Episode in Brief
In this episode, we take another look at the future of sales..but this time from an academic point of view. My guest today is Régis Lemmens, who is a consultant, author, and educator on the topic of sales and sales management. He co-authored several articles and books including ‘From Selling to Co-Creating’. During our chat, Régis provides an outlook on the role of sales in the year 2020 and highlights that there is a future for sales, it is just not the sales world as we know it today.
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1. Co-Creation is happening
The days of traditional sales are over, and the sales process is changing fast. The future of sales is about moving away from persuasion, which is regarded as traditional sales to co-creation. Sales reps of the future will collaborate with the potential prospect and co-create value for future clients.
2. Changing perspective
This new way of selling which brings a lot of change with it, will not make every sales person happy. Co-creation means bringing more value to the potential prospect. Understanding the prospects needs and concerns during the buyer’s journey will make sales reps invest more time into consulting potential buyers, rather than just selling the product.
3. Everyone will become a sales rep
Since the future of sales will be about consulting prospects on their path to purchasing a product or service, more and more people within an organization will be activity participating in this process.
The days of traditional sales are over, and as digital technology has continued to revolutionize the sales world rumors have sparked that the sales profession is dying. In fact, according to Forrester (2015) by the year 2020, one million B2B salespeople will have become obsolete. In 2010 Régis started a research project entitled ‘Sales 2020’ examining future trends in sales and sales management. Following his research, he recently published a book with his colleagues Dr. Bill Donaldson and Dr. Javier Marcos, titled ‘From Selling to Co-Creating’, The main findings of this research project where presented in a TEDx talk which you can check out below:
During our interview, Régis mentioned that in the past sales was really seen as a numbers game, the activity of selling products and services to buyers. Salespeople had three core steps: Acquiring prospects, giving effectively a one size fits all sales pitch and finally persuading buyers with a promise upon purchase decisions. In the past this traditional selling technique was extremely effective, buyers saw true value in a product or service.
However, the traditional selling techniques are just that ‘traditional’ and don’t really fit anymore in our ever growing technological world. Technology has continued to evolve and new innovations have been brought to market-altering the role of the salesperson as we once knew it. The digital revolution has equipped today’s buyers with an array of information, which has resulted in buyers no longer seeing value in the product or service itself, but in the solution and the long-term value, a product or service is going to provide.