HARDISON’S TIPS – AUGUST 4, 2020 – ARE OUTSIDE SALES PROFESSIONALS STILL NEEDED?
1. Size of the Purchase
Specifically, where the purchase is a big-ticket item, the chances of the purchaser making that decision without a live relationship with the seller is less likely. Where the purchase decision is smaller, the likelihood of a salesperson-less decision is far greater.
Let me give you an example. I’ve done a lot of work in the woodworking equipment industry. I’ve worked with dozens of companies who sold sophisticated equipment that cut and drilled desktops, for example, and cost the purchaser hundreds of thousands of dollars. A manufacturer considering a $500,000 equipment purchase is going to continue to want to see and know – face-to-face – the person from whom he is considering buying.
On the other hand, if he is buying a $50 band saw blade by the dozen, he will have no interest in spending time with a visiting salesperson.
The issue here is the size of the purchase decision. For example, a manufacturer may decide to use a $2.00 component. But, if he signs a contract for one million of those over a two-year period, the buying decision is formidable.
2. Intricacy of the Sales Process
For example, automotive manufacture deciding on the vendor for a couple of components to a new automobile. Lots of engineers must sign off on the deal, as do multiple levels of purchasing people. It is an involved, heavily hands-on buying process. While the cost of the individual item may be pennies, the risk of making a mistake is huge, and purchasers reduce the risk with multiple layers of buying requirements.
3. Sophistication of the Customer
This one works in the opposite direction. Where the customer is sophisticated, the likelihood of them utilizing a vendor’s field salesperson is less likely. Where the customer is less sophisticated, the likelihood of a field salesperson being a necessary part of the buying decision is enhanced.
I have a number of clients in the building materials industry, for example. If the customer is a rural, mom and pop retail lumber yard, that customer will be more likely to favorably view live outside visits. If the buyer is a multi-state developer of new residential communities, and therefore much more sophisticated, the likelihood is they can get by just fine without a vendor’s field salesperson.
The bottom line is this: There are very few absolute answers. It is a matter of degree. The degree to which your field salesforce is obsolete depends on your customers.
So, if your customer is relatively unsophisticated, your product is relatively expensive, and your sales process more involved, your outside salespeople will probably only feel some pressure to do more of their work – rather than all of it – remotely.
If, however, your customer is relatively sophisticated, your product relatively inexpensive, and your sales process simpler, your traditional outside salespeople are probably obsolete.
From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer. Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.
Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. ShopSmartAutos.com took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.
Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit RichieBelloBlogs.com. https://www.itworld.com/article/2783373/gm-warns-dealers-about-working-with-pure-play-online-auto-sellers.html