The web has disrupted the sales process, as well as just about everything else in our world.
Just think about differences between how the process works now, and how it used to work.
It now starts with a web search by a prospective buyer, after a team has identified the opportunity, scoped it, and developed specifications that need to be met, usually well before a salesman even knows that the prospect is in the market. The specs are then sent to a range of potential suppliers with a “request for quote” or some such phrase which really means give us your best price.
This all used to be the function of the sales person, to shake the trees, identify prospects, qualify and develop them through to a sale and ongoing supply relationship.
Now it is the function of marketing to digitally “shake the trees” for prospects, then find ways to use the communication and marketing tools of the web to engage and qualify them, before turning them over to sales at the point at which they are about to become customers.
Many enterprises I see have not made the internal structural and cultural changes that acknowledge this disruption, and are failing to extract the maximum productivity out of their communicationand sales investments as a result.