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Have My Robot Talk To Yours!

by David Brock on June 22nd, 2017

Recently, I’ve become fascinated with Amazon’s “Alexa.”  I’m just playing with it, at this point, it’s really more of a novelty.  It’s actually easier to get up and turn a light on or off, or adjust the thermostat.  But I can see how Alexa and Apple, Google, Microsoft and other versions of it can become quite interesting.

I’ve started training Alexa….

“Alexa, please make a dozen prospecting calls for me….  Make sure you’ve researched well, be sure to engage them, ask them to text me if they are interested in a deeper discussion…..”

No, I’ve not gone off the deep end, though I wish I had.  That reality is at hand.

I’ve started getting robo-calls from well known B2B brands.  It’s a new experience for me–at least in B2B.  For years, I’ve gotten those crude robo calls at home, usually just as we are sitting down for dinner.  They’re from politicians asking for my vote, slimy mass marketing organizations, charities asking for my money.  The only useful ones are from our city government informing me of road construction/traffic delays, or our garbage collection company, informing us of a shift in the pick up schedule.  All others, I just hang up on.

The technology behind these B2B robo-calls is quite interesting.  They always start with , “Can I speak with Dave Brock?”  I respond, and the call begins.  The first few times, it took me a moment to realize I was speaking with a machine not a person.

Unfortunately, I feel this is probably the way of the future.  Sales managers seeking to maximize productivity, organizations looking to make 100s and 1000’s of calls a day will embrace this approach.  After all, dealing with SDRs is so messy.  Each is different, we have to coach and work with them.  Execution is inconsistent.  Just as they get good, they want a promotion or quit, going to another job.

Let’s face it, any time we put people in the equation, it just gets messy and time consuming.  Everyone’s different, there’s so much variability.  It’s so much better if we can mechanize this.

Ironically, the people doing this are probably people that say things like, “Sales is a people to people business….”  “We’ve got to get close to the customer…”

They and their marketing teams are probably doing worried about things like “engagement.”  “How do we get more engaged with our customers?”

Or perhaps not, perhaps they view the customer as the vehicle to get money and to do transactions.  They really don’t care about the customer, just getting the order.

The move to robo-calling is stunning to me. Much of the  data shows one of the biggest challenges sales organizations face is reaching, engaging, and getting prospects and customers to speak with them.  Sales people struggle to capture the time and attention of their prospects.

It is incomprehensible about why anyone would choose to try to engage a human being on the phone with a robot.

Unfortunately, people driven by new technology and focused on internal efficiency rather than high impact customer engagement will be leveraging robo-calling more.  And, in turn, it makes it difficult for those sales people who genuinely want to engage customers to reach them.

In my little way, I’m trying to address this issue.

“Alexa, please answer my phone calls from now on…….  You know what to do.”

 

Afterword:  There has been an interesting discussion of this in LinkedIn.  You can look at it here.

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