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Has the Internet Made the Salesperson an Unnecessary Cost

First off, one answer to the question posed in the title of this post is, it depends. The Internet has certainly turned the traditional act of selling solutions into a commodity act.

photo credit: Paul Mayne via photo pin cc

See, there was a time when a salesperson’s job was to find out what the prospect lacked and provide solutions, or at least information that led to a solution. But, the Internet changed that job dramatically.

If you’re still trying to sell solutions to a customer that has access to every possible bit of data and the ability to create their own solutions based on virtual reams of information from around the world, you’re essentially doomed to selling on price or, worse, providing a negotiating chip to acquire the lowest price – in other words, you’ve become a commodity.

So, to return to the answer to the question posed in the title of this post. If, however, you’ve come to realize that the salesperson’s job is to find and create opportunities, change how people view what they might buy from you, teach your expertise and facilitate discussion of industry trends and challenges the answer the question posed in the title is most definitely no.

My take on the difference between sales and marketing has always been that marketing’s job was to own the message and the job of the sales professional was to own the relationship.

Today the meaning and delivery of the notion of message has changed. Marketers no longer have control of how the message is consumed, packaged and heard.

Today, the meaning and nurturing of the notion of relationship has changed. Salespeople have an entirely new set of tools to mine, build, nurture and convert leads and are no longer tied to relationship built on location.

In many ways a salesperson’s view could be this – sales is the new marketing and marketing is the new sales support.

Salespeople that understand this can control their own destiny while delivering superstar results for any company and creating more value for any customer.

  • Today’s marketing minded salesperson creates their own ideal customer opportunities.
  • Today’s marketing minded salesperson differentiates by upending the buying process and injecting a new way of thinking.
  • Today’s marketing minded salesperson thinks like a publisher and builds their own expertise by sharing and crafting a platform.
  • Today’s marketing minded salesperson teaches the market how to get more of what they desire, no matter if it’s related strictly to what they sell.
  • Today’s marketing minded salesperson facilitates community and peer discussion between customers and partners.

This dramatic change in the role of an effective salesperson won’t be embraced by all for many years, which makes now the precise time for any salesperson to embrace this new way of thinking and get out of the commodity business.

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