There is no question that the tools and processes that professional salespeople use have evolved over the years; sales technology has changed much. But it’s not just the tools that have changed, the very structure of sales functions has changed too.
According to the State of Sales study by Xant Labs, the sales department is evolving, and this is how:
The birth of the hybrid sales role
The State of Sales report showed outside sales reps spend almost half of their time (45.4%) selling remotely. This is pushing companies to reconsider the way it looks at the role and even to lose that “field sales” designation since so many who work remotely actually operate for much of the time as an inside sales rep in the sense that sales technology, and the change it has brought to how people communicate, means they are not face-to-face with customers in the same way as the past.
Companies will look to outsource more sales functions
Certain marketing functions have long since transferred to outsourced vendors to ensure a level of professionalism and expertise is maintained, but sales has been slower to adopt outsourced models. Expect that to continue to shift as companies recognize certain aspects of sales can be done exceptionally well by outsourced vendors.
Gen-Z will pass Millennials as the largest generation and shake things up
Gen-Z is expected to pass Millennials as the largest generation and this passing of the generational cohort torch will bring with it change. Gen-Z is more entrepreneurial than Millennials and even more tech savvy. In addition, co-creating a culture — as opposed to just finding one they value and will fit into — is a significant driver for the Gen -Z crowd. It would be wise for sales organizations to start shifting to make room for more Gen-Z as they enter the sales floor.
Artificial Intelligence to move into CRM space
Xant, which amittedly has a strong vested interest in the AI space, says that sales reps only spend 36.6% of their time selling. They have a fistful of tools at their disposal, but spend nearly 20% wrestling with CRM that they say is ineffective.
CRM organizes sales efforts to followed a linear construct, with opportunities following a single-threaded, phase-based path toward the close. But buyers don’t always follow that path; a sales rep can’t know a prospect particular preferences unless they have sold them before. CRM alone does not necesarily to deliver the answers to the questions “who should I engage?” and “how should I engage them?”, intelligence an experience rep will knowbut which is not captured in a CRM system.
AI will start to give all sales reps the benefit of everyone else’s knowledge and experience, providing better forecasting and better guidance to get sales to closing more effectively and efficiently.