The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Two Drivers of Change in the Sales Job

Sales personnel are adapting to changing customer demands.

The responsibilities of salespeople are shifting. Customers are demanding results with practically immediate turnarounds, but that’s only one thing driving changes in the role of the salesperson.

Salespeople have access to more information, and different information, in nearly real time, and that access is expanding sales job responsibilities.

Companies are looking to get more out of their sales teams, according to Barry Lawrence, program director of the industrial distribution program at Texas A&M University. Lawrence recently spoke with MDM for The Changing Role of Sales Personnel. A little bit of research – via LinkedIn, company websites and other online resources – can provide information about customers to help direct future decisions.

"Through customer stratification, we can start profiling the future core customers, and if a salesperson is dealing with an established core customer, we can give that sales team direction on how to increase the effectiveness of working with that customer, increase account penetration, introduce new products, expand into new market developments," Lawrence says.

Sales personnel are also adapting to changing customer demands because the customers have access to more information about the products that they need than ever before, and they’re not afraid to do the research before reaching out to a salesperson.

Instead of spending time taking orders, salespeople are finding their value shifting to where they can provide advice about purchasing decisions, sourcing products and other operations prospects, Lawrence says. But one of the biggest challenges of a more informed customer base is that often, the customer isn’t entering the exchange expecting to receive any value other than placing an order.

In The Changing Role of Sales Personnel, MDM looks at how sales has changed for the salespeople and how the new challenges can be overcome.

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