The sales profession is constantly evolving and if you compare the sales world of today with that of 15 years ago, the difference is remarkable. We’ve gone from paper based selling to mobile selling. From mobile telephones that weigh as much as a house brick to smartphones that weigh next to nothing. From lengthy sales meetings across dozens of cups of coffee, to online web meetings carried out across the globe.
We are always moving ahead, but where will the sales profession find itself in another 15 years time? Will we be traveling from meeting to meeting on hover boards? Will we be doing business with humanoid robots? Well, maybe we’re not talking quite that advanced…
The web will get more powerful
The consumers of today rely on the World Wide Web to research almost everything they are seeking to purchase. We’ll look up the next item we want to buy, we will read reviews and blogs, even watch videos to get a better understanding of whether product X is right for us and we’ll dedicate more time to research the bigger the price tag is.
User generated content will take the front seat in the next decade or so, as we trust less in mass marketing and advertising and more in reviews from ‘real people’ just like us.
So where will that leave the sales profession? In short, salespeople will need to step up their game. Rather than being just a salesperson, you’ll need to be a point of contact, an expert that understands every customer’s concerns and on hand for help and advice if and when they decide to purchase.
Will sales go to university?
Sales has typically been a ‘you’ve got it or you haven’t’ kind of profession, requiring little more than a high school education and the drive to succeed. But this is changing, as more companies are investing in sales training courses for their salespeople. In fact, last year alone US companies spent a staggering $7.1bn on sales training courses.
Could the future see more universities and colleges offering a Bachelor’s degree in The Art of Selling and a Master’s in Sales Skills? It’s highly likely. As companies hire more sales staff, the demand for sales oriented classes will grow and colleges and schools will be churning out sales ready graduates in no time.
Best knowledge and best data will win
Big Data is coming to the forefront of business and the more informed we are, the better we can perform as salespeople. If you know that your customer has bought a dozen printers from you, but not paper or toner, you should be making a hasty call to sell the consumables at an exclusive rate. It’s an easy deal and an easy sale.
As the years go on, we’re producing masses of data to the point that, as mere human beings, we simply can’t handle it. We need the supercomputers of tomorrow to handle the growing data stacks we are producing. With good information comes best sales and marketing practice. While technology and data insight will never replace the traditional softer side of selling, they will most certainly bolster our efforts as salespeople and marketers.
We’d love to hear what your predictions are for the future of the sales profession, but the future is coming early for us here at sales-i and our Business Intelligence solution will take you from salesperson to sales superhero. If you’d like to see our solution, you can book a free online demo today.