Yeah, OK, I’ll admit to exaggeration in the title of my recent “Death of All Sales Reps” post. Anthony Iannarino called me on it here. More accurately it should have been “The Imminent Death Of All Current Sales Reps Who Fail To Recognize And Aggressively Exploit The Coming Explosive Growth Of Internet-Based B2B Buying.”
More accurate, but kind of cumbersome… Allow me to reiterate and clarify a few key points. Very large and/or complex and/or, highly innovative deals will always require extensive face-to-face selling. The reps with the wherewithal to be invited and welcomed into meetings attended by the customer’s senior management team and have earned their respect will continue to thrive.
BUT… At most, 20% of B2B sales opportunities ever have or will fall into this category. What about the other 80%? As a customer, I want speed. I can easily access a lot more objective facts and figures much more quickly using Google than from meeting with one or more sales reps. For the 80% (give or take) of the B2B deals out there, the best e-Rep will win. That is, the sales rep who has embedded and continues to embed his or her valuable knowledge into electronic formats will win. You simply must focus intently on building, growing and continuously improving your electronic alter ego.
The h-Rep (i.e., the human rep burning time attempting to schedule face-to-face meetings for less than high-end, high-impact deals) is going to get left in the dust. Or as I wrote, will “disappear – evaporate – go the way of the dodo bird.”
Even if a rep has a boatload of extremely-valuable-to-customers knowledge, insight and skill, will that rep get enough opportunities to have face-to-face meetings to apply it? No way! Customers are way too busy for that.
So I stand by my recommendations:
- Become a trusted, respected (albeit honorary) member of the customer’s senior management team, and/or…
- Create, maintain and continuously improve an electronic version of yourself, an “e-Rep” (i.e., Get out in front of the inevitable, irreversible trend.)
If you can do the first (that is, if you’re among the top 20% of reps and can prove it), carry on! If you can do both, and that’s some small portion of the top 20%, you’re gonna’ get rich. Everybody else needs to rapidly build and continuously enhance their e-Rep.
If I were you, I wouldn’t take the chance. I’d get going on the e-Rep NOW!
Think about it…
- Have We Been Witnessing The Death Of Professional Selling? – Jonathan Farrington
- 43 Truths About the Death of Selling – Dan Waldschmidt