As often quoted Sales has been one of the oldest profession in the world. From the time the cave man produced that extra bushel of wheat to present day when multiple touch points are needed before a customer is ready to make a purchase.

In an earlier era when a Sales representative was the custodian of information, from product literature to pricing information everything was controlled by a sales rep. To present day when information is available at the click of a button. Sales representative job function has undergone a sea change.

Earlier two of the matrixes that were considered invaluable for a successful salesman, was a huge rolodex that gave him/her access to a customer information on his fingertips and an always be closing attitude where the convincing power played a critical role in the success of a salesman.

Those days are long gone, as famously promoted by Hubspot, “Cold Calling is dead”. The success of a salesman is no longer dependent upon his/her ability to make hundreds of calls in a day, but the ability for his ability to empathize with his/her client’s business needs and the ability to address his requirement in a seamless manner.

The transition of a sales rep from the cave man era to Iron man scenario lies especially to this. The present day sales rep is no longer hunting with stones and axe, in fact she/he is no longer hunting at all. What a present day sales rep is doing is generating insight into his target customer profile and is reaching out to his  target persona at the  right time with the right message.

In the present day generating data into your target customer persona is no longer a complex task. Remember an era when the only way to reach out to your target audience was through television and print advertising, this was more akin to a shot gun approach.

When a brand runs a superbowl ad it can hope to reach more than 100 million consumers. But when we look at targeted marketing, building a call to action through this ad is going to be very difficult. A reason most of the brands use a Superbowl ad as an entertainer a brand building exercise, with exceptions being categories like beer, which see a spike in purchase post there SuperBowl ad run.

What choices are left with a modern corporation. The go to market strategy for brands like Uber and AirBnb, did not rely on traditional user acquisition strategy. For example, Uber customer acquisition, especially in its early days was driven in large part by network effects and incentivizing new users.

In this changed paradigm let’s look at the qualities and tools that a modern day sales rep has-

  1. Signals- A great sales rep has access to tool that help him/her gain access to information that predicts user behaviour. Take an example of a lead lying in a corporations CRM. If a sales rep is able to get quick insight into a merger that has recently happened, they can identify use cases of their solution that help corporation address integration challenges.


Because this data is lying in the CRM we can assume that a degree of communication has already been established between ther two corporations.


  1. Predict Outcome- In a highly competitive scenario sales reps are chasing multiple opportunities at a given point in time. Solutions like can help a corporation predict outcome and help them manage the sales pipeline more effectively.
  2. Personalization- Sales is no longer about canned responses to every question. Big Data and Machine learning are the secret weapons in a modern day sales representative arsenals. When a website visitor clicks on a website link in an email to reach a corporation’s website, they no longer need to be directed to a generic home page, but a customized webpage that has been customized for that target audience.

Modern day tools can transform an average sales person to realize their full potential and become a Rock star. Certainly the time for the old school sales reps is limited other than in industries that still require a deeply personal relationship to tech averse demography, think someone selling investment advise to old people

For sure most of the sales reps who shy away from these modern tools and practices will find it difficult to survive. The time for the modern day Iron Man is here and the time is now

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