July 4, 2018

Declining Human Productivity in The Age of Distraction: CATA Op-Ed with Cindy Gordon, CEO, SalesChoice

AI Powered Sales

Did you know that our human attention levels cognitively has declined by over 50% since the advent of mobile? We now live in the Age of Distraction, where humans are increasingly unproductive, and addicted to mobile phones, texting and spending more time on being connected 7×24. The impact is catastrophic to business productivity, but also raising concerns on the addictiveness of smart technology to the human race.

We have already seen how the smartphone has shaped the minds of young people, who barely remember what it was like before addictive activities – from video games to social media – were constantly at their fingertips. But this is not the only impacts we are seeing.

In business, B2B Sales professional productivity is plummeting to the point that soon the robots may be the only way to counter their declining productivity rates. We are not quite at this tipping point – but we are at a point where sales leaders must start to experiment with AI to learn how these new tools can give them a unique competitive edge.

Impact on B2B Sales Professionals?

What drives economic growth? There are many factors. One major factor that keeps me up at night, is the declining productivity of B2B Sales Professionals globally.

According to Accenture, Chief Sales Officers (CSO’s) have spent billions on CRM tools to improve sales performance, however more than 60% of these CRM programs have major adoption and data issues. In addition, sales productivity has declined to less than 35% of time focused on what counts – real customer interactions. The decline is worrisome. The Age of Distraction, where there is too much information, too many choices, competing sales imperatives, and too many tools, processes and policies are taking their productivity toll on sales professionals.

So how do you cut through the noise? The answer is a smart use of Artificial Intelligence and (AI) Guided Selling Methods.

The Rise of AI Guided Selling

One of the major gaps in CRM continues to be the adoption rates of CRM tools in using them correctly to fill in the right data at the right time to ensure sales forecasts are accurate, actioning leads that are the most valuable to invest precious time in, or knowing what product mix or pricing strategy can be optimized to increase your odds of winning.

Today, if your company does not have AI in place for your sales team, they are likely inefficient in spending time chasing the wrong opportunities that won’t yield them the best results. With declining rates of sales professionals, plus the fact that 30-60% of sales professionals don’t make their sales plans, despite all the investments that marketing is making in sending leads their way, what else can be done?

Applied AI in Sales – Real World Results

What the big breakthrough for us in the last 18 months has been is pushing deeper into the AI insights in real time, and providing sales professionals with deep insights on their win patterns. The goal was to help design our software to make it so intuitive that it simply gives salespeople comfort to listen and take notice that we are helping them to win their sales plans and quotas.


The only way to increase B2B Sales Productivity is to gain leverage through alternative methods to increase productivity from augmented intelligence sources that are more accurate and more reliable using AI guided selling tools.

We trust our Netflix to recommend the best movies to us, and this is from AI methods. We trust Uber to take us to the fastest route, using AI methods. We now trust traffic signals to give us the fastest routes, using AI methods. Increasing medical doctors are relying on AI for advanced diagnostics to reduce health risks.

Hence learning to trust AI methods in guided selling – it’s the right time, and I am here to advise you that this really works — the challenge is, as Deloitte has highlighted in their Canadian research, that Canadian leaders lack courage to innovate.

About Dr. Cindy Gordon

Cindy Gordon is an expert in SaaS, business innovation, early-stage software commercialization & sales business practices. She has held senior leadership roles at Accenture, Xerox and Citicorp.

With entrepreneur, VC and Angel experiences, Cindy also has been immersed in numerous global SaaS start-ups like Eloqua, an early seed investment sold to Oracle for over $1B. Other SaaS companies, she is currently involved in include: Corent Technology, CoursePeer, Kula, and TouchTown TV.

Cindy is also the Founder of Helix Commerce International Inc., a strategy innovation firm which has serviced clients  like: CIBC, Davis and Henderson, IBM, ING, LGS Electronics, Mitel, Rogers and TD.

Internationally, she is recognized for her innovation in: SaaS and Big Data thought leadership, with over 14 books in the market. She is also a 2012 recipient of the Governor’s General Award for Innovation. She is a 2017 recipient of the CATA & E&Y Sara Kirke Award for Outstanding Leadership as a CEO. She is also a Advanced Analytics Expert at the International Institute of Advanced Analytics (AI and Data Sciences, Boston). She is also currently working on her 15th book on The AI SPLIT: The Perfect World, or The Perfect Storm.

With NFPs, Cindy’s track record includes: CATA (National Media Spokesperson), Invest CrowdFund (ICC) Canada (Past Chair), Founder and National Chair, Women in Technology (CANWIT), and The United Way. She recently was a board director for Nightwood Theatre,and has also been a Board Director for the Bluma Appel Theatre, and has a passion for theatre and the arts.

Cindy’s passion is the constant pursuit of sustainable innovation and making differentiated experiences to make our world an incredible place. She also loves family time, travelling and cooking.

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