to come in. I have indoor dogs. In other words, there’s a lot to vacuum up. Seems my floor is always in need of vacuuming. Since I don’t have time to vacuum every day, my floors are dirty every day except the day I vacuum.

Not any more! I can set that puppy to run every day and the only thing I have to do is empty the dust bin. I can have clean floors every day!

That’s the promise of automation. It can either help you do things better, or it can help you do things you wouldn’t normally do (or do as often) because you simply don’t have the bandwidth.

We don’t yet have robot salespeople (and I hope we never do). But we do have “robots” that can take on some of the heavy lifting for salespeople.

I asked thought leaders from various sales technology firms, how they think SalesTech will change the way salespeople sell in 2019. Here’s what they had to say.

Darryl Prail, Chief Marketing Officer, VanillaSoft

Historically, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have tended to create work for sales people, rather than simplify their job. In 2019, that all changes. The emergence of sales engagement platforms that reside between marketing automation and CRM will become a standard technology stack investment. This will automate email drip, prioritize lead routing and management, automate outreach cadence, and increase sales rep productivity and results. Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics will finally mature to optimize sales engagement tasks, thereby allowing sales reps to focus on high-value activities. As a result of all of this, sales people will focus on chasing highly qualified ready-to-buy leads rather than manually scheduling tasks, making cold calls, and hitting daily call quotas. The manual, repeating, non-intelligent activities will be eliminated. 2019 is going to be a great year to be a sales professional.

George Brontén, CEO & Co-Founder, Membrain

Marketing automation failed to generate enough leads, and automated email platforms have nearly destroyed email as a communications channel for salespeople. It’s time for sales leaders to stop looking for quick-fixes and efficiency boosts, and start focusing on sales effectiveness.

In 2019, companies must nail their segmentation, value proposition, and build a sales strategy that is executed professionally – by well-trained and well-coached salespeople. We cannot rely on self-regulation alone.
Nor can we assume that salespeople know how to sell and allow them to wing it. Holistic sales enablement solutions that make it easier to learn, execute and improve your sales strategy will gain traction.

There will also be a demand for customer success technology – to minimize churn and ensure that customers stay and grow. We’ll also continue to see consolidation among software vendors, with acquisitions left and right. It will be an exciting year, for sure!

Udi Ledergor, VP of Marketing, Gong.io

How will technology change the way salespeople sell in 2019?

Salespeople will stop working for the machines and the machines will start working for the salespeople.
CRM and other systems have been slaving salespeople for too many years with data entry and providing too little value. We’re finally entering an age in which machines will actually take away a lot of the manual labor involved in sales meetings (like note-taking), deal management (like remembering to follow up with an email or send a proposal), and sales coaching (technology can now provide personalized skill-improvement suggestions and exercises).
Sales managers can finally get a complete, factual, and up-to-date snapshot of their team’s pipeline, instead of yesterday’s partial, outdated, and subjective information sales leaders have been relying on for far too long.

John Steinert, CMO, TechTarget

In 2019, great sales teams will accelerate further ahead of the pack by using behavioral data to guide their account prioritization, their actions and conversions across the pipeline. We’ll start to see them establishing more beach heads, expanding to additional buying centers, accelerating deals, wresting deals from competition and more. While we’re seeing this already, the difference in the coming year will be that the great teams will start to prioritize behavior-based insight over old-school models — not just among early adopters, but as part of a new standard operating procedure for everyone in the value chain. The fact is that since contact data has become a commodity, behavioral-driven insight to understand and act on real purchase intent is enabling sellers to be more prospect-needs focused and more aware of what is actually going on inside their target accounts. Great sellers are using this to make it easier and better for their customers to buy from them in useful, exciting ways.

Katie Bullard, President, DiscoverOrg

The availability of deep, accurate, and real-time prospect data is changing the way we sell faster than anything else. Having granular insights and intelligence on prospective buyers at their fingertips will lead salespeople (and marketers!) to create more hyper-personalized and targeted prospecting messages – across a variety of channels (email, calls, social, chats, etc..) This will create not only better results for sales teams, but a much better experience for buyers, who are fed up with the mass-produced, generic requests for “15 mins of your time” emails.

Jake Reni, Head of Adobe Sales Academy, Adobe

Artificial intelligence is going to be the biggest change agent, but not in the way you might think. AI has the potential to help us sell in a more personalized and relevant way, but only if the data we feed into our systems is clean. If we rely on dirty data, which is common in sales, then we’ll have dirty predictions, recommendations, and insights. So the real change isn’t the technology – it’s the behaviors that organizations need to make in order to collect and maintain good data.

Sales organizations need to start building better discipline around the integrity and cleanliness of their data today. That means building better communication between sales, marketing, and the data team. With those three activities in alignment, we can reap the real benefits of AI

How will SalesTech change the way your salespeople sell in  2019?

How about you? Have you asked yourself the question? If the answer is “it won’t”, you’re in trouble. If you’re not moving forward, you begin to move backward. I wondered why I hadn’t bought a robot vacuum sooner. I let my skepticism and my inertia prevent me from adopting technology that could improve my life and well-being. Are you doing the same when it comes to helping your salespeople? If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest taking Vendor Neutral’s Preliminary SalesTech Recommendations assessment. You’ll get an instant 5 page report customized to you based on your responses. It just might put you on the right path for 2019 (and there’s no time better than now).