The Inevitable Death of the B2B Salesperson. It’s Sooner Than You Think

By January 12, 2016Sales Process, Social Selling

This is an excellent infographic reflecting the Death of the B2B Salesman.

If you have the opportunity to download Forrester’s report – “Death of a (B2B) Salesman” – by Andy HoarPeter O’Neill and others –  it includes a wealth of information regarding the death & and resurrection of the sales person, including content supporting the age of “digital sales enablement”. Today I am going to focus on one segment of the report, the 4 types of the B2B seller in relation to the 4 types of the B2B buyer.

Forrester recently predicted that 1 million B2B sales people are going to lose their jobs by 2020 in the US alone. 1 MILLION B2B Sales People… and it’s all due to the increasing disconnect between B2B buying and traditional B2B sales processes. Buyers are more digitally savvy than sellers right now and it’s the responsibility of every organization to get their business development teams up to speed as quickly as possible. The ironic part is that all sellers are buyers! Which means they understand how to “google” products and services they are interested in, research them on-line, and perhaps make the purchase on-line as well (in the most basic form of the B2B buying process, but you understand the point).

Forrester visualized the 4 distinct quadrants of the B2B Buyer Archetypes and matched them to the B2B Sales Types.

 Forrester pairs the “Serve Me” buyers to the “Order Taker” sales person. The “Serve Me” buyers usually are simple sales and simple buying environments and may or may not involve any type of human interaction. Forrester projects a 33% termination by 2020 as these sales people will be replaced with technology and digital capabilities.

Forrester pairs the “Show Me” buyers” to the “Explainer” sales person. The “Show Me” buyers usually have a complex product, but the buying process is relatively basic. These buyers need more help than on-line research in order to understand the product/service. The “Explainer” sales person provides the information needed in order to make a well-informed decision. Forrester projects a 25% termination with the “Explainer”.

Forrester pairs the “Guide Me” buyers to the “Navigator” sales person. These buyers know what they want, but need assistance in budget resources, navigating the process. Forrester projects a 15% termination with the “Navigator” by 2020.

And finally, Forrester pairs the “Enlighten Me” buyers to the “Consultant” Sales Person. This reflects both a complex product/service as well as a complex buying/sales cycle. The consultants are the thought leaders, influencers, product and process knowledge subject matter experts, and the only sales person type that is expected to grow by 2020. The projection is a 10% growth.

What does this tell us?

It is now more important than ever to combine human and digital resources. It is our responsibility to evolve into a balanced process that will provide a significant advantage over the next few years. Evolve or die. Those are the choices.

B2B Companies that want to evolve must change their fundamental sales strategy and start rethinking the role that their salespeople play.

Digital channels are here to stay. Buyers and sellers alike are using them to complete transactions. Yet many B2B companies can’t let go of the fact that sales reps will no longer be needed to complete an actual purchase. The majority of B2B buyers are educating themselves through on-line channels, or they know exactly what they want. It’s time to deliver the digitally enables B2B sales model. Social selling is the evolution of sales.

Which one of these quadrants does your sales team most mirror? Which of these quadrants does your buyer most mirror? What will you do to impact change?


  • Be the first to give to your new business relationships
  • Always pay it forward
  • Network with purpose.


Good luck and good networking! Remember… It’s All About Leverage.

Contact Bobbie for more information on Social Selling process training.

Don’t forget to check out our website for our suite of services!


About Bobbie

Bobbie specializes in helping executives as well as sales & marketing teams maximize client acquisition through the intersection of face-to-face networking combined with social selling techniques. Her customized programs and processes not only help in building the right network of prospects, clients, referral partners, and centers of influence, but also provide techniques to become thought leaders in their industry and stay top of mind with their targets.

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