Modern Selling: Will Sales be a Relevant Career in 10 Years?

April 17, 2023
How your teams can thrive both now and 10 years from now

This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

I recently created a training course called Selling Security Systems in 2030, and the research I did was eye-opening.

In a survey conducted by Worxwide, corporations believed that two-thirds of their customer engagement activities could be handled by smart machines. A study by Gartner revealed that 78% of corporate buyers are OK with relying on virtual reality to show how an enterprise’s end product would look.

In its article What the job of a B2B salesperson will look like in the year 2030, Cirrus Insight states that the number of salespeople selling simple products or selling into simple environments will decrease by 15 to 33% by 2030.

Sounds dire, doesn’t it? At first, it does. However, as I thought about the data and our current environment, I realized that these answers are serving as a wake-up call that will only make us better. Sure, there will be more sales activities conducted by machines in a decade, but humans managing other human emotions and relationships will still be relevant.

For those who want to use these rapid changes as a chance to grow, then there is great opportunity. Here are five things salespeople can do to survive – and thrive – in the future.

1. Build a personal brand that creates demand for your time. In 10 years from now, it will be almost impossible to secure an appointment with a new prospective account that doesn’t know you – unless someone in their eco-system recommends you. Throwing as much against the wall to see what sticks hasn’t worked for 15 years. Inbound prospecting and marketing has had success in opening doors lately, but the practice has also overwhelmed our prospects with content and it too will soon become ineffective. Building a brand that creates demand of your time will be the best, and maybe only way to secure appointments in the future.

2. Use interpersonal skills of the 20th century. Every year, we get worse at interpersonal skills. There are dozens of reasons for this digression, but the result is that salespeople no longer do the basics – something as simple as sending a handwritten thank you note sticks out as a novel idea today. In 1995, that was a standard practice. In 10 years, simple interpersonal skills will be a differentiator.

3. Understand a client’s business and industry almost as well as you know security. Like most things, customers of security technology are starting to expect specialization. In 10 years, they will require it, demanding that salespeople are experts on their specific industry. Identify vertical markets that will be growing throughout the next several years and become experts at how your technology applies there. Speak their lingo, attend their events, and get to know their day-to-day activities.

4. Collaborate significantly more with partners. Manufacturers will continue to get closer to end-users during the next 10 years because of the advancement of marketing technology tools. However, local integrators will still be a key part to their go-to-market plan. With this influx of front-loaded activity by the manufacturer, both parties will benefit from more collaboration on marketing and prospecting.

5. Allow relationships to unfold more gradually and remotely. Relationships are developing in a different and slower manner than they have traditionally. Allow that to happen. If a prospect doesn’t agree to meet you in person until the fifth call, that’s ok. If a key customer tells you that your monthly visits can be done virtually, don’t panic. In 10 years, being competent and trustworthy will be significantly more important than being friends. Allow it to happen or you will be resisting the natural flow of things.

Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (, a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. Use "Security Business" as a coupon code to receive a 10% lifetime discount at To request more info about the company, visit