Contrary to Forrester’s predictions that 1 million B2B salespeople will become obsolete by 2020, I believe that B2B salespeople are going to become more important than ever.

Although it’s undeniable that digitally enabled selling models and technologies are impacting the B2B sales space, there are some aspects of selling that machines just can’t replace.

Working with – not against – technology

Automation is rapidly sneaking into salespeople’s’ everyday tasks. In turn, the role of a salesperson is without a doubt required to shift. However, this is not the first time that salespeople have had to pivot their strategies and the way they do business.

Think back to when email came into the picture after salespeople had previously relied heavily on phones and in-person meetings. Over time, email actually helped the sales process and proved to be a beneficial tool. Digitally enabled selling models will follow the same trajectory.

In that same regard, there are indispensable tools and technologies available today that sales organizations need to embrace to remain competitive and more productive. This means a smaller percentage of a sales person’s day will be spent doing administrative tasks and a larger portion will be dedicated to what they do best – selling. These tools enables salespeople to have more conversations with new leads and spend more time focusing on the needs of current prospects.

Relationships are still a human process

While digitally enabled sales technology can play a vital role in the selling process, technology is only one piece of the puzzle — and it works best when paired with the human component that is at the core of most sales interactions. Building this person-to-person relationship is especially important in B2B sales, because the industry generally requires a higher investment than consumer spending and deals with complicated software and other goods, which may be tailored to a buyer.  

Business solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all, so having a conversation with a sales representative who can customize not only the solution, but also the cost, is a huge benefit to businesses. A real human connection is also beneficial when troubleshooting. Aside from answering and validating a buyer’s most pressing questions, salespeople can also go into detail about things that may not be available on a company’s website.

While the past five years have seen incredible technological advancements across a variety of industries, technology still can’t replace the essential human interaction needed to build a relationship and become a trusted advisor (but the right sales solution can help make that relationship even stronger). Buyers will always need help uncovering the best solutions and successful salespeople should focus on the value the business relationship brings and help their buyers solve their business problem and help them gain a competitive edge. That’s why I think B2B salespeople will always play a vital role and won’t become obsolete. They simply need to evolve to become more value-focused for today’s technological buyers. Let me know what you think about Forrester’s findings on Twitter @SeanGordon22.

About the Author

Sean Gordon is the CEO of Intelliverse, a global leader in sales accelerated enterprise software and managed services. Prior to Intelliverse, Sean was Vice President at West IP Communications for 10 years where he helped turn a $30 million dollar unknown company into a $3.5 billion industry leader. He has also held various leadership positions at AT&T, EMC and Nortel Networks Corporation.

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