Is There a Future For Sales People As We Know Them Today?

This is a question that companies of all sizes need to wrestle with now.  While some companies are facing this head on, the majority seem to have adopted the famous ostrich act.

We recently posed this question on Linked In and received some interesting comments.  But this comment, by Brian Hasenbauer at Lead G2, was particularly prescient:

Brian Hasenbauer

Great rephrasing of the question – “Is there a future for Sales People as we know them today?”… my answer, NO. UNLESS, they have already embraced modern technology such as marketing automation, sales enablement and have come to the conclusion that warm leads trump cold calls. That’s the salesman of the future. The smart phone carrying, CRM using, marketing automation guru that uses lead intelligence to no longer make “cold calls” but “smart calls”… They understand and embrace technology, not hide behind their land lines phones and robo-dialers or direct mail pieces. We can do better than that as an industry.”

Brian is in a position to know.  As Inbound Marketing and Sales Consultant at Lead G2, Brian works daily with those companies who know that they must put very warm inquiries into the hands of Top Producing Sales People.

Here’s why: It is ludicrous to think that any enterprise can cater to the 80%, of the sales people who bring in only 20% of the revenue.  But sales organizations have been unable to wean themselves from thinking that they “need” that 20% without really recognizing it simply pays the salary and commissions of the 80%’ers and not much more.   Top Producers who bring in 80% of the revenue contribute a much better return on the company’s investment in them.

But they could do much, much better by putting the Top Producers in the position of doing what they do best:  New Business Development, the vital KPI.  When you do the math you find that an average sale representative costs the company about .064 of revenue while the Top Producer costs the company .00875 of revenue.  This is simply not sustainable.

Tomorrow’s Sales Teams will empower Top Producers (the Savants) who will be supported by those average sales representatives who have demonstrated specialized skills in the areas of sales support, lead generation, appointment setting, customer service, marketing support, blog content writing, CRM entries, and all the administrative tasks that Top Producers detest.

Let’s face it, Top Producers want to be in front of warm prospects with whom they have been scheduled to meet and want to have the vital information necessary to win business provided to them.  Management’s role is to keep these Top Producers in a position to win by providing them with the information they need to develop business.

Big data will reveal company analytics, profile information, buying patterns and decision times, the members of the ‘buying committees’ and a myriad of other information essential for Top Producers to help win business. This data will be provided to the Top Producers who will use it to win business.   And, once won, those average representatives with the right skills can manage the business.

The sooner the C-Level can be courageous enough to realize that it needs to restructure the nature of selling to enable Top Producers to do what they do best; the sooner their companies will realize long-term sustainable sales results that generate more revenue at less cost.

And what CEO is averse to that?