Influence people

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In the Year 2020

Here's a startling prediction: according to Gartner, by 2020, corporate buyers will manage 85 percent of their supplier relationships without once interacting with a salesperson.

Salespeople used to serve as the face of a companya prospective buyer's first contact with the brand.

No more.  As Jon Miller, CMO of marketing-automation provider Marketo, writes in his firm's blog, "Today, buyers create their own brand preference by conducting research online, particularly within their own social networks, before they even touch base with a sales rep."

What does the trend mean?

Companies have to change how they use both marketers and salespeople.

In a few years, online content will be the only way to reach nearly 9 out of 10 prospects.  So marketers, for all purposes, will present the "face" of the company until the crucial moment of decision, when salespeople step forward (and, with luck, cinch the deal).

"Unless companies begin to sell the way their customers want to buy," Miller warns, "they might as well write a prescription for their own failure."

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