Here are ten trends that will affect sales people and their sales managers in 2010, brought to you with my complements and in time for you to be one step ahead of your peers. Do share them please.
Websites on iPhones
Hands up how many readers have an iPhone or one of the hundreds of clones available out there? 2010 will see virtually every business person having access to a device with fast internet access. Their first port of call will be your website, blog, social page. One question? How does your site appear on these small screens, how navigable is it? Access your site now to see.
More than ever before sales people must be able to handle their “Inner Game” a term lifted from the sports world to cope with the inner talk and self dialogue. There’s been so many changes to the traditional sales model over the last few years, sales people can be forgiven for being a tad stressed with it all. Coupled with the economic downturn, sales people must be better equipped to have sales resilience more than ever before.
Sales Meeting Preparation
The traditional sales meeting meant to spend time with your prospective customer finding their problems, needs and challenges. In 2010 this is still to be pushed but customers expect salespeople to already know these even before the meeting. Buyers will not give salespeople the time to conduct “fact find” missions anymore. This has to be achieved via other means, primarily the internet. Be careful salespeople, as the customer will know more about you and your company, than ever before. Aim to match this at least with the amount of preparation you’ve done on them first.
Everyone must “sell” culture
Gone are the days when just people with sales in their title did the selling – that happened in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. For 2010 everyone must have responsibility to do “selling”. Everyone from the car park attendant to the CEO must sell the brand, the culture, the product and service, the innovation, the ideas. Selling mustn’t ever be regarded as a dirty word ever again.
Selling is no longer about giving information to customers. This hasn’t been the case for a number for years now but 2010 will be a critical year to appreciate this. Salespeople must provide value and this value is their expertise in solving the customer’s pains or problems. We are problem solvers and 2010 will prove this.
Sales Person Self Development
The future of training and development for salespeople has to be more ownership; sales people must own their training is short sharp bursts. No more 8 hour courses instead get regular development. Use the internet – podcasts, videos on YouTube, Webinars, Blogs to learn and unlearn and lean again. Sales Managers should assist this.
Sales Managers Metamorphosing
The role of the sales manager is no longer providing information or motivating the troops but to become more of a trainer and coach. Of course this has been evident during the noughties but 2010 will require all sales managers to shed their traditional skin and evolve into trainers and coaches. Training Departments need to help sales managers achieve this and provide all the tools they need to do this training/coach role. Sales meetings must be training and development events and the sales managers must follow this up with their coaching.
Telepresence has been described by Corbin Ball as a video conference on steroids and he is spot on with the description. It can, and will, replace meetings in 2010 but a new innovation will make it available to us all. Renting. Individually telespresence set ups cost thousands but hotels such as the Marriot chain are creating Telepresence rooms to rent. Conference and training centres seeing the fall in income from traditional meetings are investing heavily in this area to survive the digital change to their income stream. Remember everything that can be digitised, will be digitised and meetings are just one example. The internet touches everything.
View Social Networking as a Customer
We all know about the explosive growth of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. 2010 will see customers increasingly turning to these for advice and recommendations before they buy from you. Studies show that customers believe website feedback on you and your product as long as it is freely given. Just take a look at how eBay works and how petrified sellers are at giving bad customer service. Sales people in 2010 must learn how to interact with these social networking sites and sell to them, not just individual customers. No, this is not a job for marketing, but a sales person skill. Free knowledge exchange is the key.
If you’re in the Book Business Beware
If you publish or sell books, pamphlets, brochures, leaflets, newspapers – that’s training companies, publishing houses, customer service departments, building societies, insurance companies…in fact anyone who publishes things on paper. Get ready for the eBook reader. Prices will plummet in 2010, Apple will be launching their iSlate and boy this will kill paper publishing. PDF everything and make it readily available online now.
Happy New Year, use these trends to keep you at the cutting edge of your profession. Hope to see you personally in 2010, which is shaping up to be a fabulous year for us all.