Sales, the Dying Profession

I got this email from A Sales Guy Community member Rob Sader today.  In it Rob is contemplating the role of sales people in the not too distant future.  His ruminations are similar to mine. I often find myself musing about the same thing. What is the future of sales people? Do we have a future? How will access to information and people via social networks change sales?

Rob asks some good questions and I have my thoughts.  But before I chimed in, I thought this was a great topic to put to the community. What do you think about Rob’s question?



I was doing some thinking today in my down time this morning.  As I was thinking, I started to wrap my mind around the idea that slowly but surely, maybe our profession is going to be leaking away.  Over the last few years, there have been companies that have said that they no longer need sales people and they can sell purely on the freemium model because their software is easy enough to sell that way.  I have held to the belief that althought that sounds good, reality is much different.  Enterprises buy differently than consumers.  You know that and I know that.  WHich has now given rise to the model of helping companies buy instead of just doing “consultitive” sales.  Companies sometimes don’t even know their own processes, so they need a person that can walk them through buying effectively.  So we have gone from selling door to door, to selling features and functions, to selling with a consultative approach, to helping people through the buying process in the span of about 50 years.

I started wondering today what could be next.  I wonder, in high tech and software specifically, if the technology will become so simple that the free or freemium model will become the standard and sales people will not be needed much at all in Enterprises.  What do you think of this concept?  The CEO from has been very vocal for the last few years in saying that they never really needed sales people and the model is shifting away from sales people selling to enterprises.  Funny enough, they started hiring sales people just after that statement to sell to enterprises.  But I wonder if he is on to something.  Will enterprise software in 20 years be so much more plug and play that the creativity and the complexity of the sale will be less important and top sales people will not be as important?  Will those top minds in sales take on different roles or morph into more of a marketing role to support the need for creative ideas and use cases for technology?

Would love your thougths on this, in a blog post or an email back when you have time.

What do you think or Rob’s question?