The Enterprise Sales Rep Is Not DeadThe Enterprise Sales Rep Is Not Dead
A friend recently predicted to me that the traditional outside field-based sales rep role would be dead in five years. That's hard for me to grasp, especially since I have worked with so many talented sales reps over the years. They were the lifeblood of most every major software company. But will they be irrelevant sometime in the near future?
April 3, 2009
By Scott Dahlgren
A friend recently predicted to me that the traditional outside field-based sales rep role would be dead in five years. That’s hard for me to grasp, especially since I have worked with so many talented sales reps over the years. They were the lifeblood of most every major software company. But will they be irrelevant sometime in the near future?
While I don’t think it will be that devastating, there is certainly a major shift underway that will significantly reduce the numbers of outside sales people and the relevance of that role. The major driver behind this change is the broader acceptance and adoption of open source.
The VAR Guy discussed last July how open source ISVs might out-innovate the “old school” closed source ISVs because it is hard to compete with a model that uses free resources and an engaged community of users to develop and drive the direction of your product. (But on the other hand, The VAR Guy has conceded many open source companies may not succeed because they haven’t figured out how to monetize their software.)
Still, it is increasingly difficult for traditional closed source ISVs to compete with a sales model where users and the community sell and market your product to other users (the viral effect) and where users use their time (not yours) to evaluate and determine if the technology is right for them. They can play with open source and get community answers to all their questions without bothering the salesman.
Not Dead, Just Different
Now here’s the twist: The outside sale role isn’t going away, it is just moving from the software vendor to solution partners.
The new sales model for open source ISVs will consist of self-service online sales, a highly competent and professional inside sales team, and a committed partner channel that provides sales coverage as well as professional services to develop, implement, and train customers anywhere in the world. The smart vendors will look to their partners, not as an afterthought (which is all too often the case) but as a strategic component to their success.
Those companies will:
depend on those partners to become their outside field based sales reps and they will expect those partners to be committed to deliver on revenue expectations.
depend on partners to create awareness and actively generate demand for their solution.
require partners to have the skills, competency and certifications to deliver their products successfully.
expect partners to fill the role traditionally held by the outside field sales rep and those partners will add top talent to their team in order to differentiate themselves from others.
Partners who step up to the challenge will be rewarded well. So to the outside sales rep, your skills and job aren’t dead, they are just needed by partners now.
Contributing blogger Scott Dahlgren is an independent consultant helping small and mid-size technology companies extract greater value from their partner and channel relationships. And he also runs marathons through the woods of Connecticut. Here are all of Scott’s blog entries. The VAR Guy is updated multiple times daily. Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe to his newsletter, RSS feed, Twitter feed and Resource Center.
You May Also Like
AWS re:Invent Partner, Vendor News: Cisco, Salesforce, MoreDec 01, 2023
People on the Move: Comcast, Cisco, NICE, TPx, Barracuda, MoreNov 29, 2023
AWS re:Invent 2023 Partner News: Marketplace, Salesforce, Certs, MoreNov 29, 2023
AWS re:Invent Expo: VMware, Snyk, HPE, More Showcase Cloud, Security, AINov 28, 2023