The ageing UK workforce impact on B2B selling

The ageing UK workforce impact on B2B sellingWe are living longer. We are delaying retirement either because the government is pushing the retirement age up or because people are choosing to stay in the workplace. Either way, the result is the same – the number of older people in the UK’s workforce is rising.

This will have a massive impact on how suppliers sell Informations Communications Technology.

Five generations within six years

By 2020, we could have five generations in the workplace. 1946 traditionalists will be 74 years of age. Each generation will have different expectations of what IT and Communications services should provide them to help them to do their jobs.

Buyers will expect suppliers to have the answers

Chief Information Officers responsible for delivering quality user experiences will turn to their suppliers’ sales people for answers about how to manage this workforce diversity. Buyers already expect sales people to add to what they know and highlight opportunities or problems they may be unaware of. How will sales professionals cater for customers facing challenges that become far more complex as the workforce ages and their users’ expectations proliferate?

The answer is broader and deeper engagement

The answer isn’t to try and transform all of your sales people into supercharged consultants; although you will need some highly skilled consultative selling professionals. The pragmatic solution to helping buyers work their way through this complexity is to engage with them more broadly and deeply. As well as your sales people, your technologists, product developers, operations people, marketing teams and senior management leaders should work collectively with buyers’ organisations to define and deliver Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions that will span the range of competencies in tomorrow’s workforce and deliver the right quality of user experience to each individual. Many industry pundits are talking about how important customer engagement is to developing trust and growing revenues. The need for engagement goes way beyond this. As more technology enters a mixed competence workforce, strong engagement well become a core ingredient for the survival of ICT suppliers.

What steps to take now

What should you do? A good place to start is to establish structured customer listening events. Some companies operate Customer Councils. This is a good idea provided that these sessions do not turn into sales pitches. It’s an easy trap to fall into and your customers will resent it.