Technology set to stamp out the tedium

22nd September 2017 |   Nick de Cent

Is artificial intelligence set to free salespeople from the most tedious aspects of their jobs? We talked to Miller Heiman president and CEO Byron Matthews.

It will come as no surprise that, today, salespeople spend only around a third of their time on core selling activities in front of a customer trying to understand their needs, according to Byron Matthews, president and CEO of Miller Heiman. Research from CSO Insights, which is part of the group, found that reps spend the majority of their time on peripheral activities such as travelling, training, meetings, admin, post-sales account activity, lead generations and research – what he terms the “tedium”. “All that stuff is not really what we call the ‘ingenuity around selling’.”

Moreover, the status quo is set to change in a dramatic way over the next three to five years as digital transforms the sales space. “Technology is going to be a disruptive force in selling. I think we have a huge transformational horizon in front of us. I think sales is going to go through the largest amount of change than any other function in a corporation over the next five to ten years.”

Matthews predicts that the main outcome of the rise of digital is that the “tedium” will be stamped out by technology. “What is going to be left for a rep is the vast majority of their time is going to be on the ingenuity of their job.”

Founder of the International Journal of Sales Transformation | + posts

Nick de Cent is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Sales Transformation. A business journalist for over 35 years, he has been covering sales since the mid-1980s and has been a strong advocate of enhancing its professional status. He has freelanced for the Financial Times and edited the Sales Performance supplement in The Times. He also writes and edits extensively on behalf of corporate clients, including a Big 3 management consultancy and a top four global executive search firm.