Are Salespeople Becoming Obsolete?

No, not really. They could become outmoded if one’s not careful. But it won’t be because they’re not needed to proactively initiate and drive well-executed sales cycles.

In truth, it shouldn’t even be in question. So why the doubt in some people’s mind that salespeople are going the way of the typewriter?

There are 3 major trends driving the issue:
1. Expensive Reps – Rising cost of sales will drive any company to review their sales model and determine if there is not a better, cost-effective way to drive revenue. Particularly if the sales team is not producing.

2. Ineffective Reps – Some reps are lagging because they don’t have the right sales skills or prowess. Sometimes it’s because they have not kept current in market/customer knowledge and evolutionary best sales practices.

3. Inside Success – Communication tools have developed to where selling can be conducted start-to-finish by a lower cost Inside Sales Rep. Leads can be either auto-generated or managed by even lower-cost Market/Lead Development Reps.

So What’s Really Changing?
Not much, really. Outside of common structural team adjustments, there’s always been evolutionary change in sales sophistication and application of skills, tools, and customer engagement practices. Compensation plans still need to be managed so that bases and variable commissions are tied to proven experience and real quota exceeding productivity.

Additionally, management needs to continue keeping reps sharp and current with the tidal wave of new tools and engagement strategies hitting the shores. Mind you this is not just Sales 2.0 in sales technology and sales enablement tools. It’s about the real shift happening out there because the customer/buyer has changed up and requires a different approach and engagement strategy. The best tools capture reinforce this.

Finally, the move to empowering Inside Sales Teams is real and on the grow. Tag-teaming them with effective Outside reps and/or driving their own target territories commensurate with the selling effort is the new frontier that can be sharply optimized. But Inside reps still need modern selling skills – even more now as these are often Millennials who are sharp but lighter in battleground sales experience.

Great Salespeople Never Go Out of Style
What is real truth is that great salespeople never go out of style. They may get caught in minor slumps as the world shifts a bit, but they rebound quickly and adjust their game plan. They ultimately stay current, abreast of changing winds that impact their field of operation.

Many a senior rep has gotten caught in changes and never rebounded. But the best ones, the highest-grade professionals, caught it, morphed and kept themselves from becoming outmoded. They’ll never go stale or obsolete.

Are you staying modern, relevant, or obsolete?