Selling products and offerings to consumers is one thing, but engaging in trade with other businesses is where the real skill – and huge profits – can lie. However, more enterprises than ever are actually shifting away from the practice, and their workforces are being trimmed accordingly.
Technological change and automation
To that end, figures collated by Forrester Research suggest that over 1 million business to business (B2B) salespeople will lose their jobs by 2020 in the US alone. Like so many other issues in the business world, this is predominantly due to technological and digital change.
Data from Forrester suggested that 75 per cent of companies looking to engage in B2B purchases want to do so online, but only 25 per cent of suppliers are ready and able to furnish them in this way.
However, more organisations are expected to recognise this trend and thus, the number of people needed to act as B2B 'salespeople' will be massively reduced, as self-service enterprise e-commerce solutions become the norm.
Are B2B sales still effective?
Bargaining other businesses rather than consumers has its advantages, as the former are ready and able to deal with much of the process on their own, and will have a firm idea of what they want from any deal.
"In the B2B environment, buyers get through about 50 to 60 per cent of the sales process on their own – before ever engaging a potential provider," explained Qvidian CEO Lewis Miller, in an interview with Forbes.
Consequently, the B2B sales process can actually be more streamlined, and will only be made easier as the aforementioned technological change automates even more of it.
Engaging with other businesses should be planned for ahead of time, and can be a key element in any strategy mapping. In doing this, the wider enterprise can get a better appreciation of any B2B sales drive, and further contribute in efforts to unlock even more value from each transaction.