We are all feeling it, huh? First we thought it would a be a one-off jolt directly attributable to the GFC. But it continued for years. Now we are resigned to the notion that this is the new world order. And that the economics and trading environments leading up to the GFC were an artificial high. But it wasn’t as tough as now for most us.  Before the artificial high began to intoxicate us with its largesse. Was it? Probably not, but it is also impugns a real question on sales team return. Better to work on the psychological footing that the current “never been so tough” is the new new. So what are the 5 big things that have changed for most, if not all of us, operating in these types of markets?

1. The race to the bottom

  • Barrett Consulting Group documented it in their annual research. In short, it is the price cutting war competitors inflict upon each other, and customers stimulate by shopping around as the products and services they search for progressively appear less differentiated.

2. Trends toward consolidation and centralisation of markets

  • As multi-site type industries (retail, branch, institutional, etc.) lend themselves to centralisation and consolidation, the buying-purchasing decisions are shifting accordingly from the local site to the mothership – diminishing apparent ability for Sales Execs to add value by territory management of the sites.

3. The rise of e-commerce and the educated customer

  •  The irony is that we put our sales teams through more and more product knowledge and technical application training, yet it is the last thing they need and the last thing educated customers want.

4. Difficulty in assessing Sales Exec accountability/transparency/measurability/productivity

  • It always was challenging to truly measure the productivity of the mobile sales team even before the GFC. Now with new world order in place, this has become even harder for B2B sales organisations.

5. Pressure on justification of sales team headcount/cost

  • With all the above impacting negatively on management approaches in sales organisations, we are seeing a growing trend towards shrinking sales team size.
  • We are seeing Senior Management progressively struggle to see the value added and differentiation of the sales organisation’s widgets and wares created by the mobile sales team, which in turn puts internal pressure on justification of sales team return on investment.