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The End of Sales? (or Revenge of the Marketing Nerds)

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Have you heard this one?

Sales asks for support material.
Marketing supplies support material.
Sales doesn’t use support material.

I have. Many times. The reason for this could be that Marketing just keeps missing the mark, or it could be that Sales wants what can’t be delivered: a sure-fire short-cut to closing sales.

Here’s the irony. It appears that today the sales material being produced by marketing is threatening to put sales people out of a job.

According to a recent article on Quartz.com, the internet is making us poorer by hollowing-out the middle class. Jobs that used to be performed by real people (e.g. secretaries, phone operators, travel agents, bookkeepers) are now being done by interconnected technologies.

An unfortunate situation, but not that surprising, I guess. That was until I saw this chart:

The end of sales?

The article didn’t dwell on it, but the biggest change in employment over the last 30 years has been among sales reps! And that’s when I realized that I, and every other marketer, is contributing to the untimely demise of the sales rep.

Sales isn’t really going away, of course. Before a buyer makes a big purchase, they’re going to want to see the whites of someone’s eyes. But the role of the sales rep as first line of information is diminishing as most B2B buyers now prefer to be three-quarters of the way through their decision cycle before they speak to a rep. And the information/content that buyers are mining when they’re early in their decision cycle is being found on the web and is being supplied by marketing.

Content marketing is more important than ever (see an earlier post on The One-Minute Marketing Plan), and the role of marketing has moved downstream, closer to the actual sale. Marketing’s role has become one of knowledge facilitator for the buyer, rather than that of brochure-ware producer for the sales team, as may have been true in the past.

Revenge of the Marketing Nerds?  :)

About Drew Williams

My name is Drew Williams. I’m an author and marketing entrepreneur. “A what?”, you say. I call someone who’s passionate about building businesses a marketing entrepreneur. So that’s me. Full Profile | Google+

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