First came the prediction that one million B2B sales jobs (mostly transactional "order takers") would be net displaced by 2020. Now new research from Forrester estimates that $1.1 trillion in B2B sales will take place over the internet by the very same year.
This doesn't come as a shock considering buyers' preference for buying online. According to a Sullivan survey, 88% of executives purchase business products online today. More surprising was the fact that 49% actually based their decision on what offering was easier to buy virtually.
Do stats like this toll the death knell for sales? Maybe for old school "order taker" salespeople, but certainly not for the category as a whole. Andy Hoar, principal analyst at Forrester, argued that there will actually be an increase in consultative salespeople in the future, who can explain abstract concepts and help buyers tackle business problems. Reps who'd like to have a job in the coming years would be wise to start developing their consultative skills now.
However, the upshot for businesses is clear -- if your company doesn't allow buyers to purchase online, leadership needs to start thinking about ecommerce today. If not, you could get left in the dust.