The resurrection of the b2b salesperson infographic - Forrester and SalesForLife

The US B2B sales force is declining. Well, some of the sales force. Sales for Life leveraged Forrester’s extensive research on the new role of salespeople in the age of the digitally-driven customer to create an infographic that illustrates how companies can adapt.

Excerpt from Sales for Life infographic

The graphic flips the narrative that B2B sales is dead. Yes, one million jobs will be gone in just four years, but not all of them:

The resurrection of the b2b salesperson infographic - Forrester and SalesForLife
Excerpt from Sales for Life infographic

That’s right—the need for consultants isn’t just not shrinking. It’s actually growing.

Let’s briefly define what all the different types of salespeople are, with a little help from Forrester:

b2b sales archetypes - Forrester

Source: Inflexion-Point

  • Order Takers: They sell a simple solution type in a simple buying environment. Their customers might not even need a salesperson, and could potentially purchase online without one. If their buyers need to talk to a salesperson, there conversations likely aren’t very complex.
  • Explainers: This type of salesperson sells a more complex solution or product, but they still have a simple buying environment. The buyer can navigate stakeholders and budgets internally, but they don’t know enough about the product to make a decision on their own.
  • Navigators: This time, the solution is fairly simple, but the buying environment isn’t. The salesperson helps the buyer navigate various stakeholders and budgets to get to actually purchasing the product.
  • Consultants: These are the survivors who are going to grow. They sell a complex product in a complex buying environment, often to committees or groups rather than a single buyer. Those buyers need the seller’s assistance on multiple fronts—what they need, who to buy it from and how to navigate a labyrinth of decisions and approvals.

So, the big question that B2B salespeople are probably asking: am I a consultant? Sales for Life and Forrester outline six key traits of consultants:

  1. Embraces technology
  2. Shares new ideas
  3. Exhibits business acumen
  4. Communicates effectively
  5. Seeks collaboration
  6. Leverages data

Sales consultants aren’t going to be right for every industry. As Sales for Life points out, 62 percent of all salespeople in 2020 will still be order takers or explainers. The trick is that industries that need consultants and need navigators are equipping their people with the right tools for sales transformation and aren’t pigeonholing them into the wrong group of salespeople.

Check out the full infographic below. To learn more about how companies can empower sales reps to be consultants, watch Mediafly and Forrester’s free hour-long webinar.

The resurrection of the b2b salesperson infographic - Forrester and SalesForLife