Technology enables customers to access more information than ever before, which means salespeople must transition from order collectors to consultants to meet customer needs, says Barry Lawrence, program director of the industrial distribution program at Texas A&M University, in The Changing Role of Sales Personnel.
Since customers already have the information they need at their fingertips, salespeople must show their value by providing solutions for the customer's business – and quickly, says Lawrence.
Providing answers to questions and solutions to problems in a timely manner are critical to meeting customer expectations.
"In order to be competitive, distributors are going to find that they're going to have to be more real-time oriented with their customers," says Lawrence.
Although customer expectations are changing due to technological advances, technology is also providing salespeople with time-saving tools to help meet those expectations, such as online catalogs and increased access to customer data.
Read more about the need for sales teams to adapt in The Changing Role of Sales Personnel.