Marketing & commerce

"Sales will no longer be required when selling products in 2020"

May 26, 2015 | 1 min read

The world of sales professionals will be completely different in 2020, says Regis Lemmens, lecturer at TIAS Master of Marketing. Marketing will be responsible for closing a deal as sales will occur earlier in the process. 

Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

Which trends have consequences for Sales?
"There are four trends that affect how Sales does business. These are globalization, the Internet, efficiency, and ethics and governance. Because of globalization, companies have a larger market. That means more competition. These customers are much better informed because of the Internet. The added value that your company offers by providing information about your company’s portfolio is no longer necessary. Also, everyone has to do more with less, also your customer. He wants you to visit less often. You therefore have fewer conversations in which to demonstrate your value. And the way Sales did business in recent years was not always decent. You suffer from a bad name."

Salesperson is a business consultant

What do these trends entail for the future of a sales department?
"The salesperson of the future is a business consultant. In 2000, sales was primarily a transactional sale, the objective was to sell the product. In 2010, it was a consultative sale. The customer is assisted in the sale by the salesperson and together they choose the best product. In 2020, customers can make the choice for a product themselves. The customer gets all the required information through various channels: social media and websites.

If we use marketing techniques in the right way we will no longer need a Sales Department to close the deal. That will indirectly become the responsibility of the Marketing Department by 2020. Sales will be needed in the definition of a problem, which will take place in the boardrooms when strategy is being determined. Not all companies sell products that determine strategy, think, for instance, of Michellin tires. These suppliers may become distinctive by offering after-purchase services, such as a tire subscription. I will discuss further implications in my presentation during the webinar."

On what do you base these results?

"In 2010, I studied trends in Sales. Together with Javier Marco from Cranfield University, I interviewed more than one hundred sales executives. Because people find it difficult to look ahead, we asked them to look at the past – what was the role of their department in 2000? We then asked them to extrapolate that trend to 2020. That is how we arrived at these results."

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