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Nuzoo blog: Could the future see B2B sales teams being compensated for being less involved?

In the world of sales, one of the most common criteria upon which salespeople are compensated is how much they directly influenced a sale. The same, of course, applies to the IT channel.

However, with the huge shift over to digital platforms, are we now looking at this the wrong way? Could that approach now be less of a factor in a world that has moved away from face-to-face meetings and physical interactions?

Most B2B customers today are more than halfway through the buying process before even meeting with a company representative. Much of the B2B customer’s research takes place on social channels, with 60 percent of buyers preferring not to communicate with salespeople as their primary information source. The rise of B2B online marketplaces during the past 18 months have been good examples for the channel.

So, given this shift in purchasing behaviour and the move to digital sales channels, firms can no longer pay out based on old sales methods, says John Bruno, vice president, commerce strategy at digital sales platform PROSan AI-based platform that enables businesses to collaborate internally and externally, across all things product and pricing related.

“The role of a salesperson is ‘how much business did you close? I’m going to pay you based on the things that you directly touched.’ Now, imagine a world where sellers weren’t directly compensated for that?” explains John.

Indeed, he believes that there is an opportunity for salespeople to be rewarded for being less directly involved in B2B customers’ purchasing decisions.

“If you’re a B2B buyer and I’m the salesperson, imagine where part of my incentive is actually helping you to be more autonomous. Where a lot of those routine orders can be done on your own. I would say if I’m able to enable you in that way, I’m delivering a tremendous amount of value,” he says.

This enables two things happen for the salesperson, he says: “Either they’re able to do the same thing and look after a bigger book of business. And / or they’re able to focus their efforts on higher value interactions.”

John says that for a B2B customer purchasing from various sales channels, there are items that they might reorder on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, that they can do on their own. But when there’s a big purchase they can call the sales rep for more information or support. 

“Now, what I’m spending my energy and effort on as a salesperson is those bigger, more consultative things where you do truly need my help,” says John.

He maintains that despite consumers now seemingly shying away from traditional interactions with sales, B2B salespeople aren’t going anywhere – they just have to evolve.

“It’s a win-win for everybody; the buyers are able to go through the purchasing processes that are most relevant and germane to them during each interaction, and the salespeople are fairly compensated for their role in driving business growth. Salespeople are able to be more consultative and work on more exciting things in their book of business, and reach and support a growing number of customers.”

The past 18 months have disrupted many old ways of doing business – it will be interesting if is one more change that we will see.

Author: Christine Horton

Publish Date: 03/09/2021 11:37

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