The pressure and expectation of sales reps to be more efficient and effective at their trade, more focused on higher profitability, and more reliant on data rather than intuition can feel like an uphill climb perpetuated by innovation - AI, Machine learning, data science, etc. And the truth is, it shouldn't be! It should be a downhill roller coaster fueled by data science and controlled by the rep, taking the rep straight to the cash prize. McKinsey Global Institute study found that "40% of time spent on sales work activities can be automated by adapting current technologies." Data Science and Machine Learning, when applied to real-time sales problems, enables (not replaces) reps to be more efficient and effective at your job.
A year and a half ago, I wrote that robotic process automation might not be smart enough to fuel your digital transformation. But I needn't have worried; RPA vendors are increasingly combining the technology with AI applications like machine learning to make it smarter. This sort of collaboration is sometimes orchestrated by individual users, and sometimes by vendors. Take, for example, the collaboration between RPA firm UiPath and automated machine learning (AutoML) provider DataRobot. These are two fast-growing companies; in the past 24 months, UiPath has grown its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from $8M to over $200M.
In 1978, some 400 ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) users received an email about a product viewing of new computer models. Gary Thuerk -- a marketer working for the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) -- thought it would be a good idea to email people on the network to sell computer products. While it drew interest from some of the recipients, a portion expressed annoyance at the then-unnamed intrusive advertising. Several years later, the cybersecurity industry called emails of a similar nature "spam," describing it as unwanted bulk email advertising products or services. Unfortunately, Thuerk's incidental infamy in e-marketing decades ago has been surpassed by today's cybercriminals: In 2002, spam distribution reached 2.4 billion per day; today, it has reached more than 300 billion.