Sales Cybernetics Defined: How it Replaces Humans w/ AI

Emily Kingland
June 16, 2020
Sales Cybernetics Defined: How it Replaces Humans w/ AI

Pull up a chair, grab your beverage of choice, and get comfortable because we are unpacking some pretty incredible and high-level stuff!

Cybernetics. Are you familiar?

I had some understanding of the concept, which on the surface seems pretty straightforward, but Silicon Valley veteran and sales cybernetics mastermind, Justin Michael, Regional Vice President of Sales at YouAppi, brought me up to speed, and all I can say is, WOW.

As humans, regardless of our profession, we tap into instinct on a regular basis. Everything from when our fight-or-flight instincts kick in, to our gut guiding us in creative ventures, negotiations, and even love!

Instinct certainly has its place in sales and marketing environments as well.

But what if you could educate yourself about the psychological behaviors of your buyers and then apply that to your sales techniques? Your approach then becomes an educated choice, instead of completely relying on instinct.

Then teach that to AI.  

Enter cybernetics.

**Psst: This post is based on a #Sales episode of B2B Growth featuring Patrick Downs (PandaDoc) and Justin Michael (YouAppi). You can hear this episode and many more like it by subscribing to B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Sales cybernetics: Choice over instinct

The big question we're addressing today is...

What is the definition of sales cybernetics? Sales cybernetics is defined as the science of control and communications in machines and animals, (including humankind). The study of cybernetics has been used in various ways since ancient times to attempt to explain, understand and manage the effective workings of all manner of systems: social, organizational, animal, mechanical, electronic, and others.

Today, we'll be talking about how cybernetics affect sales organizations.

"So this actual interaction with the human to human contact, it's such a small piece now. It’s almost like we're just analysts of tech. We're almost limited by the technology, right?" -Justin Michael

The human element

We can all rattle off the names of sales platforms, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages, but when we get neck-deep in the tech, we tend to lose the human element (especially when it comes to sales).

Now, that may sound counterintuitive to settling in to explore the role of AI in sales, but stick with me.

Sales cybernetics takes the best of human research and understanding and marries that with some very sexy AI capabilities.

Everything is a system

Cybernetics is central to our understanding of life, organizations, and the way we relate to our world, however we define it. The organization in which we work; the world in which we live; the people around us - these are all systems.

"The unit within the system with the most behavioral responses available to it controls the system."

The 'unit' is you. Plus, AI.

When humans build anticipatory human-like comforts into a sales dialogue, it becomes the height of what AI can do in those environments.

Want to reply to a prospect in a manner that incites nostalgia?

Just select the human option for nostalgia. Maybe it’s a record player or a hot dog at the ballpark. A child swinging on a swing in the warm summer breeze. All determined by the AI that has all of the data to make those determinations.

AI that doesn't have to guess

No longer relying on instinct, the AI element understands the complexities of the buyer journey and delivers the formerly human part of the sales process, but without the guessing.

A decade ago, modern AI was a mystery. Startups were the ones finding all sorts of interesting ways to use AI to get a competitive edge. Today AI is everywhere.

AI is helping us understand our customers, optimize our systems, segment our markets and build all sorts of functionality. It is not a differentiator.

It’s table stakes.

Psychology is still very relevant

So, as even more incredible “futuristic” AI platforms are being developed, understanding the psychological aspect of human behaviors - and what role AI plays in the sales funnel - is crucial. Not only now, but maybe even more importantly, in the future.

Whether you are a salesperson, a manager,or a C-level person, paying attention to what’s coming next will always pay dividends.

Do your emails appeal to your buyer?

What’s your answer?

  • Yes, they do.
  • No, they don’t, help!
  • Maybe, I’m not sure.
“You have to get pain, fear, emotion, and creativity. You have to peak interest and desire by using visuals in email. ”-Justin Michael

Sales Cybernetics looks at all of your sales tools, including email, with a deep, deep understanding of human emotion by humans, and by AI.

Really brilliant and beautiful automation is ultimately tied to emotions.

Successful automation invites an emotional reaction.

Visuals do that in a much more effective way than an endless string of words.

Justin feels that email is all about templates and the automation of templates and personalization, but it's failing, he thinks, because it's words.  He wants an emotional AI approach to be his calling card. Right now, that’s an unorthodox idea. But in the future?

Why not take a piece of your software, and animate or visually highlight the “wow moment” in your sales demo for example. Placing GIFs into your email threads is more than eye-catching. You're actually unlocking the neocortex and the visual part of the brain, making your message more appealing.

Now, no one is saying GIFs are the magical solution to email engagement. But, we are saying that with everyone sheltering in place, email is more vital than ever.

Base your approach on science, not instinct.

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

Chi Fu Lee, the Chinese AI prognosticator says:

“Humans are not going away, they're just going to be in a different place in the value chain.”

The human seller is still an integral part of the process. They're doing the discovery and the creativity and the empathy and the pain and the scoping.

But under the Sales Cybernetics structure that Justin lays out in his upcoming book, sellers become more of a strategic closer, operating lower in the funnel, making sure the machines aren't running amuck. So to speak.

Sales is still human

The core aspects of sales are still in place, and still human. The AI allows your sales team to focus on the sale, while the AI handles a lot of the intermediary interaction with science-based precision.  

Justin shares a great story in our chat which begins with:

“I was managing a sales team from a corn field...”

(I’m not sure how this all took place in a corn field. For that, maybe you can ask Justin.)

But what happened there is a great example of how these processes emerge.

After having a group come in to automate sales processes for his team, what was mapped to take a substantial amount of time, was wrapped up in much, much less.

So, what’s the problem?  

The future of AI in sales

It was too fast. The automation blew through the lists, boiled everything down, the salespeople sold to the market, every single lead was addressed and well, that was it.

The human nuance comes in here as the factor that can control the AI to address and engage with the buyer. And that is an evolving technology.

Understanding how humans and AI can intersect and work in tandem is the future.

And the future is now.

“When you have a competitor with a commoditized SaaS product, if you know how to use these sales tech platforms and they don't, you're going to build a sales machine and engine. They’re going to be hunting and pecking, and you're going to have a Howitzer.” -Justin Michael

This #Sales episode is hosted by Patrick Downs, Sales Enablement & Training Manager at PandaDoc.  

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on Apple Podcasts, on our website, or on Spotify.