The world of the future will be an even more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.
― Norbert Wiener, The Human Use Of Human Beings: Cybernetics And Society
In researching my new ebook Achieving the Impossible, Lessons from the Apollo Space Program I of course ran across much information about the automation of many sectors of society. At the time of the Apollo space program—the 1960s and the 1970s—research was occurring at MIT and elsewhere into the blooming science of cybernetics.
Cybernetics originated with American mathematician and philosopher Norbert Wiener. In 1948 he defined cybernetics as “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” Cybernetic pioneer W. Ross Ashby also referred to cybernetics as the “science of simplification.” Today cybernetics have had a profound impact on software, including our own CRM software.
Human Action at the Core
One impact of cybernetics, in modern software application, comes down to algorithms that pull information from a broad system, or from a general data source such as the internet. But it all comes back to humans interacting with a computer. The human acts, the computer gives information back, the human takes further action.
We saw in the moon landing the perfect example of human-computer interaction. During the descent to the moon a computer error message occurred which, left alone, could have actually resulted in a mission abort. Between the flight and ground crews, they were able to override the error message and land safely on the moon.
If in the future we eliminate the human factor—as has been suggested by some scientific authorities—then everything would come back to only algorithms. But algorithms were created for specific scenarios, and aren’t actually alive, so cannot possibly be a perfect match for the real world in every instance.
On top of that, humans themselves have become more and more complex, and cannot possibly be addressed by algorithms only. As an example, today we have many more intercultural relationships than ever before—which merge varying aspects of 2 different cultures. The child of one of these relationships absorbs characteristics of both cultures into his or her life.
Complexity has certainly found its way into sales, too. Today’s sales landscape is far more complex than that of even 20 years ago. For that reason we are directly applying cybernetics to Pipeliner CRM to simplify this complex sales landscape for salespeople and sales managers.
Cybernetics smoothly assists the human-computer interaction, and also assists users to simplify data and use it.
Data Interpretation and Use
A common complaint about traditional CRM software, in the past, has been that data input was complex or difficult. Today, however, this issue has been solved, especially by CRM solutions such as Pipeliner.
A much more pertinent issue is what kind of insight the user is gaining from CRM data. This obviously has to do with how the user is interpreting the data—but it also has to do with how intuitive CRM is, and how the data is presented for use.
In the human-computer relationship, it is always the human in charge. Likewise when it comes to a salesperson or sales manager and sales automation (such as CRM), it is always the salesperson or sales manager that is in charge. Automation assists in the analysis of data, but it must always be a human that draws the conclusions from that analysis. For that reason, at Pipeliner, we always place the human in charge.
In a similar manner, the sales manager requires data from salespeople, from the team, from the territory—but again the conclusion comes from the sales manager, and not from CRM. CRM can give the sales manager some insight—that’s why we call it insight—but the final decision will always be up to the manager.
The data in Pipeliner CRM is totally transparent—the sales manager sees the exact same data as the sales rep. The only difference is that the sales manager is able to view all the sales reps’ data, while a sales rep can only view data for that rep, not any of the others.
If a salesperson is well trained, the salesperson will interpret the data just as well as the sales manager. While the salesperson is being trained, the sales manager uses CRM data to mentor the sales rep, and instruct him or her on interpreting the data correctly.
We’re Addressing People
We can see that people are essential to both sides of the sales equation. In the end the winning human-automation combination is aimed at marketing, selling to and—most importantly—helping people.
And there are a lot of them out there! According to the Population Reference Bureau, every single day Earth’s population expands by a net growth of 250,000 people. That’s basically the population of a small city coming into the world every day.
Where is this growth happening? In some parts of the world it is happening dramatically, and in other parts the population is actually declining. For example, Northern Africa currently stands at 229 million. In the next 13 years that figure is expected to balloon out to 293 million. 30 years beyond that, population is expected to reach 400 million. Parts of Europe, on the other hand, are declining.
What does this mean for our current world view? Every day, approximately 5,000 – 8,000 people are trying to travel by boat from Africa to Europe. This number, too, will increase. Is Europe ready for this kind of immigration? These people are from a drastically different culture than Europe, and are and have often had much less access to education, if at all. This is the real challenge for Europe.
But every single one of these 250,000 people coming into the world every day, at some point, will buy something. They will be somebody’s customer. Today people expect to be treated as individuals, to have their particular needs and wants addressed. For that reason automation, today, has been tailored to keep careful track of buyer profiles.
So from both sides, it’s the humans that matter. As Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer, Accenture, has said: “Humans are at the heart of the digital revolution.”
Pipeliner CRM software is the perfect automated assistant for sales. Download a free trial today.