Perhaps it’s time for a re-think of “Death of a Salesman.” After two decades of talk about the “new economy” and the “disruption” of certain professions by the Internet, you might think that sales as we know it is as stale and outdated as Willy Loman — a function that has been “disintermediated” by the digital revolution.
In fact, reports of the death of sales are not just exaggerated; they are wrong. To paraphrase a line from Arthur Miller’s play, “Attention must still be paid.” The sales force remains a force. True, the digital impact on business has been significant and, in some industries, revolutionary. But companies that view sales as just part of the plumbing do so at their peril. Consider:
Annual spending by U.S. companies on their field sales efforts is three times the amount spent on all consumer advertising, more than 20 times what they spend on all online media, and more than one hundred times what they currently spend on social media.