Back in 2015, Forrester published a paper ominously titled “Death Of A (B2B) Salesman” in which Andy Hoar, Vice President and Principal Analyst, dropped bombs including:
- B2B buyers wanted to self-educate versus talk to sales representatives by a factor of three to one.
- Despite this preference, B2B sellers didn’t change their sales activity or habits, and continued to force buyers to interact with reps.
- An estimated one million sales professionals would lose their jobs to self-service ecommerce by 2020.
So is this actually happening? In order to quell many a B2B salesperson’s fears, Hoar followed up his study with a second, aptly titled “Death Of A (B2B) Salesman: Two Years Later”. The main takeaways of this study include:
- 68% of today’s buyers, as opposed to 53% in 2015, prefer to research online on their own.
- Businesses are still struggling to deliver “digitally enabled hybrid and full-service commerce”.
- Hundreds of thousands of order-takers, and one million sales reps overall, are at even greater risk of being displaced by 2020.
Image via Forrester
Something Has to Change
Basically, we’re still heading in the same direction, and B2B businesses are struggling to catch up.
Hoar found that “the gravitational pull of oldschool, offline-centric selling and phone-based order-taking is still strong in many organizations”.
Ultimately, as we’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s important that B2B businesses start meeting their customers where they are. As Hoar puts it: “B2B digital pros must recalibrate their investments to match where their customers are starting their journeys, which is increasingly online.”
And making the transition to digital isn’t just convenient for your buyers, it can also remove costs, drive incremental revenue, improve the quality of customer engagement, enable sales reps to earn higher margins, and increase customer satisfaction.
The Tides are Turning
Forrester did find that many companies are starting to actively automate for both full and self-service buying scenarios, and cross-train and upskill employees as they operationalize for ubiquitous commerce.
What’s more, they found that the most successful B2B businesses are:
- Leveraging digital content to attract leads
- Using sales enablement technology to qualify prospects
- Harnessing apps and websites to scale order-taking transaction volume
All of which “frees sales teams to focus on higher-margin solution selling and value-added services selling”.
How CPQ Can Save Sales
Thankfully, there’s a solution that can help automate processes, cross-train and upskill employees, attract and qualify prospects, and scale transaction volume: CPQ.
CPQ has proven to deliver tangible outcomes across industry verticals. That’s because it provides:
- Comprehensive workflow and automation
- Advanced pricing, discounting, and bundling
- Omnichannel enablement
- Quoting visibility
- Advanced product and service configuration
- Guided buying and selling
- Simple cloud deployment
These powerful features allow B2B businesses to go omnichannel, leverage data to optimize products and pricing, complement and extend the capabilities of existing solutions, and increase revenue.
What’s not to love?
To learn more about how CPQ is saving sales, check out our white paper “CPQ is a Game Changer for B2B ecommerce”, in which we detail how to attract and retain modern buyers, why ecommerce solutions must complement and extend existing sales and delivery channels, and more!