Automation: Are We Empowering Human Interaction Or Displacing It?
The sales and marketing technology along with the social networking/selling technologies represent a huge amount of the changes that are driving sales and marketing.
They relieve us of many of the tasks that used to take lots of time, enabling us to focus that time on engaging customers and colleagues. They help us in better understanding our customers, markets, and what’s happening, so that we can engage customers with more relevant insights on more timely bases. They enable us to extend our reach, beyond our local geographies to the global community. They help us create greater value for our customers, our people, and our communities. They help us create deeper relationships with our customers and colleagues, hopefully creating deeper meaning in each of our lives.
Or they don’t.
They help us displace human interaction and engagement. We set up automated communications streams, that pummel customers with content based on various scoring algorithms. We automate interactions with customers, reducing our engagement time, leveraging technology to manage much of that interaction. Increasingly we leverage technologies like AI, Chatbots, and others to simulate engagement with prospects and customers, that we might otherwise have.
We set up gigantic broadcast platforms, emailing 1000’s daily, even hourly, dialing 100’s to thousands daily, automatically “curating” and broadcasting massive volumes of content that we’ve never reviewed, but it increases our social presence.
The volume and velocity of social and automated interactions skyrocketed beyond our customers and our own abilities to deal with it. Customers shut down, they don’t respond–simple solution, turn up the volume, broadcast more, more frequently.
We, ourselves, fall victim to overload/overwhelm and digital distraction. While we should be more productive, we actually become less productive. We may have all the “bodies” we need in a meeting, but we don’t have the minds and interaction because of the digital distractions we surrender ourselves to.
And we see it in the results. Despite all the tools, all the technologies, all the ways we broadcast our content and presence, results are not improving. Sales and marketing performance is flat or declining. Customer engagement numbers are plummeting.
It’s probably not the fault of the tools we use, but how we use the tools, or how we hide behind sales/marketing/social automation.
Sales and marketing, indeed business, is intensely human. It’s through people working together, creating, debating, innovating, that we solve problems, invent new things, grow in our world views and our abilities to achieve individually and organizationally.
Whether we are working within our own organizations, or engaging our customers, prospects, or working with our partners and suppliers, at it’s core we are engaged in deep human interactions.
We know our customers are eager to learn. We know they are dealing with increasingly tough problems and skyrocketing complexity. We know they feel overwhelmed, distracted and disengaged.
We know top performers are those that engage customers in deep conversations about their businesses, goals, and dreams. They work closely with their customers in learning, growing, collaborating. They help the customers figure out what they should do and how to buy.
Within our own organizations we know this about our own people, as well.
We know we get the best our of our people by engaging them, by listening, coaching, teaching and collaborating.
Perhaps it’s time to rethink our automation and social engagement strategies. Perhaps we need to look at how we leverage these technologies to empower deeper interactions and conversations.
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