We at The Next Level began our journey back in 2004. From our narrowly defined window into the corporate sales world, much has changed over the 17 years. The numbers are hard to come by, but by our rough ‘n’ ready reckoning, there are around 40,000 corporate B2B sales teams across Australia. For every such team that has grown in size, relevance, value, there are countless that have diminished by any such measure.
It is obvious to all that over this period we have witnessed the rise of internet, globalisation, social media, e-commerce, commoditisation and instant consumer gratification. These forces have rolled like snowballs, and their momentum continues, at seemingly exponential pace. Additionally, we have seen two major jolts that have also placed additional downward pressure on the role of the humble sales team. The GFC …. And now the pandemic.
Many of us in this space are wondering about the extent to which customers, now growing accustomed to sales reps not being able to visit due to lockdowns, will………
• embrace remote forms of communication (Teams, Zoom, etc) as a new-normal replacement for an on-site visit from the rep?
• ask the rep to only visit when there is a new product or price (discount)
• suggest the rep simply send through any new info to review
Is the role of the rep becoming redundant? Is it losing relevance? Can customers easily do without them?
No one really knows the answer. Time will tell. For me, the answer will come down to the strength of the old maxim so many of us hold near and dear (albeit sans any scientific proof!) ……….. people like to buy from people. Relationship is king.