According to Frost & Sullivan Research, the B2B eCommerce market will be twice as large as the B2C market by 2020. Despite this growth, Forrester analysts have predicted that 1 million US B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020. Why? Consumer behavior has undergone a drastic transformation over the years. With the rise of AI and other automation technologies, along with the abundance of online resources, it is becoming much easier and convenient for customers to self-educate and navigate through the buyer journey with little to no human interaction.
However, sales reps are still preferred by customers looking to purchase more complex products for their organization. This is why most B2B salespeople will not have to make a career change, but rather change the way they sell. With customers today being savvier than ever before, B2B salespeople must be able add value to the buying process in order to be considered useful and necessary.
So, Who’s Losing Their Job?
The salespeople in jeopardy of losing their jobs are those who work in simple order processing roles for commodity products that can be easily automated.
Forrester defines these roles as:
- "Order takers” - generally process orders that customers could easily place through online self-service
- "Explainers” - provide buyers with more information about complex products
- “Navigators” - help buyers understand what their own companies need to purchase
The Role of Sales Enablement
Modern sales technology, specifically sales enablement, will not only allow B2B salespeople to retain their jobs, but also perform them more efficiently and effectively. Sales enablement bridges the gap between sales and marketing, allowing for a collaborative effort to provide a premier customer experience.
Customers look to B2B salespeople as experts who will understand their business needs and are willing work with them to find the right solution. With a sales enablement platform, marketing can create and deliver content to their sales team that is tailored towards the target customer. From there, salespeople can utilize this content to train and learn, prepare, and then engage customers with a personalized and interactive experience, leaving a lasting impression. This mix of technology and human interaction is something that can’t be mimicked online and is why the B2B salesperson is here to stay.