The death of the salesman

Last week, I was reading a study from Tiffani Bova of Gartner Research on the Future of IT Sales. The study revealed that IT buyers are increasingly trusting their own research and networks to make buying decisions and are engaging sales people a lot less in their decision making process (if you’re not in IT bear with me).

This is happening in high end consumer based products as well. A good friend of mine recently brought the latest SLS AMG Electric Drive Mercedes without actually stepping foot in a car dealership. He’s not a young technologically savvy hipster either. He’s a conservative baby boomer that types with two fingers that didn’t even own a computer until after he sold his business 10 years ago.

Selling has evolved and unless sales people evolve their approach, they will become irrelevant. Sales people that just take orders, have friendly chats or recite product features and benefits will be replaced by media and technology. With digital media (i.e. the internet and social media), customers can find out everything they need to know about a product in order to make a buying decision.  With digital technology, they can order what they want at the touch of a button without having to speak to a sales person.

If managing the relationship between the company and customer is the only other value that salespeople provide, companies will forgo the expense of a dedicated sales force in favour of smarter options. Now, I’m not suggesting that you fire your sales team, replace them with software and train your technicians how to sell (although, it could be worthwhile thinking about it). What I am suggesting is that salespeople in the 21st century need to add a lot more value to customers if they are to stay relevant.

Stay tuned for the next e-newsletter where I’ll explore what “adding value” really means.

Onwards and upwards!


Posted by Brett on
Awesome read, Great content
Posted by Scott McNulty on
Interesting insight and accurate!
Posted by Michael Walters on
Completely agree with this article and adding value to a customer and understanding their business/requirements is what sales people should be focusing on, traditional type sales people who haven't adapted to change are now simply order takers that rely on sales that have already been pre selected by the customer. Customer are now fully informed before contacting businesses but the art of selling is understanding the customers’ business or requirements to unlock new opportunities to add value not just a sales solution.
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