In today’s bonus episode, I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about my thoughts on the future of Sales Success, and in this case that has a bit of a dual meaning. As we release this episode we’ll be about halfway through this year’s Sales Success Summit and part of what I’ll be talking to them about is a pretty significant pivot from the more ad-hoc Sales Success Community offering we’ve had in the past to a higher value, invitation-only offering exclusively for top performers and top strivers called the Sales Success Society.
I’m not going to say much more about that here, today, but if you’re interested in learning more and potentially applying for an invitation, or you’d like complimentary access to the videos from the Summit when they’re available thanks to our sponsors, just click over to top1.fm/stuff and fill out the really short form that’s there with anything and everything you might be interested in. A lot of it is free.
What I really want to talk about today is where this industry is going, especially from an individual contributor’s perspective which has always been the focus of this show.
Things have been weird lately in a lot of ways. I think there are primarily two things going on. One the economy is just wonky and companies are getting cautious and holding onto their cash more, which is adding to the degree of difficulty for a lot of sellers. That at the funded startup world has been rocked pretty hard and a lot of valuation numbers are completely out of whack. That’s what’s been driving a lot of the layoffs and just general bad behavior from leaders who aren’t reacting well.
Finally, this feels like one of those moments that Warren Buffet talks about when he says that when the tide goes out you can see who’s swimming naked, and when it comes to real sales culture, real sales leadership, and just the general treatment of sales professionals in general. Let’s just say there’s a lot of nudity right now.
It’s one of the things we’ll be digging into pretty deeply at the Summit today on a couple of panels because I’ve come to the realization that your regular W2 day job in many ways is the new being single-threaded. If 100% of your income comes from a single company, do you 100% trust that company? It’s something really serious we need to think about.
But I said I wanted to talk about the future of sales success. Those things are really just the current reality of sales. I’m seeing a couple of trends that I think we really need to be mindful of.
The first and biggest is the massive evolution of AI. AI is going to have unavoidable impacts. The pace of development is faster than anything I’ve ever seen before and I frequently think of Moore’s Law as it applies to AI. If you’re not familiar with Moore’s Law it was an observation by Gordon Moore of Intel who in the 70’s observed that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit was doubling about every 2 years. When I think about the amount of money being invested, especially by big technology companies like Microsoft, Google, Meta, Tesla, and the like, not to mention all of the startup spending on AI. I’ve talked with Dr. Lisa Palmer about this at length and we think the capabilities of AI are going to double about every 12 months.
Think about what that means 3, 4, or 5 years in the future when AI is 8, 16, or 32 times more capable than it is today. Lisa frequently says in her keynotes that you probably won’t be replaced by AI, but you could easily be replaced by somebody who’s using AI.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that as these capabilities increase, there are a lot of day-to-day things that I do that AI will be able to do better than me in the not-too-distant future. The one thing it won’t be able to do is have real human relationships. So that’s where I’m personally doubling down. Relationships with your customers, with your colleagues, and within your industry and community are going to be how we all ensure that our AI augmented future selves can continue to create opportunities and thrive.
It’s a foundation that you’ve got to build now, and never stop building. The best title of a book about these kinds of relationships was written years ago by Harvey Mackay called Dig Your Well Before Your Thirsty.
Interestingly I think it’s fascinating that a number of smart people in this space are basically coming to the same conclusion at the same time. Scott Leese has been talking about Go To Network and is building GTM United. I saw that Bravado launched a platform to help people do more independent work.
I think we’re going to see more and more of this. A move towards more independent, freelance-type work that will absolutely be a double-edged sword. Those who are able to capitalize will be able to make more money in less time and find more fulfillment. Just go back and listen to my interview with Jack Wilson in episode 166 to get a taste of that. For those who are struggling or are new to sales and dependent on a single company that might be struggling themselves, it’s going to mean more challenges and more uncertainty.
The question is. What are you going to do about it? What can you personally control? There’s nothing you can do about global economic trends or the rapid adoption of AI. There’s probably not much you can do about the direction of your industry and the company you work for. But you can double down on your own growth and development.
You can keep listening to this podcast so you can hear what those who are really thriving are doing. You can lean into the relationships that you have with your customers, especially past clients who might represent future opportunities, insights, and introductions. You can lean into the relationships with your colleagues who can help you win now and in the future. You can lean into the relationships you have with your peers in other companies, in other industries.
The people who are in the positions and enjoying the levels of success that you’d like to experience yourself. These are the people who are going to help you see your own strengths and who are going to help create future opportunities for you. Invest in those relationships and your continued growth.
It’s up to you. You’ve got to do the work. Nobody’s going to do it for you, but if I can help. Hit me up, and do us both a favor and fill out that form at top1.fm/stuff I’ll talk to you again real soon in a future episode. Thanks for listening!