The future structure of B2B sales organizations

sales - 3/26/2020

The most successful sales organizations of the future will be the ones that does not have salespeople. This premise may be perceived as an utopia. But think of a school where there are no teachers where students lead themselves in a perfectly designed learning environment. Makes sense?

 Apart from being a salesman and managing sales teams as a consultant I have been working with sales people on sales problems and conundrums for more than 10 years. I am really in love with my profession which requires high degree of analytical skills blended with modeling process design to optimize sales effort to reach sustainable sales growth. Joy of redesigning the sales engine and how it will work always end up with extensive failure in execution with the sales teams. You should be happy and feel satisfied if you transfer your 10% of your plans into pure execution. I blamed the culture, the managers, the sales people themselves, traits of sales job and many other things. I tried many alternative ways such as carrot and stick, charming incentives, even forcing them to survival. Nothing seems to work really. Maybe it is time to reconsider the assumption of what we expect from salespeople which is servicing, persuasion and finding new customers. Why to bother struggling in a tug of war where no one can win? It is high time to rethink if salespeople can really persuade someone to buy or they can really find new customers by their individual effort. Maybe the solution is to draw salespeople back to their basic function: “to serve customers”.

If you rip off the functions one by one which are vital to running a company you will end up with one: “the product design”. This is the core competency of which the modern company will survive on. Traditional taxonomy of managerial realms like sales, marketing, finance, HR or even production is becoming obsolete. You do not design a product then find out how to market or sell. You should integrate all these into your design from the very beginning. You should design and integrate your sales arguments to push your customers in buying process, go-to-market strategy, pricing, competitive strategy right into your product essence from the beginning. If you have difficulty in generating enough leads, bad cash flow or low sales conversion rates you should go back to drawing room in product design. All these issues should be solved in the product itself.

Boundaries between B2B and B2C are blurring. B2B companies have much to learn from B2C product champions.

Product design transcends beyond the product itself and should integrally solve all these sales and marketing issues in the product itself. Product design dissolves all the other disciplines like financial success, market penetration, customer satisfaction.

Salespeople should transform into service providers and problem solvers who guide the costumers through their needs to meet and trying to reduce to ease predictable frictions through the buying process.

In this new paradigm of no sales organization there are no sales people, no sales quotas, no effort to sell but effectively designed desirable product with integral links to customers. Try to visualize a new no sales organization where the tasks of previous sales people are solved in the product itself. Prior salespeople are front line contact people with customers. They are not spending energy in persuasion zone, just serving customers. B2B companies are designing experience centers where customers have fun learning the benefits of the product. Bottleneck experts are trying to decrease buying friction. Customer profilers are constantly evaluating and updating customer profiles. Channel managers are simplifying buying process. Pareto specialists are optimizing customer portfolio strategy. Voice of customer team is defending the customer insight in everything the company does. Value packers is in direct contact with value communicators to convey the best core message to customers. Competition watchers provide valuable insights to product design team and ready made competition analysis directly to customers. Process optimizers spend their time to simplify all the steps and interactions with the customer. ROI experts prepare the pitch if there will be one. Disruptive artists participate every project team to revolutionize the customer perception. EQ experts contribute a more humanly experience. Over all integrity guards equalize all the particular actions and enable the company stick to main strategy. Sales people? No sales people at all.

 

Emre Yildirim

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