Selling Is Going Inside – Isn’t It? Time for a Debate!

Over the past couple of months, I have written extensively on what I believe is “the future of professional selling.” Unsurprisingly, I have been regularly mis-quoted, quite simply because we all tend to scan headlines, and interpret to suit our own needs.

The fact remains, that I am not predicting “Armageddon”

I do not see a time when there will be no need for professional salesmen and women!

But what I am suggesting is that many sales roles will disappear over the next three to five years, as their products and solutions become “commoditized”

My definition of a commodity sale? Let’s keep it simple and say anything that can be purchased with a credit card.

I also believe that whilst those sales professionals operating at a consultative/collaborative/strategic level can anticipate that their significance will increase; most other sales roles will either become unnecessary, or they will move inside – simple economics will determine that, it is not rocket-science, and I am not alone in my thinking …

“Customers everywhere increasingly prefer virtual interactions with sellers. Trend data reveal that sales organizations are shifting resources from outside to inside sales. Inside sales growth is 30% faster than their outside sales counterparts. The number of Inside Sales departments is projected to grow from 800,000, in 2009, to over 2 million in 2013.”

Dave Stein CEO ES Research (You can read the entire post HERE)

“Over the past few decades, selling has changed. The changes have been incremental, giving salespeople time to adjust. Not so today. The degree and speed of change in the sales world over the past two years is revolutionary — in how, why, and when customers buy and, therefore, in how you sell.

Selling has been turned on its head, and sales organizations are trying to catch up. If you have any doubts about the magnitude of change, just think about your level of control over the last major retail purchase you made and multiply that by twenty, and you will have a sense of the revolution in buying that is going on with your customers. The revolution has created a shift of control — away from you as a seller and toward your customer.”

Linda Richardson, Best Selling Author and Founder and Executive Chairwoman of Richardson

“Inside sales has never been more important, and it seems like every minute brings new changes. Keeping up, staffing up, and preparing for the coming year has never been more important — and for that, you need the inside track. Our trend report is 100% accurate — loaded with great advice on tactics, tools and talent that will keep you on track and ahead of the curve.”

Josiane Feigon, President of TeleSmart (Download her FREE Inside Sales Trend Report HERE)

And most radically of all …

“There are currently 18 million sales professionals in the USA, by 2020, there will only be 3.6 million”

Gerhard Gschwandtner, Selling Power

So, with all of that in mind, it is probably an appropriate time to have a debate, and over at FOCUS, they have organized one.

Here are the details …

Where are the sales jobs of the future?

Some surveys project a tremendous reduction in sales job—going from roughly 19 Million today to 3 Million in 2020.

Is the need for sales people declining?

Where will the sales jobs of the future be—will they be direct field sales, will they increasing shift to inside sales, will they move to the web?

Join Trish Bertuzzi, Jonathan Farrington, Linda Richardson and Dave Brock for a discussion on where the jobs will be.

Among the topics we will discuss are:

– What’s the outlook for jobs in professional selling over the next several years?

– Is sales a great career path?

– Are the jobs shifting inside?

– Will inside sales be the dominant deployment model of the future?

– How should do we determine the “right” sales deployment model for our organization?

– As we look at changing our sales deployment model, what are the critical success factors in migrating from one to the other (for example going from field sales to inside sales)?

– What are the top 3 new skills sales professionals need to develop to be successful in the new world of selling?

Focus Roundtable Free Online Event Thursday March 8, 2012 9 am PT (5 pm GMT) Register HERE

Hope you can make it – it’s going to be very interesting!


News: Top tips today from … over at Top Sales World: “Are You Easy to Refer?” from Colleen Stanley and over at Top Sales Management: “Make Hiring a Choice -Not a Need!” from my good chum and globe-trotter, Keith Rosen



  1. Reader says

    But what I am suggesting is that many sales roles will disappear over the next three to five years, as their products and solutions become “commoditized”

    “within five years, just 5% of external salespeople will remain”


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