Xerox made a business out of selling copiers. But selling products isn't what Xerox's sales force does anymore. "Our customers have consistently said to us, 'Don't come and sell me a box. Don't come and sell me a technology. Come and sell me a solution to my problem and we can have a discussion,'" says Christa Carone, Xerox's chief marketing officer. "That is how we start every sales engagement at Xerox. We want to understand pain points and we want to understand ways that we might be able to alleviate some of that pain."

Xerox is just one company that has transformed its sales organization to be more customer-focused. The reality of the sales world is that while customers still needs salespeople, they need them in different ways than they used to. Public access to product and service information is at an all-time high, and prospects are often very well informed before connecting with a salesperson. Customers don't want salespeople to sell them a product. They want them to solve a problem. In order to do this effectively, sales organizations need to be more customer-focused at every point in the sales cycle. Yet for many companies, old habits are hard to break.