Is there a role for sales and sales management in 2012 and beyond? The traditional sales tasks in prospecting, pitching and closing seem to be redundant now the Internet has enabled customers to do their own research, and marketing to do the pitching.
Maybe 2012 is all about transitioning the role of revenue generation from sales people to web pages. Maybe the new sales tasks are all about Keywords, Content and Adwords auctions. Who needs the additional costs of sales operations when the customer simply wants the lowest price, and the reps and the managers, add no value.
This isn’t a pretty picture for sales people, is it. We seem past our sell by date, redundant in our own time, like so many other professionals replaced by computers.
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It’s time for sales people to sell to their own bosses, setting a new role for themselves, and equipping their companies with a new competitive advantage – customer experience.
As much as the bean counters try to commoditise products and services, they fail. Their mistake is believing buyers are only interested in price. But customers only ever buy on price when they don’t care what they’re buying.
In the vast majority of cases customer experience is as significant in the buying decision as price, if not more so. Buying on the Internet is a very sterile experience. There’s no enjoyment, and not much security. There’s very little advice, and a lot of risk. When businesses sacrifice customer experience in pursuit of lower costs they lose control of their markets. The reverse is true. When businesses invest in customer experience they increase control and as result achieve more sales, at higher prices and margins.
The new role for sales in 2012, when so much of the traditional tasks have been automated, needs to be customer experience. Sales people help customers feel good about buying decisions, and that’s what will make the difference between winners and losers in 2012 and beyond.
If your CEO doesn’t agree take her to your nearest Apple store, and ask her to tell you why Apple is the most successful technology company in the world, ever.