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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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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Seven Ways Sales Teams Can Set Better Goals

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

Most sales forces use sales goals to focus attention on what’s important and give salespeople direction about what to do. Goals energize people and encourage them to keep going. Very often, companies link sales force incentive pay to goal achievement. This makes effective goal setting essential for directing and motivating sales teams and controlling sales compensation costs.


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How to Reduce the Costs of Salesperson Turnover

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Tue, Nov 21, 2017

Even the best sales forces can’t keep every good salesperson. Loss of salespeople to competitors occurs frequently in high-growth industries in which the demand for experienced salespeople exceeds the supply, such as in fast-evolving technology markets. Poaching of salespeople also occurs when sales are driven largely by relationships. For example, wealth management companies frequently recruit advisors who have built a strong book of business at competitive firms.


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Sales Data Only Matters If It Helps You Take Action

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Mon, Oct 27, 2014


In sales, as everywhere else in business, there is a buzz about big data and analytics. Vendors hype tools and mobile applications to help sales forces make sense of it all, while touting case studies that generated impressive improvements in sales force effectiveness.



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