Technology has become an integral part of doing business today. New tools make our jobs easier than before (for most people anyway). But technology can also require a change in how we think about how we do our jobs.
In this issue, we present the latest results of the quarterly MDM-Baird Distribution Survey. For the second-quarter survey, we asked a special question on if technology is changing the role of the salesperson.
Almost one-third of respondents (29 percent) said they perceived that the role of their salespeople hasn’t changed at all because of technology – which leads me to wonder how these companies are using technology. Are they still approaching sales the same way they did a decade ago? Or are other factors driving changes?
For the two-thirds of respondents who said yes to the question, how technology is impacting the role of sales coalesced into three primary areas: mobility, analytics and instantaneous access to more information.
As one distributor noted: “Salespeople need to apply technology to be smarter, better, faster.”
We’re surrounded by data these days, but that doesn’t mean your sales team needs to memorize every piece of data. They need the tools to access and analyze that data quickly. And they need to know how to use those tools to access information in a variety of ways.
“Omnichannel” and “multichannel” have in some ways become industry buzzwords, but they’ve been used primarily in reference to how to service customers. I would argue that these concepts are just as important in supporting your sales team.
Think about it. A customer asks your field sales rep to find a product that would meet a new need they’ve identified. How will your sales rep respond? Likely he will pull out his smartphone or tablet and go to the company website. Or if the company has made a few additional investments, she could go to a mobile app that provides guidance for product applications.
Salespeople do not need to rely solely on what’s in their brains or the printed papers in their folio to service customers. They have multichannel access to the information too. And many times, that may be the most efficient way for them to get the right information to the customer.
There’s a lot to look at with regard to the role of the modern salesperson. We will be examining this topic more in future issues of MDM Premium. If you have any thoughts on the topic that you’d like to share, email me at email@example.com.