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The Future of the Sales Person

All professions are going through fundamental shifts in skill requirements, education and training. Technology, global markets and changing consumer buying patterns are having an impact on the Sales Profession. So what does this mean for the future of the profession? What should you consider as a sales leader?

There are 4 important factors that determine the future of specific sales positions.

How complex is the product/service to purchase by the client?

Highly customized products need sales people. These products require a highly consultative sales approach and technical expertise. In addition, the sales cycles tend to be long with many influencers and decision makers along the decision path.

Examples of complex products/services:

  • IT outsourcing sales

  • SaaS outsourced client applications

  • Customized office furniture

  • Fleet truck sales

  • Advertising agency sales

What is the price tag?

Simply said, higher price products get the customer's attention. Customers are sensitive to the risk of a bad purchase. They look for assurance and guidance from sales experts to help them through the purchasing decision.

High priced products that require a sales representative.

  • Office technology and systems integration

  • Large office furniture purchases

Are there discount ‘sales channel’ alternatives?

Customers will take the cheap sales channel alternative if the price is right. Of course the channel needs to be easy to use, and demonstrate reliability.

Examples of products sold through websites that were previously sold by sales reps.

  • Encyclopedia information

  • Business and vacation travel

  • Business Printing

Does the client think a sales person adds value to the sales process?

Based on all the other factors listed, this one is the most important. Why? If all the other factors support the sales position, then the sales person must deliver on their part.

Here are the important the key ingredients that determine success.

  • Relationship building

  • Long term repeat sales opportunities

  • Lifetime value of the client is high

  • Consultative selling approach

There are now more cost effective ways of selling and servicing products. Competitors continue to leverage technology to reduce sales costs and increase margins. This has had some positive customer experience outcomes, and opened up new and exciting sales jobs that reach across larger territories. This makes sense as trade barriers are removed, and global selling becomes even more important.

The future of the sales profession bright, but it's changing quickly. Successful sales organizations are staying ahead of the curve. Sales systems are changing rapidly. Today's sales person embraces technology. They are breaking through the digital noise and will ultimately emerge as the customer champion of the future.

Paul Kidston, Business Development Leader, Speaker, and Author | 1-877-353-7253

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