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Looking Ahead - 6 Trends To Ring In 2019

December 13, 2018

 

 As we close out 2018, it is time to reflect on the trends as they have been. Furthermore, we must begin to look ahead to what’s in store for us in 2019.  After all, success is where preparation and opportunity meet.

 

With budgets due and strategic plans newly inked, every leader has the future on their mind - sales projections, marketing campaigns and tax season are among the top priorities as they launch into 2019.  Equally as important, leaders must think about major industry shifts and new technologies that will significantly impact the way they operate in the year ahead. When it comes to growing your business through sales in the new year, we’ve identified 6 sales trends leaders should keep top of mind for their 2019 business.

 

Storytelling with Your Data – Take a deeper look at your CRM

Beyond just leveraging CRM for tracking activities and forecasting sales, we need to let the data tell a story. We can leverage data analytics to prompt sales reps on exactly what they can do to move opportunities forward and drive more relevant conversations. Reps can leverage notifications and other insights and information to shorten the buy cycle and open up the pipeline.

 

There is another side to the data story.  We can be so mechanical in our sales approach now.  It’s as if sales reps have become robots and are following a “if A; then B” algorithm. What is often unexplored is the method to maximize the effectiveness of your data gathered by the way of story formulation and storytelling. As data analysis a commonplace in business, there needs to be a way to communicate this data story to drive predicable behaviour. In short, making sense of it all. When things make sense, the action will be more meaningful, thus drive a more efficient process and relevant outcome.

 

Leveraging AI as your Real-Time Sales Team

As leveraging data becomes more prevalent for small and medium size business, one technology that is quickly becoming valuable is employing AI bots.  Statistics from Grand View Research shows that the Chatbot market is expected to reach roughly $1.2 billion by 2025. Chatbots are able to answer and assist online consumers through a series of questions almost instantaneously. According to Forbes, 61% of baby boomers and 51% of millennials suggest that one of the main benefits of chatbots are their ability to provide a response to a question instantly, along with the aspect of the service availability 24/7.  In the world of instant gratification, a 24/7 employee is pretty handy to have around.

 

AI has also infiltrated the CRM market this past year; in 2019, we can expect CRM tools to become more intelligent.  A bot can predict multiple characteristics of a client including; their churn rate, loyalty index, even down to the threshold discount to keep a customer – all valuable insights to take action on should you want to increase the lifetime value of a customer.

 

With the constant development of bots over the next few years, we can expect them to continue to play a large role in the sales and marketing world moving forward.

 

It’s all about Customer Experience

More than ever before, we live in a super intertwine community.  News in this community travels fast. According to the 2018 ReviewTrackers Survey, 64% of consumers say that they are likely to check reviews on Google before visiting a business.  So, I would boldly say that customer experience is no longer a cost centre; but a profit centre when you look at the revenue generated from great customer experience. That’s why customer experience is more important than ever before.

 

The Forrester team said it best; customer experience is defined as how customers perceive their interactions with your company. A great way to measure your customer service experience is to use Net Promoter Score® (NPS). NPS gauges the loyalty of your customer’s relationship with your firm and ranks it from a score of 1-10.   After a positive customer experience, your customers are more likely to become your promoters, creating greater positive brand awareness. Most would argue that word of mouth marketing is the most effective marketing out there and it’s a timeless strategy.

 

A survey in 2016 found that 60% of customers feel that waiting on hold for just one minute is too long. Hence, having a real-time communication channels, via social media, or a customer service management solution, can have a huge positive impact for your business.  Yes, remember those 24/7 bots? This might be a simple, cost effective way to improve your customer experience immediately.

 

Knowledgeable and Solid Rep Execution is Key to B2B selling

Did you know? Globally, all businesses combined, we phasing out 1 million sales jobs by year 2020?  Order taking jobs are giving way to kiosks and automation. We need reps that understand a clients’ needs, can analyze data, drive trends, and put together a creative solution that addresses every pain point.

  • Reference: Six principles defined by Hubspot are the basic key to consultative selling.

I learned of a new word recently – Infobesity.  Prospects are overwhelmed with too much data, too much information and too many choices.  They are often confused and aimless and it is taking longer to close a deal than ever before.  I attribute it to Infobesity.  Scientific research proves that humans simply cannot process excess information, especially if it is not logically structured, takes too long, or is unclear.  And let’s admit it, with the help of easily accessible Internet, there is a ton of information out there. 

 

That’s when a knowledgeable and skilled sales rep comes in.  Imagine someone that can help you sort through the mess, understand your problems, know your industry and provide valuable, relevant and tailored advice. We are not there to sell our clients.  We are there as a partner to solve problems together.

Winning at Sales Recruitment

 

Winning at Sales Recruitment

Finding talented salespeople is a challenge for many businesses in today’s competitive market. Everyone wants the top people, more exactly, those individuals who have both the talent and the track record for being successful in sales. In 2019, we will be publishing a blog series on sales recruitment and retention and an ultimate guide to talent management in sales.  Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the one piece of important recruiting advice – always be interviewing.  One of the worst positions for a company to be in is short staffed and that is most certainly true for sales people. Therefore, in the interest of your company’s growth, you should always welcome the opportunity to interview talented salespeople.

 

Well-Documented Sales Playbook is a MUST-HAVE

Traditional models for working are changing, the trend towards a gig economy has become more apparent. Business models that revolve around a gig economy, for example Uber and AirBnB, have proved to be capable of transforming any industry. The advantages, like more money and freedom, that come with the gig economy are qualities top candidates seek when applying for a job. As for business owners, adjusting to this shift in business models means you need to be prepared for the reality of hiring freelancers. Compared to regular employees, independent workers are more engaged, innovative, and have high worker satisfaction. But according to IBM Center for Applied Insights, the shortcomings of an independent worker are their commitment to the company and their collaborative skills, which can be potentially damaging within a team setting.

 

A structured sales playbook is one remedy to managing the shortcomings of freelancers as it provides a structure for your onboarding process. Your sales playbook should include:

  • A comprehensive client profile for each product/service

  • A detailed sales process

  • An outline of your competitors

  • Specific company selling methodology

  • Expected KPI’s and

  • Relevant resources

This will help freelancers become more involved in your business’s core values from the start, laying the foundation for a natural commitment to your company.

 

With 2019 quickly approaching, it is the perfect time to start planning. If you are unsure of the path you should take, we are here to help. It’s time to make the Change Connect Call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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