The 2015 report, “Death of a (B2B) Salesman,” by Andy Hoar, VP and Senior Analyst – Forrester Research, projected that 1 million sales professionals, or 22% of the 4.5 million B2B sales agents in the United States, would lose their jobs by 2020.
The factors behind the decline are equally applicable to the rest of the world.
B2B buyers prefer online facilities to educate themselves, research and buy relatively easily defined products and services. Most of the lost jobs, Hoar said, will be among sales reps involved in basic order processing. Sales reps that offer higher-end services to help buyers in large corporations order complex products and services will fare better.
“Order takers are the ones in trouble,” he says. “It all comes down to value in the ordering process – whether sales reps add value or not.”
It’s quicker, easier and more efficient for them.
Disruptive technologies have enabled the game to be changed. The power has shifted from seller to buyer. And there is often no need or desire for a salesperson to be involved in a purchase. B2B buyers are now 60% or more through each purchase before they contact any sellers.
We interpret this change not only as a dramatic reduction in the selling process cycle time, from the salesperson’s point of view, but also that the buyer is over half way through the process before the seller gains access.
Here, the big issues for sellers are:
• Little time or opportunity to manage the sale
• Inability to influence the decision criteria
• Risk that the buyer may be focused on price rather than value.
Buyers now have most of the information that sellers used to provide. Salespeople’s influence and ‘information leverage’ has gone.
Or has it?
Download our free white paper to see which skills and behaviours are needed to match buyers’ preferences and how you balance out the powershift and take control using SCOTSMAN® and Commitment Based Selling.