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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