Will Sales Professionals Get Disrupted By Technology?

Amar Sheth
Amar Sheth
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sales-disruption-technology.jpgWhere were you on December 7, 2016? I believe that’s a question we’ll all ask in the future or one that will be overlooked despite the day’s importance.

If you haven’t heard of Amazon’s Prime Air service, here’s a quick video to show you what they’re cooking up to disrupt the worlds of logistics, transportation and supply chain management.

What you’ll see is truly revolutionary. In what is likely the first successful commercial instance of a package delivered using a drone, Amazon breaks the rules by shattering what’s possible by using technology to enhance overall efficiency.

But what they’re really enhancing is overall customer experience. In their own words, Amazon says of Prime Air:

“A delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones. Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services we already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.”

While one may question why anyone would want a parcel in 30 minutes, the reality is that time matters. In the busy world we live in, for good or worse, faster is equated to better. This seemingly simple delivery system won’t just disrupt transportation (think about UPS/FedEx/DHL/etc.), it’ll impact manufacturers at the factory level.

Factories will seek out more efficient ways to produce things on a more just-in-time basis. Holding inventory, after all, will be dangerous and unneeded in a world of 30 minute delivery windows.

Disruption Is The End-Game

While you may brush these technologies off as unimportant or ordinary, Amazon Prime Air,  Amazon Go, the Hyperloop, etc. are groundbreaking, disruptive technologies that will change the way societies operate.


Take the Hyperloop, for instance. The country of UAE is committed to bringing this technology to their cities. In what is now a 2.5 hour car ride between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Hyperloop aims to shrink that distance to a mere 12 minutes.

Consider London to Manchester in 20 minutes, or Toronto to Montreal in 28 minutes, or New York to Washington DC in 15 minutes. When hours turn into minutes, societies benefit tremendously.

But the initial onslaught will be deep, broad and harsh.

There will be less humans needed to do the tasks that a machine can now do and competition from a larger talent pool will further put strain on job creation.

Why Does This Matter to Us in Sales?

It’s simple, really. If we don’t disrupt first, we leave ourselves open to being disrupted out of jobs, careers and otherwise fulfilling careers.

Seth Godin, regarded as a brilliant voice in the world of business, sales and marketing, recommends outdoing yourselves every 6 months. That’s the speed and level at which humans will have to get accustomed to in the future.

These days aren’t decades away; they’re 5-10 years ahead of us. That’s not long.

Sales professionals, as you read this, consider if the company you work for is sleeping at the wheel and doesn’t care, or does it have a mission and purpose to change?

Was John Chambers Right?

The outgoing CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, made a bold prediction quite recently as he told a room full of partners that 40% will be out of business for their refusal to go digital. While going digital is the coolest thing du jour, it has drastic consequences for how companies will be forced to operate.

Digital technologies are the true equalizer in buyer-seller relations. They represent a democratization of information between two parties. And, this trend will only continue.

Just yesterday an old student called me and wondered if he should retake one of our social selling programs. When digging into his story, he was clear that despite 30 years of sales experience, being recognized as a top cold caller and prospector, he was barely able to see a 2% conversion rate between phone calls and pick ups.

The chances for change are shrinking as the future is full of bold ideas that promise to change the very way we live, work and play.

Think that sales will be disrupted? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter at @AmarSheth or connect with me on LinkedIn to collaborate.


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