SALES SELLING

ADAPT OR DIE: PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS FOR THE RISE OF SALES 4.0

Technology is making the clock tick faster

Did you know that nearly two decades after the introduction of the Edison Central Generating Station, just 5% of the power used in factories was electric?

This incredible new source of energy was readily available, yet virtually no one saw its transformative potential. And it took several more decades before a majority of business leaders were willing to embrace it fully.

Such sluggishness is very much the rule with technology: innovation is possible far before most of us are able to imagine what it could do for us. 

But this is a serious problem. Because as every business that took too long to embrace electricity soon discovered, failing to adapt to new technology will quickly render your business obsolete.

Nowhere is this truer today than B2B sales. 

For several years now, we have had the technological basis for a more effective sales process. But according to Salesforce, just 20% of companies have all the marketing and sales technology they need and make full use of it. Which means the vast majority of businesses are losing out simply because they lack imagination and urgency. 

Now, we could say that this is not such a big deal: most of these companies seem to be getting along just fine. But that’s where the problem arises. Because we’re currently in the process of entering a new phase of technological acceleration – and that means businesses are at serious risk of getting left behind.

The evolution of sales has been steady – until now.

As new technology emerges, what is possible changes. At Ampli, we break down the trajectory of B2B sales down into distinct historical phases:

Sales 1.0 

1980s/90s

Back when technology was either too expensive or too cumbersome to have a real impact on sales teams. This was the era of the Yellow Pages and traditional networking, when the idea of buyers getting through 95% of their customer journey unaided seemed like science fiction. 

Sales 2.0 

Late 90s/Early 00s

As the internet started to take off, it finally made sense for B2B sales to go online. But while there was a burgeoning awareness that messaging could be targeted and data leveraged in exciting new ways, it was still very much an era dominated by the Black Book and traditional analogue sales strategies. 

Sales 3.0 

2010-2020

This is the era when digital sales really crept to the fore. Businesses began to introduce remote selling, and understand the efficiency and effectiveness of inbound marketing. We started to see an increasing focus on sales enablement, as well early Account Based marketing (ABM) approaches – with some businesses even introducing AI. 

But this is where things start to get complex. After several decades of steady growth and the gradual introduction of digital to the mix, we’re starting to see technology completely take over – and accelerate the rate of change dramatically.

Introducing Sales 4.0

In the coming decade, we’re going to see the full realisation of what we call “Sales 4.0”. It will be characterised by fully matured AI systems that power the entire B2B sales process. And rather than following on seamlessly from “Sales 3.0” in the way previous eras have, it is going to be an extremely disruptive transition.

We will begin to see ABM driven solely by sophisticated automated systems; an exponential rise in remote selling that will enable sales teams to scale like never before; and automated decision making that enables sales and marketing to be connected in ways legacy systems have prohibited.

In the past, businesses have been able to ‘opt out’ of technology. Well into the 2010s, plenty of businesses were operating as if the internet was a mere afterthought and technology a ‘nice to have it’ extra. But in “Sales 4.0”, it will truly be a case of  “adapt or die”.

It’s time to start evolving

This might sound pessimistic or exaggerated. But there is no value in sugar coating reality. A small handful of firms have already begun their transition to “Sales 4.0”, and that means competitors have a finite amount of time to catch up before their lead becomes unassailable. 

The next few years will be absolutely pivotal, in large part because these dominant new technologies are not simple “plug and play”. It takes time, strategy and know-how to implement a truly mature, effective AI system; you can’t simply wake up in 2024 and decide it’s time to take the plunge. 

This is why Ampli exists: to help businesses adapt their B2B sales capabilities for the new era of competition – before it’s too late. So if you’re one of the lucky few capable of truly seeing the transformation we’re in the midst of – reach out to Ampli today.

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