Why the Future of Sales and Marketing Belongs to Humans—Not Robots

Lately, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to people about the future of AI.

Today, we want to take a look at the other side of the coin: human to human interactions. At this point, you’ve probably heard the abbreviation “H2H,” made popular by a viral photo involving Bryan Kramer.

We recently interviewed Bryan, who talked about how the idea came to him, why he wrote his books Human to Human and Shareology, and what human connections really mean in today’s marketing and sales environment.

Here’s what we got out of that interview.

There Is No More B2B or B2C

Human to human

Every business needs to be as human as possible. We try to automate so much now, with AI and AR and VR, and all of these things are pulling us away from the human element.

“I really am a huge cheerleader for the humans,” Bryan said. “I believe the humans will win.”

The reason we trust companies and want to pay for their services is because of a human connection on the other end. That’s what sustains a customer for life.

Bryan had been talking about that for years. Then, one day, he gave a keynote at Bloomberg, and this was displayed on the screen: “There Is No More B2B or B2C. It’s H2H: Human to Human.”

Everyone lifted their phones and tweeted it, and the Internet went bananas. The image got over 80 million impressions in over 48 hours.

Bryan took advantage by quickly pulling a book together of all the things he’d written in blogs for two years and self-published it in four days. He wanted to quickly get a response out to people who were asking, “What does this mean? How do I humanize my company?”

The book became a bestseller, and opportunities abounded for Bryan from there. He got to do a TEDtalk and to speak around the world. All because of a few short days..

But he never would’ve been able to publish the book if he hadn’t been writing for two years. The point: don’t stop writing. You’ll have something to work with when the moment is right.

How to Apply the H2H Lens to Your Marketing and Sales

Everyone’s trying to automate so much. There’s nothing wrong with that, but people lose out when they don’t put the right human touchpoints inside of that automation.

H2H is all about building a relationship between two or more people. When you don’t build that relationship, you distance yourself from the customer.

There are a lot of ways to do that, from a technical perspective, but the overarching message is that it does need to happen if you want to stand out. There’s so much out there, and there are only two ways to be heard through the noise:

  1. Your message has to resonate with your audience. Often, companies don’t humanize their content to talk to or with their audience.
  2. You have to build a relationship over time through storytelling or in-person human interaction.

Bryan’s Top Strategic Business Objective

While robots are coming, humans have a place we can co-exist.

Bryan is a busy man. He runs three businesses. We asked him what his top objective is these days.

He’s aiming to teach people that “while robots are coming, humans have a place . . . we can co-exist.” It sounds funny, but he’s not kidding.

As people automate more and more, we’re going to have to learn new skillsets. If you don’t, your job will be in jeopardy. Harsh truth, I know.

The more you can learn skillsets that keep you relevant, the more solid your career is going to be. Bryan’s job is teaching people how to stay relevant.

Even with technology like IBM’s Watson, there’s a role for humans. The decisions you can make with the data that Watson provides . . . that’s where humans come in. It really is humans and machines working together to finish work.

“I don’t think that’s going to change,” Bryan said. “I don’t think robots are going to take over. Who’s making the decisions once we have the information? You have to ask a machine a question in order for it to deliver a result.”

Acceleration Insight

In each episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, we ask our guests for one nugget of wisdom they would impart to a sales professional. Here’s this one:

“Understand your audience better. Take Facebook ads: there are unlimited ways you can dissect audiences on Facebook. If you’re going to figure out through A/B testing which audience works, that’s one way to do it. But the other way is to ask your existing audience or customers why they buy from you. Then break that down into ‘what you know’ and ‘research and data out there.’

“You can use tools out there, like the free version of Watson, to upload your data and have it broken down for you. If you can match what your existing audience is doing with what you already know from using data, you can create your audience for Facebook ads or whatever you’re going to do.

“You’re going to save yourself so much time and money.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with keynote speaker and author Bryan Kramer. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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