Every week, I am asked to participate in a number of interviews/webcast/discussions about the “Future of Selling.” My feed is filled with prognostications about the future of selling–and a surprising number of “gurus” with death wishes proclaiming selling is dead.
There are phenomenal changes–new technologies, shifts in global economies, social changes that have a profound impact on sellers. So there are huge changes happening that impact our futures and that of our profession.
But asking the question, “What’s The Future Of Selling,” is the wrong question to start with. We can’t begin to predict the future of selling until we begin to answer the question, “What’s The Future Of Buying?”
Until we understand how buying and buyers are changing, we don’t know how selling can and should change to best help buyers.
We have to be looking at:
- How buying is changing?
- How will they leverage new technologies, including AI and other tools? What will they find limiting about what those tools can do in helping them in their buying process?
- Where will they continue to struggles?
- What will they be doing to improve their confidence in what they are doing?
- What will they be doing to reduce their failures in change management projects and buying efforts?
- Where will they go to begin to recognize opportunities to change, improve, and grow?
- How do they recognize they have problems, where to they go to begin to better understand the problems and potential solutions?
- What are the key things they are doing to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in their change/buying processes?
- What will they be doing to get support for the change within their organizations and from management?
- How will they reconcile the competitive strains of maintaining the status quo and driving change?
- How will the leverage technologies to standardize and improve their buying processes?
- How will they…..
Buyers are looking at the future of buying, assessing how they can simplify and improve the processes as much as possible.
The other thing we see that will drive huge shifts in buying processes is the rise of strategic sourcing organizations. Sellers seem to be blind to the fact that sourcing and procurement are going through huge shifts. While getting the best price and negotiating agreements are important, they are recognizing their greatest impact is to help their internal customers make better decisions about improving their performance and success with complex change management/buying decisions. These organizations will be helping their internal customer improve their ability and success in making decisions in which they have high confidence.
And these functions will profoundly change the processes and will be leveraging technologies to help improve the success, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of their change/buying initiatives.
As a result, it is impossible to answer the question, “What is the future of selling,” without first considering “What is the future of buying?”