Old-School Salespeople: Problems and Solution5 minutes read

When you mention old-school salespeople to someone, his or her mind cannot help but bring to focus overweight, 50-year old, guys in cheap polyester suits trying to close a deal that will get them that much closer to their target!

Of course, this is a very crude generalization and for the most part, old-school salespeople are nothing like this. That being said, they do share certain traits and especially certain fears in the face of the current rapidly changing World of Sales.

The Emergence Of Sales Tools And Software

There used to be a time when a salesperson depended on their little black book for all their customer management and sales engagement needs. The late 1950s saw the Rolodex find its way to salespeople’s desks. The 1970s saw the first hints of software solutions used to store and handle customer and lead information, as well as databases on clients. In the 1980s, customer data and sales strategy were first combined, building on what Lester Wunderman had done to usher in the early days of Direct Marketing. Contact Management Software also came to life during the Miami Vice decade.

Over the next two and a half decades, the rapid advancement in technology has caused an explosion of all kinds of software that help businesses ease and improve their Sales. With the advent and the proliferation of the internet, Customer Relationship Management Software and other types of sales-related solutions have become the norm.

The ‘Fear’ Of Old-School Salespeople:

It is really not that difficult to understand old-school salespeople’s anxieties and fears.

For one, there is a very understandable fear that their experience and skills will amount to nothing in this new world where every interaction with a (potential) customer is tracked from beginning to end. They see this world as one of inter-changeable salespeople who can simply jump in and take the place of someone who has spent years developing relationships with clients.

Secondly, old-school salespeople may also see this shift from in-person sales to mostly online sales as yet another way in which the sales game is losing that personal touch and becoming too ‘digital’ for their liking.

There is also a fear that new software solutions will deny them their freedom to pursue their sales in the ways they are used to for decades. Moreover, they fear that these new sales tools and software solutions are meant to provide their employers with increased (and often too comprehensive) control over their every action. According to the Harvard Business Review, we are already seeing this in retail.

Finally, there is that very human fear of simply not being good at the new way of doing things. This includes anxieties about not being able to use this new software or seeming clumsy or even incompetent in the eyes of their younger colleagues.

These are all some very real and very understandable fears of old-school salespeople.

No Need To Panic!

While it is definitely possible to understand the fears and the anxieties felt by the old-school salespeople faced with a new world of tech in sales, it should also be pointed out that the vast majority of those fears are completely unnecessary.

For the most part, the software tools aimed at salespeople, sales teams and their managers are envisioned as mere aids that will help them to be more efficient and successful at what they do. SalesHandy is the perfect example.

For example, its Email Tracking feature was not envisioned as a way to put salespeople under increased scrutiny or to enable quick replacement of salespeople. It was envisioned (and is used) to help salespeople be more aware of what is going on with their emails.

SalesHandy’s Mail Merge and Automated Follow-ups is not a tool to make salespeople replaceable or turn them into automatons that repeat the same action over and over again. It is a tool that helps with organization and makes a salesperson’s outreach easier so they can concentrate on the “meat” of their job.

This goes for SalesHandy’s other features as well. This is also true for other types of software that is associated with the world of sales. Such sales software and tools are not a way to remove control from the hands of salespeople. They are actually meant to give them more control. They are simply a way to make a salesperson’s job easier and more efficient so they can do what they love the most – Sell !

The Bottom Line:

The fear that salespeople have about losing their jobs to various tools and software solutions is not new. But they need to understand that they can very easily adopt the modern tools and software solutions as part of their workflow. The Manufacturers of such software need to acknowledge such fears and make the salespeople fully aware on how they can simplify their work with the help of sales tools and software.

Hence, there is definitely a country for old salespeople. It’s just that they need to adjust a bit to be part of the new Sales ‘set-up’!!

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By James D. Burbank

James D. Burbank is the editor-in-chief at BizzMarkBlog. He has spent more than 15 years in the Trade Show Industry and he has seen Salespeople from all over the world react to new Tech. You can find him on Twitter - @JBurbank2019

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