The days of traditional selling are over, and as digital technology has continued to revolutionize the sales world rumours have sparked that the sales profession is dying. According to Forrester (2015) by the time 2020 hits, one million B2B salespeople will have become obsolete. However Regis Lemmens provides some fantastic insights into the future of sales in his Sales 2020 seminar for Tedx. Yes, there is a future for sales, it is just not the sales world as we know it today.
Lemmens touches on the notion that in the past sales was really seen as a numbers game, the activity of selling products and services to buyers. Salespeople had three core steps, acquiring targets, giving effectively one size fits all sales pitch and finally persuading buyers with a promise upon purchase decisions. In the past this traditional selling technique was extremely effective, buyers saw true value in a product or service.
However, there is a reason traditional selling techniques are just that ‘traditional’. Technology has continued to evolve and new innovations have been brought to market altering the role of the salesperson as we once knew it. The digital revolution has equipped today’s buyers with an array of information, which has resulted in buyers no longer seeing value in the product or service itself, but in the solution and the long-term value a product or service is going to provide.
SO WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF SALES?
Sales will no longer be the activity of selling, and Lemmens made a very bold statement about sales becoming a service itself, where buyers will pay salespeople to sell them a product or service. The selling approach of the future will really be an extension of today’s approach. But rather than salespeople pitching a valuable solution to buyers, salespeople and buyers will co-create this solution.
Effectively sales will be transformed into a highly valuable, collaborative service. Buyers will no longer feel like a target or a person just sitting at the other side of the table during a sales meeting, but an active partner. Buyers and salespeople will work together, presenting organizational capabilities to develop a strategy that enables a shared goal to be achieved and creates a vision for a better tomorrow. Effectively salespeople and buyers will build an ecosystem of valuable, long-term relationships, that is where sales is going.
WE ARE ALL SALESPEOPLE!
At the end of the seminar Lemmens made a fantastic point on how we are all salespeople no matter what our profession. Everyday we carry out tasks which require our ability to persuade others to another direction that will create a better tomorrow. So no matter what our job, value co-creation is the way of the future!
Forrester. (2015). Death Of A (B2B) Salesman. Retrieved from https://www.forrester.com/report/Death+Of+A+B2B+Salesman/-/E-RES122288
TEDx. (2014). Sales 2020 - Regis Lemmens [Video File] Retrieved from http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Sales-2020-Regis-Lemmens-at-TED;search%3Asales%202020