November 3rd, 2015
2015 Sales Predictions
KEN: I wrote this magazine column last November (2014), I thought it might be fun to hear your thoughts on my predictions.
We believe in 2015 the focal points will be on velocity and execution; increasing the speed of the sales cycle and number of orders received. Becoming “brilliant in sales execution” during each stage is critical. This has to do with the customers need to quickly take action, their existing knowledge and margin/COS pressures.
Depending upon the specific industry you serve, various trends may differ; for example my primary focus is in the technology sector and there have been major disruptors introduced that have caused implications on the sales side. However as I consider the general area of sales we see several trends.
- Prospective clients have done their homework as to their issues and potential solutions via the internet or other relationship. This has caused the salesperson to alter their traditional sales approach. We have found the salespeople who have not adapted to this change are struggling, as they have been use to “telling” their story vs “selling” themselves and their solutions. The idea that magical mental stimulation must occur in selling is more important than ever before, knowing people, understanding the 5 business challenges business people face and connecting the dots between the person, the problem and your solution is a critical success factor. New technical tools will be developed to assist the average salesperson in this area.
- Sales training is moving to a mobility mode. As salespeople face new selling environments, they will have access to instant insights designed to improve their sales skills and strategic information. This is a new trend that will evolve quickly in 2015-16.
- Moving the sales role inside maybe a new change for many, but one that is increasing in nature and is certainly a trend. Reducing COS, increasing touch points and use of technology will drive the outside/inside sales organization restructuring. This will continue as sales leaders look for new formulas to drive relationships, revenues and increased levels of activities.
- Power Networking. The use of LinkedIn and other online databases has allowed salespeople to evaluate their top best clients and determine who they are linked to, what association’s they are involved in and who they know within their personal connected networks. Once your best clients are mapped, you can then work them to connect with key net new prospects. This methodology is certainly being used by top performers and we certainly see it as a continuing trend.
Next, while there has always been talk about “trusted business advisor”, or now Challenger Selling, we believe you can achieve this status through Business Guidance selling. This is a phrase we use to describe not a new sales methodology but a concept that can be implemented within any sales framework. Generally speaking with any sales offering a salesperson either is increasing productivity, reducing costs or providing a certain benefit.
Business Guidance selling occurs while the salesperson is delivering proposal or at a closing stage. As they are selling their solution and the associated benefits, the salesperson must link those benefits to a dollar value and then make a Business Guidance recommendation to the prospect. The salesperson recommends they use those benefits/savings to impact a specific perceived need within the prospects company. These Business Guidance recommendations could range from: improving the web site, providing adding customer service training, etc… None of these recommendations are related to additional products/services from the salesperson’s firm.
HINT: This increases the need for a quality Discovery Stage within your sales process.
By acting in this way and providing this kind of insight you can separate yourself from your competition and not be perceived as simply another salesperson. In 2015 and beyond clients are expecting more from their vendor relationships.
Enjoy and may 2015 be your best year ever.
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.