Death of a Salesman is a famous 1949 stage play written by Arthur Miller. The title has been partially used merely to create an impact and has got no relevance to the content of the report discussed here.
Death of a (B2B) Salesman is a famous report that was first published in 2015 by Forrester, a leading marketing research company. Since then it has been reviewed and discussed multiple times and tracked very closely even today.
Being a B2B Salesman myself, I was curious to study and understand it. I came across a half an hour audio discussing the report featuring Andy Hoar, Vice President, Principal Analyst in 2017. The report is particularly important in times in 2020-2021 because it brings the focus back on the role of B2B salesman in bigger scheme of ‘business’ things.
Following is a list of important points, according to me, from the half an hour audio interview
- B2B Buyers are deciding how they want to interact with companies. They don’t want to be forced into a channel company is comfortable with. Term is called CONSUMERIZATION.
- Norms that are prevalent in B2C are being expected in B2B space.
- Increase in customers wanting to do their own research at their own pace online grew from 53% in 2015 to 68% in 2017. It doesn’t make sales rep irrelevant but only directs their profile to more value add tasks.
- B2B buyers want easy getting-in and getting-out like B2C users
- 2012 to 2020 will see ‘displacement’ of a million sales rep. (Assuming the speaker is talking about US alone). Number of ‘order takers’ will decrease but the number of consultants will increase.
- Digital or omni channel strategy leads wider markets and higher customer satisfaction.
- AI / ML will get better at suggestive selling. Amazon in 2006 got 35% of total revenue came from computer generated recommendations.
These are important pointers to keep in mind by both the businesses as well as the B2B salesman because the general direction of the trend suggested is correct. Businesses and individuals need to introspect, adapt and then apply these ideas for gaining strategic advantage.
You may also want to check the link to the Forrester Audio clip and my Youtube Vlog on the subject.
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