“A new approach that marries technology advances with the distinctive abilities that human sellers bring to a deal is required to adapt to customers’ changing needs and drive real commercial outcomes,” said Robert Blaisdell, Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner Sales Practice. “The tech revolution isn’t about giving sellers more technology, it’s about giving technology more responsibility.
“New technologies, such as generative AI and digital humans, have the potential to transform the role of the seller. Sales leaders will need to rethink how to meet buyers’ inflated digital expectations. Those who don’t risk distancing themselves from buyers and leaving real money on the table.”
Sales is at a turning point
While sellers are often the CSO’s most obvious option to help buyers through dysfunction to reach their goals, they’re also the most expensive. The tight labor market, administrative burden of overinvesting in the wrong technologies, and the persistent skills gap renders this approach ineffective.
Organizations can finally move beyond simple automation and assisted selling to true augmented selling, where technology plays an active role in the design and execution of the sales process. As technology becomes fully embedded over time, sellers can lean on technology as their teammate to delegate tasks associated with lead generation or basic customer interactions. Generative AI, in particular, has the power to automatically generate and personalize sales content based on the customer and their current needs, with sellers only needing to view the output.
Accentuate human superpowers to win deals and do what tech can’t
While a high percentage of buyers report preferring a rep-free experience, this preference is at odds with what makes for a high-quality deal. Buyers who receive validation that a purchase feels right for them are 30% more likely to complete an ambitious or premium purchase that lived up to expectations. Gartner calls this Value Affirmation, and buyers that engage with a human during the purchase process are 2.3x more likely to experience it.
"Value affirmation's importance in enabling high-quality deals highlights how feelings matter just as much as facts for today's B2B buyers,” said Alice Walmesley, Director, Advisory in the Gartner Sales Practice.
The best sellers intuitively have the ability to infer buyers’ unspoken beliefs, feelings and intentions to predict and influence buyer behavior. Technology comes in to free up sellers’ time, so they can better catch these innately human feelings.
“CSOs can coach core performers accordingly and ensure technology unlocks their sellers’ potential to be more human than ever. Progressive sales organizations are shifting their mindsets from a technology versus human approach, to a technology and human approach, where each entity brings out the best in one another to complete high-quality deals,” concluded Walmesley.
About the Gartner CSO & Sales Leaders Conference
The Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference is taking place May 16-17, 2023 in Las Vegas, providing sales leaders with the latest research on sales talent, customer buying behavior, account-based marketing strategies and leveraging digital channels. Follow news and updates coming out of the conference on the Gartner Newsroom and on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerSales.
About Gartner for Sales Leaders
Gartner for Sales Leaders provides heads of sales and their teams with the insights, advice and tools they need to address mission-critical priorities amid mounting pressures to drive growth through new and existing customers. With extensive qualitative and quantitative research, Gartner for Sales Leaders helps sales teams combat commoditization and price-based purchasing, develop critical manager and seller skills, elevate the value of sales interactions, unlock existing growth potential, and optimize sales force enablement. Follow news and update from the Gartner Sales practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerSales. Members of the media can find additional information and insights in the Gartner Sales Newsroom.