Are we looking at the death of the B2B salesman?

25 May 2018

Ankur Godre

Ankur Godre

Senior SAP C/4HANA Solutions Architect

SAP C/4HANA – that slips off the tongue a bit more nicely that the "Hybris portfolio", doesn’t it? And it’s not just a name change but a huge commitment from SAP to invest further in the platform. So let's take a closer look.

As my colleague Thierry Crifasi noted, Hasso Plattner was quoted at SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG Annual Conference having said: "C/4HANA is the largest investment within SAP by far by number of developers". With this commitment from SAP, I explore the current state of customer engagement; where we may be headed next and the implications for the B2B salesman.

Today we are living in the digital world – what it means for organisations is that they are dealing with customers who are, alas, always ‘on’; they’re on the go, they can quickly change their choices and preferences. In a B2C environment, customers can be quick to make decisions about your brand based on convenience – take the recent closure of Toys R’ Us and the announcement that Marks and Spencer will be closing 'more than 100 outlets' according to The Guardian. The highstreet is suffering because people are shopping online instead. 

Customers of today expect organisations to be predictive, intelligent and always ahead in serving them rather than reactive to their actions. As we see the so-called death of the high street, will we start to see the same in the B2B environment with the death of the salesman? As in, will we start to see organisations trying to cut the sales person out of the process as technology becomes more advanced?

With the rise of technologies such as AI, machine learning and predictive analytics, everyday tasks of the salesman will cease to exist; prioritising meeting with prospects, scheduling calls and forecasting to name a few. So, what next for the salesman? Let’s explore this further…
 

The B2B sales team – the reality

Rather than the sales person becoming extinct the common reality is that, in the B2B space at least, their worth is increasing. The ability to develop long-standing relationships is of paramount importance to the growth of the business. The only thing holding sales teams back is the countless hours spent on the mundane and boring tasks. Allow me to explain.

For sales teams to be a step ahead of their customers, it’ critical for them to have right insights into sales pipeline. This enables them to forecast more effectively, to identify low propensity to purchase vs high propensity ones, thus enabling them to direct their focus accordingly.

Ultimately, this means they can make intelligent decisions for opportunities and increase their closure rate. Completing this process manually (with right accuracy at the same time) seems almost an impossible task. More importantly, it’s a process that kills precious time, which can otherwise be used to deal with customers in person to create a meaningful impact.


Your sales weaponry 

So, what’s out there to help the salesperson ‘cut the crap’ so to speak; cut out the mundane and do more of the relationship building?

Well SAP is already at the fore, providing solutions to hand time back to sales teams. SAP Hybris Sales Cloud’s sophisticated machine learning algorithms, for example, helps in opportunity scoring. This allows sales teams to automatically derive high propensity opportunities and de-prioritise low propensity opportunities. This saves a lot of precious time for sales teams. Importantly, it also provides the accuracy and relevant insight required to deliver on opportunities which result in orders. 

For sales reps, they need a single centralised system which can be accessed whenever they want, wherever they want, online or offline. The system still should provide them with all relevant insights and data about a Customer they need to close a deal faster.
With the acquisition of CallidusCloud, SAP C/4HANA Sales Cloud solution closed the only gap it had in terms of configure price quote functionality – SAP Sales Cloud is on track to become the most robust end-to-end sales automation system, right from lead-to-cash capability to seamless backend SAP S/4HANA / SAP ERP system integration for a true 360 degree customer experience.

This enables them to sell more (and faster) whilst also creating a seamless experience for customers. This results in more customer success, retention and, ultimately, more business for organisations. Here’s a brief summary of the benefits of SAP C/4HANA Sales cloud solution in conjunction with its machine learning capabilities:
  • Accelerated sales
  • Higher conversion rates
  • AI/ML driven sales insights
  • Better pipeline health
  • Accurate forecasting
As mentioned at the beginning, the new capabilities allow sales teams to spend more time with customers armed with intelligent, accurate and relevant insights rather than doing the admin / data entry work and banging their heads to derive intelligence and accurate insights from customer opportunity data.

SAP C/4HANA Sales Cloud with its machine learning / AI driven automation capabilities is just another effective way of using technology to enable teams to collaborate more effectively.
 
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About the author

Ankur Godre

Senior SAP C/4HANA Solutions Architect

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race