Thermoforming Sales Success… And Now a Word About Sales in 2020

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Today’s “new normal” sales landscape has sales leaders scratching their heads, wondering about the best way to structure their sales organizations. Should they keep their expensive sales duo: inside sales AND field sales? Or just go with inside sales? Good question. Step into my time machine. When you step out in the year 2020, and the landscape may look quite different.

Ten Reasons Why Field Sales Teams Are Becoming Obsolete

The following trends indicate that field sales teams are becoming extinct. Here’s why:

  1. Inside sales teams continue to grow at 15% each year. The hybrid salesperson will emerge, and they will be technically, culturally, socially, and skillfully diverse and astute.
  2. The average cost of an outside B2B sales call is $215-$400 per call. An inside call, on the other hand, averages only $25-$75.
  3. It is expected that 85% of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video. Customers will not need a field salesperson to come on-site for a long lunch followed by a golf game.
  4. Today, we have 20 million salespeople. But that number is predicted to be reduced to 8 million by the year 2020. Why? Mainly because the customer won’t need to engage early in the sales cycle: 57% of the buying process is completed before connecting with a salesperson.
  5. Structuring a global workforce and creating geographic territories will be a thing of the past because today’s salespeople work virtually, socially, and inter-culturally. The increased sophistication of translation software will enable computers to quickly translate languages, reducing the need to hire reps who speak the native language.
  6. Virtual interactions will replace face-to-face field visits. Right now, Skype, web conferencing, and video are quickly catching on over face-to-face visits and traditional meetings. Some futurists predict the emergence of reality technology — we can watch 3-D holographic images of one another while simultaneously viewing documents on our desktops and laptops (or whatever replaces them!).
  7. Scheduling an on-site meeting with the committee of decision-makers will be almost impossible — especially because the committee of decision-makers now has up to 21 people in it, and most of them telecommute. As many as 100 million people are expected to telecommute to work by the year 2013. They will be calling from home or another wired office.
  8. A whopping 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 list in 2000 were no longer even on that list as of 2010. The first areas to go are field sales teams.
  9. Today’s automated/voice recognition technology will increase the verbal commands and recognition that will replace the human voice.
  10. Your most important customers (you know — the named accounts that the field usually manages?) won’t be so important in 2020. If your US business isn’t clued into the needs of emerging markets, China (not the US) will be the largest economy.

Posted on socialmediatoday on July 20, 2012 by Josiane Feigon

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