Right about now, we’d be entering our second decade of space travel. We would be living and working in underworld cities. A centenarian would be sliding toward middle age. These were just a few the predictions from twentieth-century scientists, novelists and social commentators, chronicled in Paul Milo’s “Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century.”
We were reminded of the book when we came across the following question posted on LinkedIn: How soon will the Internet turn your salespeople into dinosaurs?
The query, which was posted by Mark Sellers, CEO of Breakthrough SalesPerformance and author of “The Funnel Principle,” has, so far, generated nearly 125 responses. While many folks insist the Web is another channel to reach buyers, others said increasingly widespread acceptance of electronic communication may render sales execs obsolete.
“As someone who works with pharmaceutical companies I can tell you the day is very near,” said David Delong, chief customer evangelist at The Customer Management Group Pharmaceutical. “Increasing No-see physicians, decreased face time, most calls sample drops, physicians not trusting biased information from reps – the current rep driven promotional channel is getting close to irrelevance.”
The disintermediation of the sales chain caused by the Web can’t be denied. But if sales execs continue to demonstrate value in the sales process and provide concrete solutions they will stay viable for the foreseeable future, said Lee Salz, president of Sales Architects. “The Web makes it a more visible excuse, but sales people have been finding reasons why they can’t sell since the beginning of time,” he said. “It always comes back that the strongest sales execs are those who can build value with their clients. If all you’re doing is closing, you’re in big trouble.”
See all of the responses here.