I have written several posts this year on the topic of selling and the future of salespeople. A good many of the articles involve Google because I think one of the central themes in Google's business is to eliminate the inefficiency of the sales process in general and salespeople in particular.
Clearly the sales process and salespeople are vulnerable. Salespeople strike out much more often than they make contact -- so much so that a part of sales training is to help salespeople handle the rejection. If a salesperson only closes one out of ten deals -- the salesperson is not producing value ninety percent of time! That is a pretty fat target.
On the other hand, if salespeople could close 100% of deals, they would be considered "order takers" and replaced by automation.
Salespeople are purveyors of information. They help people with problems find the solutions. Hey, that is the business Google is in - helping people find information. Could it be that if Google did its job better, anyone looking to buy anything could find that thing without the aid of a salesperson? For more on this see my post earlier in the year about the Changing Role of the Salesperson.
Enter the paid trusted advisor. Some will say this is that consultative selling stuff all over again, and maybe so, but either way salespeople as we knew them are on their way out. They will be replaced by consultants that get paid to advise. Instead of thinking of this as consultative selling, I prefer to think of it as Doctors of Selling. The salespeople that survive will be specialists -- just like doctors. They will be paid for all of their time, and they will differentiate through reputation and brand association.