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Everyone’s talking about AI. Forrester estimates that businesses that use AI-driven insights can increase their revenue by up to 10%. But the question is, will AI make all jobs obsolete, especially that of sales reps?

The simple answer is no. As Jeff Kirchick, Owner of Much Will Be Expected LLC, says, the one strong advantage we have over AI, is humanity. The ability to add a human touch to your messaging and bring in your personality and shared values makes every interaction distinctive.

In session 13 of our Outbound for Dummies series, we speak to Jeff about how we can sell authentically in the age of AI.

Let’s look at the session learnings. 

What is Authentic Selling? 

AI-assisted sales has optimized various parts of the sales process. It could be lead scoring, predictive analysis, virtual assistants, providing accurate intents and insights, and more.

To stand out from the crowd, you need to lean into what makes you human, says Jeff.

In his book on authentic selling, he defines the term as treating your prospect like your friends or family member. You have to present an honest version of yourself.

This ‘honest’ version doesn’t mean being great or very charismatic. It just has to be honest and real. Because when you speak to your close friends or family, you automatically show your true self. You don’t have to put up a facade.

Over time, personalization can become commoditized. And so, buyers will only have a finite amount of time to spend with you. AI will help here. But at the same time, you should always make way for authenticity. 

How to Be More Authentic

The advantage we have over AI is humanity. Unlike AI, we can weave stories, share values, and understand problems.

That’s how we can be authentic

Personalization aside, the shared values will help you stand out. How can you take something about an individual you’re targeting and then relate that back to you? You have to show you and the prospect are a part of the same tribe.

As Jeff says, AI doesn’t have a self and it can’t bring in relatability.

Using AI Without Losing out on Authenticity

AI can give good intent signals and data to help you during your research.

You can learn whom to contact and get hold of some pre-written templates. The possibilities are endless, of course. With AI, you can automate tasks that are usually mundane.

If you’re selling high-value products, SDRs can always tweak the templates and add relevant personalization, shared values, etc., to ensure the email reflects their personality and speaks to that prospect.

AI’s role is to improve the work of SDRs and enhance their outreach efforts. It cannot replace you. 

Should SDRs be Trained on AI tools?

It depends. As this space is constantly evolving, you can’t be too rigid here.

There are industries for which automation makes more sense than the others. Like a PLG motion, or even as simple as your website having chatbots.

It’s necessary to be well-versed in what’s going on out there and speak to others to understand what’s working for them. At the same time, you need to study your data and the A/B test.

Speaking of an autonomous SDR, Jeff says we can see its inclusion soon, but the point that matters is how you can layer human touch on top. 

Challenges Faced while Maintaining Authenticity

It’s tough to be authentic at the start, not knowing how and where to start. But the change has to begin from the top - i.e. your managers.

1. It depends on the culture leaders are trying to set in the organization. If you’re preaching more metrics without valuing the humanity factor within your team, that will reflect in your outreach and onto other processes.

2. Tell SDRs that they are the most important hires in the organization. Reassure them they were hired for a reason - if AI could do their job, you wouldn’t have hired them. Ask them to be human while maintaining a framework.

3. You need to make your team feel valued and important. SDRs have to feel good about themselves. It all needs to start from the leadership. 

How to Add a Human Touch to Your Messaging?

How can SDRs ensure they’re not dependent on an AI tool? There has to be a perfect balance between AI and sales reps.

1. Lean into the shared values between yourself and the buyer. (Listen to minute 22 of Jeff’s session for a great example of this!) Try to draw a link between the two of you to make them feel you are a part of their tribe, as Jeff says.

2. Instead of solely talking about the shared value and using it as a hook, make it relevant to what you’re selling and between you and the prospect.

3. The worst thing SDRs can do is spend time on the wrong people, i.e., the wrong ICP. SDRs might not have access to tons of data. As a manager, you need to share attributes SDRs should look for, messages that work, etc.

Watch Jeff’s entire session recording below for more such insights. 

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