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7 Technology Disruptions That Will Completely Change Sales

October 10, 2022

Contributor: Jordan Turner

These 7 technologies will change how you do deals.

Sales technology is pervasive in sales culture and increasingly affecting sales’ go-to-market strategy. According to a recent Gartner survey, more than eight in 10 senior sales leaders believe effective use of technology is important for meeting revenue targets. So it’s no surprise that 7 in 10 sales organizations planned to increase their sales tech spend in 2022.

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“Adopting innovative uses of emerging technologies and practices provides organizations with a competitive edge,” says Dan Gottlieb, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner. “It enables the organization with new capabilities to influence the core priorities of an organization: pipeline generation, seller execution and account growth.”

The 7 new technologies that will disrupt sales by 2027

New sales technologies have the power to significantly affect the function through the coming years, but in many cases have yet to be productized for sales organizations. Chief revenue officers must recognize, prioritize and respond to these disruptive changes to determine the best course of action.

No. 1: Multimodality

By 2030, sellers will only manually enter information into applications if they so choose. 

The days of begging sales to enter data is over. Multimodality provides multiple methods for sellers to log activities other than entering them through a keyboard into a CRM. These technologies all interface with CRM technology and encourage frontline sellers to capture CRM data. For example, sellers could tap their phone, call, or even chat with a CRM while an AI bot takes down their inputs and fills in the required information.

No. 2: Generative AI

By 2025, 30% of outbound messages from large organizations will be synthetically generated.

Content is increasingly important for sales, considering customers expect hyper-relevant and personalized experiences. And it’s hard for sellers to keep up. With generative AI, sales teams will never have to beg for content again. Generative AI produces content (like images, video, emails, presentations and data sheets) typically created by humans, and does so without direct human bias through either an augmented or automated approach:

  • Augmented — leverages existing creative workflows collaboratively with humans.

  • Automated —  like a “factory” producing content.

Although AI can help to ensure the right content is available for sellers, sales organizations still must ensure that content is easily accessible, in the right place, at the right time.

No. 3: A mix of augmented and virtual realities

By 2025, 80% of all interactions will occur in digital channels. 

The metaverse – a collective virtual space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality – will fundamentally change collaboration, engagement and connectedness. And the core technologies of the metaverse, like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), will be a critical sales channel to use in sales meetings, product demonstrations and sales training.

AR layers digital experiences over the physical world. Visual configuration, which is happening now, allows buyers to look at, customize and buy products as if in person. VR enables you to enter into a unique digital place and participate in activities such as meetings, training or design reviews. This computer-generated environment enables collaboration and encourages engagement.

No. 4: Emotion AI

By 2025, AI identification of emotions will influence 30% of the messaging a buyer receives.

Emotional intelligence is important, particularly for salespeople who need to “read the room,” which is hard to do in virtual environments. Cue emotion AI, which analyzes, processes and responds to emotion based on four core components:

  1. Natural language process-based phonetic and text analysis, which includes sentiment analysis in emails and the ability to find patterns and trends.

  2. Computer-vision-based facial expression analysis, which looks for patterns and trends in response to stimuli.

  3. Audio-based speech analysis, which detects a combination of emotional states with facial and muscle movement.

  4. Biometric and other sensors (like heart rate) to analyze behavior.

By 2024, emotion AI will influence approximately half of the online ads buyers see. This technology reads faces and emails, and determines which ads will work for a given buyer. These applications of emotion AI will change the way sales teams engage with customers. And by extension, will also change sales enablement.

No. 5: Digital Twin of the Customer

The market for digital twin enabling software and services is expected to reach a global revenue of $150 billion by 2030, up from $9 billion in 2022.

What if you could test programs on your customer whenever you want? A digital twin provides a dynamic virtual representation of the customer created from digital and physical interactions to emulate and predict behavior.

The digital twin takes in data from personas and runs tests for sales messaging, sales process, marketing campaigns, and notes what works and what doesn’t. Unlike a simulation, a digital twin is dynamic; it’s constantly receiving data and can update its findings, enabling analysis in real time as new signals come in.

No. 6: Digital Humans

By 2026, 50% of B2B buyers will interact with a digital human in a buying cycle.

The salesforce of the future is a hybrid of humans and machines. Digital humans that engage with customers will fundamentally change who sells and how they sell. The use case for digital humans isn't about replacing humans. It’s about taking on tasks that humans don’t want to do, such as handle lead nurturing, old opportunities, or stale leads.

No. 7: Machine Customers

CEOs and CIOs believe that by 2030, one-fifth of their total revenue might come from machine customers.

Your new target market is machines. Machine customers are non-human economic actors that obtain goods or services in exchange for payment. They constitute a buyer, and a big one. It’s already happening today. Financial services products use AI to help consumers negotiate bank fees and get their refunds automatically, and there are cars that diagnose themselves and preorder parts for service.

For many organizations, the idea of the machine customer is not yet a reality. But now is the time to start tracking its evolution and begin building the digital-human salesforce. Sales will have to adapt to machines, which are logical, reliable and valuable. When machine customers become a more tangible part of the buyer mix, sales organizations will need to plan for the ensuing enablement issues.

In short:

  • Sales leaders rely on the effective use of technology to meet revenue targets.

  • Innovations in sales technology will produce significant disruptions in the coming years.

  • Chief revenue officers responsible for an organization’s revenue technology strategy must identify and respond to these seven technologies.

Dan Gottlieb is a Sr. Director Analyst in the Gartner for Sales Practice. He leads the Revenue Technology Strategy research calendar and covers a spectrum of topics related to pipeline generation.

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