How Sales Teams Can Thrive in a Digital World

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Wed, Feb 19, 2020

Since the dawn of the internet era, experts have predicted that technology will replace salespeople, and it’s easy to find examples. From 2005 to 2017, U.S. pharmaceutical companies slashed one-third of their salespeople, while the use of digital information sources (email, podcasts, mobile apps, websites) grew. From 2009 to 2019, industrial supply distributor W.W. Grainger cut more than a quarter of its branch locations and numerous field sales jobs. Since the mid-1990s, Grainger had been investing in digital capabilities to supplement its network of branch stores and salespeople. By 2019, Grainger’s purely online “endless assortment” business was 15% of sales and growing. Grainger’s still dominant “high-touch solutions” business deployed a combination of field and inside sales forces, and digital channels against the largest customers. Meanwhile, Amazon’s industrial products distribution business, launched in 2015, was already half the size of Grainger’s in North America.


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Why Every Sales and Marketing Team Needs a 'Boundary Spanner'

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Thu, Dec 05, 2019

Dharmendra Sahay was a co-author on this blog post. 

Advances in data, technology and analytics continue to bring new opportunities for improving sales and marketing effectiveness. Digital capabilities have evolved from descriptive (reporting what happened), to diagnostic (understanding why), to predictive (projecting what will happen if), to prescriptive (recommending what to do). But the road to realizing value continues to be bumpy.


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What Is a Customer Success Manager?

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Wed, Nov 20, 2019

When a business buyer makes an initial purchase from a seller, it’s only the start of the value exchange between the two. Most of the mutual value accrues over time as the customer benefits and both continues and expands purchasing.


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Technology Is Blurring the Line Between Field Sales and Inside Sales

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Thu, Oct 03, 2019

Field sales and inside sales have traditionally had their own domains. Field salespeople did the heavy-lifting, working with customers in person. Inside salespeople sold over the telephone and web, and were responsible for the uncomplicated products, small and remotely located customers, and simpler sales tasks, such as lead generation and renewals.


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Yes, Freemium Businesses Need Salespeople

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Wed, Sep 04, 2019

Companies such as Dropbox, Zoom Video Communications, LinkedIn and Slack Technologies use a "freemium" business model. They offer a free basic version of their product and count on customers to pay for upgrades to premium versions. Freemium business models have grown rapidly in popularity with tech companies. But do such freemium companies need salespeople?


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