At Drift, we’re constantly thinking about the future of sales and how we can help businesses use technology to provide the best experiences possible for their customers and potential customers.
But in order to prepare for the future, we need to remember the past. We need to understand how the salesperson’s tool set has been evolving over the years.
In the infographic below, The Evolution of Sales Tools, I highlight some of the major milestones in the development of sales technology (from history’s first spam message in 1864 to the rolodex, aka the original CRM).
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Here’s the SlideShare version:
Wait, why did you include that in the infographic?
I tried to make sure that every tool in the infographic represents a corresponding era/methodology in the pantheon of sales history.
So, for example, while including the doorbell as a sales tool might seem stupid at first (and maybe even at second), it’s really there to give a nod to door-to-door sales as a discipline.
The door-to-door approach is the real tool in this instance, not the doorbell.
That being said, consider this interesting factoid: The inventor of the electric doorbell, Joseph Henry, also did pioneering work that led directly to the invention of the telegraph and the telephone. (Alexander Graham Bell is even on record saying, “Yo, I never would have invented the telephone without my broseph Joseph Henry,” or something along those lines.)
All this to say: new technology often builds upon existing technology. And, ideally, we’re always progressing toward more powerful and/or more efficient systems.
In the case of sales technology, we’ve moved from tools designed to help salespeople shout more loudly and broadcast messages more aggressively, to tools designed to help salespeople communicate more effectively and engage more deeply.