Friday, September 22, 2006

Death of the Sales Force Part 5 - Will Selling Live On?

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I promised to fill you in on the outcome of the business symposium where the "Death of the Sales Force" was discussed by a panel of business experts. The panel included a Banker, an owner of a 40 year-old Insurance Agency, a Partner in a successful regional IT Consulting Firm, a partner in an Accounting Firm, a Turnaround Expert/Financial Consultant, a Manager of VOIP from Verizon, me and the five person management team from the company that began this all. We began by commenting on the speaker who so impressed this management team with his prediction that all products and services will be bought, salespeople will no longer be needed, relationships were unimportant, and the only way to compete was to lower costs. When all was said and done, we agreed that lowering costs was important, but all of the examples provided by the speaker were for products that had been commodities for years and most were always bought rather than sold. In effect, nothing was really new here. I created a document for this meeting that illustrates a wide array of products and services, and a comparison of which are transactional (bought) versus those which are either solution driven, complex or expensive (sold). In the end, the sales force will live on forever, but it will require that your salespeople be stronger, better at selling value, much better at differentiating themselves from the competition, and even better at building relationships. How capable are your salespeople in these areas? Have your sales force evaluated and find out!
(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.


At 9/22/2006 01:12:00 PM, Anonymous John Hirth, President, Selling Dynamics, LLC. said...


I believe that many true "commodities" will be bought without the involvement of sales people, but as you have stated more complex products with higher impact on the customers business will almost always rely on the face to face interaction of people.

I think it is important to note that the real shift (that has been taking place for years) is the move to tele-sales or tele-marketing. Many companies are lowering their "cost of sales" by employing or shifting some of their sales contacts to more efficient means, i.e. telephone contacts. Also, the whole CRM movement has automated alot os the selling function making it more productive and lowering selling expenses and total cost.

The notion of eliminating sales people is somewhat extreme but what will ensure job security for our occuaption as a whole, is to continue to upgrade selling skills that provide real value to the customer through the sales function. The face to face selling occupation will be eliminated when it ceases to add value to the transaction!


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