Top Sales Trends That Will Define 2017
2017 is a year of internal change for many B2B organizations with talk of sales enablement, sales automation, and the ever-increasing amount of software. While this and other uses of tech are around to stay, expect better processes and more support to come to sales professionals this year.
There’s a strong emphasis on sales and management, and technology plays an increasingly important role in tracking and the analysis of content and activities. The focus is shifting to the training and enabling of sales reps, improving the competencies of sales managers and more alignment between internal departments. Here are some of the top trends that industry leaders are investing in to boost sales.
Organizations are keen to measure and analyze the use of content, not only by reps but by buyers. Sirius Decisions recently reported that high-performing reps engage with 68% more content and use it to plan and prepare for customer interactions. The next step is for enablement leaders to understand what content is used and where it applies in the deal stage and sales cycle. Tracking content usage and effectiveness can help to suggest content and guide sellers to appropriate messaging and materials for their prospects.
Sales enablement will continue to evolve in 2017 and use technology, processes, and messages to support and guide the seller. The future will see more agreement on the role of sales enablement and its potential. For example, organizations are moving from training sales teams in discrete and separate training sessions to incorporating learning into an ongoing and daily activity. Can every sales call double as an opportunity to learn? How can companies develop reps while they sell? The intent is that learning for reps occur during daily sales activities and provides the advantages of improved oversight, accountability, and faster employee onboarding.
Shifts in Sales Management
Sales teams will be looking forward to more support from management and the organization with training provided not only at events but to be incorporated on a more regular basis. With more focus on the first-line sales manager and giving top-performers the tools, competencies, and training to move into management roles, organizations will expect stronger performance from sales teams and especially those recently onboarded.
As organizations groom the best candidates for a step up, expect Millenials to get tapped for a promotion. Pew Research reports that Millenials are now “the largest segment of the U.S. population.” Training is essential to get them ready to take on management and senior-level roles. Brad Szollose, cross-generational leadership expert and author of Liquid Leadership, said:
“You can’t put someone in a leadership role assuming they have the skills to lead, only to train them 10 years later. If you want Millenials to succeed, invest in their leadership development today.”
This may be a year for considerable change. According to the Bersin by Deloitte report:
“This year, more than 3.6 million company chiefs are set to retire as younger professionals ascend to managerial slots. Companies are busy planning this transition in order to cope with the massive loss of boomers.”
Alignment with Subject Matter Experts
An increased interest in subject matter experts (SMEs) will create more alignment and improve messaging for reps and buyers. The aim is for SMEs to grow revenue. Sales teams will work closely with SMEs to help support communications. Tools that provide a means to distribute information and track engagement will assist SMEs and reps with learning and delivering the most effective messaging for every customer interaction.
With a constant barrage of new developments occurring within their organization, what strategies will top-performing sales teams be implementing?
Today a majority of reps use LinkedIn which currently has some of the most accurate and up-to-date data available on professionals and companies. Sales reps will look to make the best use of social selling by researching and connecting with decision makers and building their authority by providing valuable content. LinkedIn was recently acquired by Microsoft, so it remains to be seen how this change will alter the platform and its use.
Reps looking to stand out will spend more time gathering in-depth research on their prospects. It may turn out to be less a numbers game than a targeted approach to important accounts. Account-based sales and marketing provide considerable advantages to the companies that implement these strategies.
Sales teams will be combining the additional support and alignment within their organizations with new approaches in platform use and technology to communicate better and faster with buyers and close deals.
What is your company doing to embrace the shift and improve processes to drive revenue? Share your thoughts and best sales practices below or tweet us @ModusEngagement