It’s officially almost the end of another year.
2016 has seen some big changes for businesses and the way they operate. We’re sure that we’ll be seeing plenty more changes over the next 12 months. That’s why we’ve had a look back over recent trends and the shifts occurring in the world of sales to see if we can predict what 2017 has in store for salespeople.
Here are 6 sales trends we expect to see in 2017:
1 Strong alignment between Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing are a very effective team when they work together. We predict that in 2017, the alignment of the two will become more widespread.
Both departments will actively work together towards common goals. Their actions will complement one another’s to deliver the highest quality leads and to close more deals in less time. HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report for 2016 shows that 82% of companies who consider their marketing strategy successful are strongly aligned with their sales departments:
For this reason, we think that in the next 12 months, there will be a clear trend of more sales teams working closely with marketing departments.
2 Social selling will grow in popularity
Almost every salesperson will have come across the term ‘social selling’ at some point or another, but many don’t fully understand the concept. So, what exactly is it?
Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
Put simply, social selling is not closing deals on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, it’s about interacting and building relationships with your customers with your online branding and interactions. The aim of social selling is to create an online relationship which progresses into offline meetings and closed sales. According to SalesforLife, 73% of salespeople who used social selling outperformed their colleagues.
Companies that don’t adopt social selling and that don’t find a way to put that social intelligence into their CRM will be at a huge disadvantage in the market.
That’s why we’re positive that more teams will implement social selling as part of their strategies over the course of the next year.
3 Increased use of sales technology
Advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics are beginning to change our daily lives. Businesses and sales departments won’t be left behind.
In 2016, 29% of salespeople spent an hour or longer on data entry and other manual tasks. With the growth in sales technology, this time will considerably decrease and more time will be spent nurturing relationships with leads. As we can see from the data, companies are planning to spend up to $1.1M+ on technology next year. This suggests a big shift away from manual methods.
4 The nature of content will change
When we speak about ‘content’, it’s usually blogs, eBooks, white papers, etc. that come to mind. This traditional, text-based content will still be useful and effective. But, we may be in for a change when it comes to the way content is delivered to prospects.
An estimated 80% of traffic in the internet will be due to videos by 2019, which means that visual content is on the rise. Not only does it pull more traffic, it boosts better retention rates than text-based content. Research shows that videos are the form of content most likely to receive close attention, which is a fact that salespeople will have to take into consideration when working together with their marketing teams.
Nielsen, a leading global information & measurement company, claims 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future. The reasons are plenty. Video is easily consumable, it’s shareable (Invodo reports that 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others) and it creates conversions. As a salesperson, video will become one of your best tools for driving online sales.
5 SMEs will overtake salespeople
Over the next few years, salespeople will need to work on becoming more than just a salesperson. They will need to become SMEs.
Subject matter experts (SMEs) are those who are completely informed about the product or service that they offer. Most SMEs are not trained in sales techniques. As a salesperson, you already have the training and ability to close a sale. But, consumers are becoming smarter about what they buy. To build genuine trust with them, you must offer them a deeper understanding than what they already have.
Salespeople who successfully expand their knowledge to become SMEs will not only create more value with their warm leads, but will also increase the number of new leads they generate. Demonstrating that you understand the challenges faced by customers makes you more likely to get a positive response than if you were to go straight in with a hard sell.
6 Analytics will become more widely used
It’s easy to dismiss analytics and assume that it doesn’t have much to offer you as a salesperson. The truth is completely the opposite. The information you can obtain from using analytics software can drastically boost your sales performance. Learning about customers’ ages, locations, salary, etc. give you several attributes which you can use for better targeting.
McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent. That adds up to $150 – $200 billion of additional value based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.
When used well, analytics give you an overview of your customers’ decision-making process. It shows you where your sales techniques are working and where they can be improved. That’s why, in 2017, there will be an increase in salespeople utilising analytics to boost their sales.
Are there any other trends that you expect to see in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!