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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What Sales Leaders Need in Order to Excel Over Time

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Mon, Jan 21, 2019

Many countries have term limits for their leaders. The premise is that term-limited politicians will spend less time campaigning, amassing political power, and catering to special interests. Instead, they will focus on making policy, working for their constituents, and bringing fresh energy and ideas to government.


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How to Downsize Your Sales Force

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Fri, Apr 13, 2018

Many industries have had to downsize sales forces. There are several reasons for recent sales force job cuts: Shifting market dynamics are one cause, including changing customer needs, customer consolidation, new buying channels, and slowing market growth. Merck recently publicized that it planned to lay off about 1,800 U.S. sales reps following an industry-wide downsizing trend. The trend is attributed to the growth of digital communication channels and reduced access to physicians, who increasingly prefer to get product information online.


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