Four Bold Predictions about the Future of Selling and Sales 3.0

Gerhard Gschwandtner, founder of Selling Power, made four bold predictions for the future of selling this morning at the Sales 3.0 Conference.

Prediction #1: Over the next 10 years there will be more than 10,000 highly successful tech startups. They will have an innovative capacity that will far outstrip the leading companies.

Prediction #2: Half of the leading companies today will not exist 10 years from now.  The larger the company, the harder it is to be innovative. That is why startups scare many enterprise organizations. Gschwandtner quoted a study stating that 45% of execs are worried about their company’s future three-to-four years from now. Half of those executives said they have no idea where their industry is headed in the next five years. Innovation is a mandate in any company.

Prediction #3: All successful companies will be digital by 2020. This prediction is based on research from Forrester. This is the time to digitally transform, says Gschwandtner.

Prediction #4: Three million sales jobs will disappear in five years. More than half of those jobs will be due to technology, because technology can accomplish tasks better than salespeople. Many of these jobs will also be lost because sales will be outsourced to places like the Philippines, India, and Pakistan. Currently one million sales jobs have been outsourced to the Philippines.

How can sales leaders survive in an era where technology is replacing salespeople? Gschwandtner has a few key recommendations:

  • Make it a priority to achieve a 200% increase in sales in the next five years.
  • Cut headcount by 20%.
  • Learn to look at human performance through different eyes, and help people retain their humanity in a sea of advancing technological tools.

Gschwandtner tracked the origins of the Sales 3.0 movement, all the way from the Sales 1.0 era, when John Henry Patterson created the template for the way nearly all sales organizations evolved. Selling back then was about customer interactions and three-martini lunches. Then came the digital transformation and the Sales 2.0 era, which brought us cloud computing.

Now, in the Sales 3.0 era, we are not just struggling to manage technology. We are struggling to keep technology from taking over our lives. Gschwandtner quoted research showing that Internet Addiction Disorders are growing. More than 12 million Americans have an online addiction. Many employees are wasting time online (between 60-80% of their day, according to one study) instead of staying focused on work-related activities. Each year, Spam costs businesses $20 billion, and hackers cost businesses $100 billion.

As Gschwandtner said, salespeople need your leadership to understand how they can be effective and be clear about why they’re doing what they do each day. Sales 3.0 is bringing huge change to the sales profession — and sales teams are feeling those changes even more acutely than they did in the 2.0 era. The goal is to learn to balance technology with our humanity and our human selves, said Gschwandtner. As he said, the future depends on how well we integrate technology so that our world becomes more peaceful, our companies become more successful, and our lives become more meaningful.

Join us at a Sales 3.0 event in 2017! See a list of our upcoming conferences in Las Vegas and Philadelphia. 

About Lisa

Editorial Director at
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