Since the industrial revolution, the world has constantly improved due to technological advances in the different fields. Technology has changed the way in which many jobs are carried out and sales reps were also affected. The rise of technological tools like email and social media has made the traditional form of selling obsolete. With so many tools, sellers do not need to invest their time in going to meetings to sell a product. Now with social media, they can make a list of potential clients and reach out to them. Even though technology has clearly impacted on the way sales are carried out, it doesn't mean that salespeople will be jobless.
Nowadays, people choose to buy (or not) a product by the reviews posted online about said product. Prospects are doing online research about the varieties of products that exist in the market. They are researching the products they believe will satisfy their needs. If the product has good comments and reviews it is very likely that the prospect will purchase it. “The process where the salesperson used an aggressive pitch with the buyer doesn't exist anymore” (Sales Hacker, 2018). If prospects don't want a sales rep that is aggressive and on top of that are doing all the research by themselves, then where does the salesperson fit in?
The new role of sales reps
It’s clear that roles have changed. Since buyers trust reviews and likes on web pages more than a salesperson in a store, sellers transformed into some sort of advisors. Sales Hacker (2018) points out that the role of the salesperson now is to establish a relationship with the prospect, understand what the prospects’ needs are, what are the challenges that it's facing at the moment and based on that information, explain to the prospect if the chosen product is the most accurate to satisfy its needs or to solve its problem. It is essential that the salesperson becomes an ally to the prospect. The sales reps need to listen to the client and help him find a solution to the challenges that arise in its business.
It doesn’t matter how technological our world becomes, a salesperson will always be necessary because “humans will always need emotional and rational help” (Steli Efti – founder and CEO of close.io) and that's the kind of help that only humans can give. Technology will continue to change sales reps' job. However, technology can't build a meaningful and trustworthy relationship with a prospect. Only humans can do that. Sales reps must forget the old way of selling and shall start listening to what clients are expressing. It is key that sales reps begin to understand their clients if they want to stay in the business. As Simon Sinek said, “if you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business”.