The B2B sales role – still going strong

# 59 – 2019-10-11


In our home country Sweden, a country that prides itself on a high degree of automation, the number of B2B salespeople remains the same even if there is strong growth in e-commerce.

According to recent labor statistics from Statistics Sweden, B2B salesperson is the fourth most common occupation in the country with 90,000 employed. Among men it is even topping the charts with 66,000 employed. Furthermore, these numbers have been growing since 2007, mirroring the development of the economy as a whole (GDP), in spite of predictions of decline for many years.

But does it mean that the B2B sales role will stay unaffected by e-commerce in the future? No, it doesn’t. We have seen changes for a long time where e-commerce plays a role in many phases of a sales cycle. In particular servicing customers in a post-agreement phase, supplying direct material and consumables.

The numbers above suggest that, up till now, e-commerce has been more of a complement to the traditional sales role. And where there has been outright displacement of sales people in favor of e-commerce, those transactional sales roles seem to have been replaced by more consultative sales roles.

For those of you who already have our book “Managing the sales organization – for the digital age”, the first chapter illustrates how you can think about approaching the market with different channels depending on: