Sales X.0

Who can forget the fanfare around Sales 2.0?

Social media was the amazing mousetrap destined to make buyers hurtle irresistibly towards our selling stall.

Then lately there was Industry 4.0. Not solely another flaccid WEF vibe. Which was in part similar to (or perhaps entwined with) the recently vaunted ‘internet of things’. Unsurprisingly now latched onto with the b2b slant ‘industrial internet of things’.

As IIoT.0 isn’t the snappiest label (not that this is ever a barrier for the ‘professional services’ sector), I now note – mainly by big Consultancies I fancy, searching for this season’s snakeoil to justify their existence – the propulsion of Industry X.0 (no number necessary, it seems).

Neither does this ‘xo’ styling seem referencing the spicy Hong Kong cuisine sauce, an extra-old brandy, nor a welcome kiss-and-a-hug instant message sign-off.

They could have gone for many an alternative option. The good old ‘n’. Maybe a cheeky ‘Y’. Or even a more on/off ‘I’ or ‘O’. Thinking of which, why not 101010.0? (…42 in binary!)

This construct of X either encompassing or following 4 does not appear new. Here’s author San Murugesan in 2007 talking about the Web’s evolution, which I think he calls the ‘X.Y Movement’;

What follows X, though?

Intelligent devices talking to each other, without human intervention, rules set in advance, and happily work away while we play. Sort of. As the current joke goes, ‘algorithm is a word used by coders when they don’t want to tell you what they’ve done’. Digital Industry as a term seems a tad old hat. So let’s go for X. Like Space X?

What about the famed Ingredient X? Promoting that magical element. Alluding to a distinctive, secret sauce within. Or how about this, via the FT lexicon;

x-efficiency; The ability of a business to achieve the best results in the most economic way in relation to the number of employees, machines etc it has

With x-inefficiency being the reverse. Although why these need the surely superfluous prefix ‘x’ is a little puzzling.

So, sales x-point-zero. Is this finally the manifestation of Tom Siebel‘s late 90s futurology of automatic “sales agents”?

Or is it simply a new way to frame EDI?

We’ve been forewarned for several years now that the robots are coming. The march of the machine will leave no job untouched.

Many salespeople feel immune to the rise of the salesbot.

Yet already – depending on which merchant of doom you read – an ever increasing amount of the decision to buy is being made completely avoiding any engagement with a real life salesperson. By the time you may field their eventual call, the prospect has practically made up their multimillion mind and is probably using you to make up their tick-sheet numbers.

I don’t tend to operate in this bid-driven space alone. To create the need is my favourite turf. So perhaps Sales X.0, where your prospecting and target market buying seamlessly gel, is more a Marketing X.0 kind of thing? Your colleagues with the crayons will love that. Or is it actually more accurately to become Post-Sales X.0? As in Customer Care X.0. Where you set-up automated maintenance, hand-holding and re-order mechanisms?

Or, naturally, the whole X-ty phase for the IoT ‘disrupting’ each arena will pass solution Sales departments by the world over… maybe.

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