"Always Be Closing" is no longer just a sales mantra popularized from the movie, Glengarry Glenn Ross. In the coming years this could be the reality for salespeople for two significant reasons:
1. Customer apathy towards salespeople is growing and will likely increase to the point where a salesperson's primary task is to close deals.
2. Emerging technology including artificial intelligence (AI) agents, predictive analytics, and yet-to-be-discovered smart technology will likely take over most non-selling tasks.
57 percent. That’s how far the average B2B buyer is through their purchase decision before reaching out to sales rep. This is a critical shift in the buyer-seller relationship is critical because it dictates who gets to make the rules. Every day this power sits more and more with the customer. This number will likely grow in the coming years as more B2B’s embark on digital transformations and open digital direct-to-customer channels.
Permission marketing is here. People have the power to choose what digital advertisements they want to see. For example, I don't follow companies on Twitter unless I care to hear from them. If I see a company ad on Facebook I don’t like; I hide it. Permission marketing is a reality, and it has empowered customers in an increasingly digital world. Not only that, but it's coming to a sales team near you. With new privacy legislation like the GDPR arriving later this year, we are likely to see an increase in the concept of permission sales.
The reality for many small-to medium-size businesses (SMBs) is high-cost sales teams are spending way too much time on administrative tasks. While most of these tasks are a necessary part of the job, it's intriguing to think about how AI and smarter selling technology could absorb this work in the coming years, and help drive down costs. The priorities of prospecting, researching, identifying needs, preparing content for calls and meetings, and even providing proactive customer service are all tasks that an algorithm can potentially do more efficiently than any salesperson. If this is the case, sales can spend their time on real revenue and career-driving goals, like closing deals.