I firmly believe that any sales professional who doesn’t make an adjustment over the next five years will be completely redundant. This is especially true for sales professionals who work in the technology sector.

Forrester says that 22% of all B2B sales will become automated. And check out this quote from John Chambers, former CEO of CISCO, who told a room of 25,000 executives from large organizations that “40% of business in this room unfortunately will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years.” Ouch.

This is not meant to be all doom and gloom for sales professionals. What it means is that the world doesn’t need you the way you think the world needs you. If you think you’re adding value to customers when you’re getting on the phone and demonstrating the features and benefits of your solution—you will be redundant in five years. You’ll certainly never work for me at Sales for Life, nor will you work for the majority of technology companies that have adapted to digital and Social Selling. Even in industries that are lagging and haven’t yet adapted, you’ll be redundant in five years.

Why? The world is changing and transforming digitally. The customer doesn’t need you to tell them what they need anymore. They’re coming to you armed with information as to what their problems are and their conceptual idea of what they need.

As a sales professional, your job is to coach, train, and act as a consultant to clients along the buying journey. You need to show them the pitfalls, challenges and roadblocks they’ll have, and the inevitable implementation of a solution. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be your solution. Customers are looking for real guidance – people who can provide insights and values, and people who aren’t afraid to introduce them to solutions that aren’t necessarily from their own company. In short, customers want someone to approach them with as little bias as possible. Learn how you can align with the modern buy and accelerate revenue here.

Job Loss Forrester

In fact, a recent Forrester report predicted that 1,000,000 sales jobs will be obsolete by 2020. Due to the emergence of technologies such as search engines and social media. This emergence has shifted the modern buyer’s journey which has empowered them with knowledge.

The same report dictated that four major archetypes of sales jobs will be impacted. Order Takers will suffer a 33% job loss, Navigators will suffer a 15% job loss and Explainers will endure a 25% job loss. However, the silver lining is that Consultant-based sales jobs can expect a 10% growth in job creation. This indicates an evident trend, that buyers demand that sales professionals become more knowledgeable, relevant and can assist them throughout their buying journey.

Of course, your job is to align their goals with your solution. But ultimately, if those that sell hammers see the whole world as nails, they’re going to be obsolete in five years.

How can I make a change?

To make a change, you need to have a mindset shift before January 1, 2016. You need to get yourself a blog reading tool such as Feed.ly, and fill that basket with blog sites that are going to teach you about the modern sales professional, and the future of your role. You need to move away from ineffective sales methods such as cold outreach and overly scripted sales pitches. And ultimately this is your opportunity to help your buyer make the informed buying decisions that benefit both you, them and their organization.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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