I work in sales and sales coaching and operate in dozens of sales led businesses here in the UK and around the world so I get to keep my finger on the pulse. Hence I’ve ten sales trends or predictions for 2014 in the world of selling.
- All salesforces, whatever they’re selling, will finally realise that the customer is fully in control, not them anymore. This will have wide implications to the sales practices, helping customers to buy rather than selling to them.
- Salesforces will begin to ditch their old fashioned sales processes for one aligned to their customer’s buying process and will gain entry much later in that cycle but will learn how to provide added value rather than be a pitcher of products or services.
- Social media will be mastered by salespeople as a means to research their prospects more fully before making contact, using it to understand the buyer’s position in their buying cycle and thus getting in front of them earlier.
- Sales training will continue to migrate online. MOOCs are beginning to dominate education and companies will see more of their sales development going online in the form of video and other multimedia consumed on a variety of devices – mobile, tablet, laptop. Training will be absorbed in smaller chunks and be complemented with focussed live coaching.
- Salespeople will be adopting more channels to make contact with buyers. The usual suspects – email, instant messaging, texing, Twitter, phone, video conferencing – will be used. Email will fall in popularity as the latter stage Generation Y come to age since they don’t “dig” email.
- Salesforces will grow by recruiting experts who sell and accidental salespeople will move into sales. The drive to add value to the buyer’s buying process will demand a greater technical knowledge and understanding of issues customers face. The capability to bespoke a solution to the customer’s needs is essential rather than just pitching a product. “Old fashioned” salespeople may not be up to the job.
- Salesforces will carry out more digital marketing themselves as the gap between marketing departments and sales teams narrows. Salesforces will start to create more digital content creating “noise” all over the internet. This will attract buyers who are in their research mode of their buying process. That way buyers will maintain control they insist upon and the salesperson becomes a valuable resource rather than a nuisance peddler of products or services.
- We’ll all start creating more video to communicate to customers. Voice mail will be replaced with video mail so we all ought to get used to cozying up to the video camera and microphone.
- iWatch – Apples new watch with Smartphone capability will be launched and like the iPad, will be a game changer. Salespeople will adopt them to give Star trek like communication proficiency.
- Inside sales will continue to overtake field sales as companies drive for cost savings. Inside sales will not just be for commodity based selling but for complex long sales processes requiring in depth analysis and value adding to the customer. With the new ways to communicate, Inside Sales forces will begin to match the dexterity of a face to face seller at a fraction of the cost and impact on the planet.
Happy New Year – I love change, don’t you?