Looking ahead – 7 Sales Trends to ring in 2018
“We expect to have solid growth of over 2% in 2018… With interest rate still low, now is the right time for Canadian entrepreneurs to make the necessary investments to grow, become more productive and more competitive,” said Pierre Cleroux, Chief Economist at RBC. That’s great news for Canadian SMBs. With the above-expected growth fueling the economy, we are poised to do even better in 2018. We are betting these trends will help grow your sales organization in the coming year:
Back to the Basics with a Technology Twist
When it comes to B2B sales, most customers revert back to product and price. But when you peel back, you’ll find that they are really looking for reliability and trust. For sales reps, that means getting the basics right. Can technology play a role in building relationships? Absolutely. Subscribe to industry news feeds. Contribute to industry chat groups. Read up on competitor’s latest news. Allow your CRM to be your assistant.
Managing Different Communication Platforms
Today, customers demand personalized and relevant information in real-time in their preferred platform. Let’s admit it – people are moving away from email and onto other communication platforms like Whatsapp, Facetime, WeChat, iMessager, SMS, etc... The key is to be where your customers are. If you want to be at the right place at the right time, you want to be communicating your message in the platform that they prefer.
Better Way to Manage Internal Communication
Let’s admit it – sharing information internally can also be a daunting task. Between email, chat, conference calls and file sharing, information can easily be misplaced and over communicating can be exhausting. Can technology help? Sure. That said, to enable company-side conversation is a cultural shift. Does the culture empower employees to communicate inter-department? Are you working in a silo?
Transform your Customer Experience
Customer Experience is not only a B2C play, it is also fundamental in a B2B buy cycle. When done right, customer experience can actually be a differentiator in the world of B2B sales. This is especially the case where over 70% of your revenue comes from existing customers. Too many B2B service providers still work in silos. To deliver end-to-end customer experience, the back end operations must be seamless - from pre-sales to billing and everything in between. Here is where technology and workflow and training comes in. But most importantly, management must care to build a culture with customer experience at its core.
You do not want your sales executives handicapped by a lack of mobility. An old-school approach to the office will only hinder your sales team. Instead, equip your reps with the tools necessary so that they can make deals on the go. There are countless apps that help keep sales manageable yet mobile, such as Evernote for taking notes, Docusign for getting that closing signature on the spot, or Dropbox so they can move files around without a laptop present. More than just the apps; it’s the mindset – sales is an on-the-go job that needs to adapt to the client’s schedule.
Merging Sales Roles
In 2018 we will continue to see the traditional sales role adapt and evolve into one that reflects the changing business landscape and what that means for the customer journey. What was once a very linear sales cycle has completely transformed, and sales roles need to reflect that. This is particularly true for sales in small businesses, where the ability to wear many hats has already been necessitated. Sales and Marketing, or Sales and Technical Sales, where they once had clearly delineated lines, are in some cases becoming one role as the buying cycle changes. As the roles of marketers and technical sales gain prominence, sales training will become a critical onboarding component so that the ability to close deals is merged with the knowledge and skills necessary for the new client journey.
Building up Agility
In today’s sales climate, trends move quickly and sales executives need to be able to adapt just as fast. An agile sales team is prepared to go with the flow and is ready to modify as necessary depending on the circumstances. As we said earlier, the customer journey has greatly changed and an agile team is best prepared to adapt accordingly. While the changing needs of your customer’s journey are one thing, an agile team is also better prepared for any external environmental changes. This can mean being ready to compensate for a trend that is not in your business’s favor, or it can mean being ready to jump on the next wave before your competitor.
With 2017 ending on a high note, we are optimistic about 2018. Are you a sales manager looking to drive change in your organization? What are your plans for 2018? We are here to help. It’s time to make the Change Connect call.