The Sales ‘Shift’ – 3 Crucial Trends For 2017 And Beyond!

  • By Andy Fox

Sales isn’t a role, it’s a mindset - One where your focus is on solving problems, not pushing products or services.” This quote from Charlene Li, of Altimeter, captures the true essence of Sales we’re currently facing - which might as well stand true for years to come.

Since the last decade, we’re constantly witnessing huge ‘disruptions’ in the digital industry, and how that has changed the ways in which businesses perform. Much of the credit goes to the ‘internet’ and innovation in mobile and communication technologies, which has radically empowered the ‘customers’ with a wealth of information.

No longer can a Sales Rep gain advantage over and persuade their prospects/customers, solely on the grounds of their knowledge on any given product or services.

Consumers these days, armed with the power of internet and smart phone, can explore and extract any kind of information. In fact, with a bit of research, consumers can even outsmart their sellers in obtaining in-depth knowledge on products they want to purchase, and issues or topics, they choose to explore.

It's estimated that 81% of online shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases, and about 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

How then should the sales force function amidst such aware masses of consumers, highly transparent and informative technologies, and communication media, where information is exchanged at lightning speed with the mere flick of a finger?

Here are 3 crucial trends that speak of the ‘Shift’ in Sales for 2017 and beyond: 

1.  The ‘Freemium’ Approach to Selling

The competition among brands has given way to the benefit of the consumers. In the pursuit to provide that extra mile for the prospects, SaaS (Software as a Service) and cloud based companies are offering their products and services for free, which the users can either upgrade to a ‘premium’ version after giving it a ‘test drive’, or use the basic version as long as they like.

Cloud Storage software like Box.com or Dropbox are big on this tactic. Any new user can create their account and immediately store files in the cloud for free. Once the user tries it and shares with his/her colleagues, they too join in with new accounts. Then it becomes easy for such brands like Dropbox to upsell the enterprise package to the company whose employees are already benefiting from its product.

Many also offer a ‘2 weeks’ or even a month trial period without any strings attached. For instance Uber gives away $20 in free credit for every new user, or take the offer from HubSpot who gives away its CRM for absolutely free to new users. The idea is to offer value and gain trust and credibility before you extract value from the consumers.

2.  Videos - on the Rise!

The advent of fast internet speed has clearly made videos to be the favourite of marketers and audiences across all distribution platforms, especially social media.

Facebook has over 8 billion video views per day and about 300 hours of videos are uploaded in YouTube every minute. Along with Facebook and YouTube, other rising Social Channels like; Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are also increasingly being used to share and consume videos.

Cisco predicts that consumer internet video traffic will dominate other types of traffic – By 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video.

This speaks volume of where the marketing and the sales team should put their money, when it comes to ‘selling’. Given the trend it clearly indicates that videos are to take as significant space in the Content Marketing Strategy of brands in the future.

3.  Driving Sales through ‘Data Analytics’ and AI 

Businesses across the world are increasingly using ‘data’ to drive their marketing and sales processes. Every new customer, every lead captured, every sales made or email received is considered as data.

With the advent of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and sophisticated computing technologies, any such data can be stored, curated and analysed to inform new strategies for the Sales team to bolster their sales efforts. Most high performing brands have completely leveraged their sales processes through robust CRMs which can use data analytics to monitor the prospects, leads and customers activities and tie them with focused sales efforts.

It helps to turn complex raw data into ‘intelligence’ by gathering leads’ information on past behaviour to predict future events. Such Predictive Analytics can be used by the sales team to for instance, filter and engage with most viable leads that would resonate with the launch of new product, rather than wasting time with ones who may not be interested.

Nearly half (45%) of companies are using some form of CRM to store lead data, and 84% of those companies have a standard in place for scoring lead quality.

In coming years Data will take substantial role in sales management, right from managing your leads to assessing the performance of team members themselves. 

In the near future, with AI it will also be possible to gather information on a particular customer and craft a personal message offering solutions to resolve his/her problems.

Finally…

Though the Sales processes of the future are increasingly being governed through disruptions in digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence, success will come to those who use these tools to truly engage with the consumers and solve their burning problems. 

If you'd like more assistance with your sales/lead generation or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is element7digital.com.au 

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au