2015 has been an epic year for the sales industry, seeing major shifts in both strategy and technique.
While many of these changes are driven by the availability of new technology and tools focused on sales enablement, an equal number are motivated by the need to adapt to the shifting consumer attitudes and needs which are shaping the buyer’s journey.
At SalesFitRx, we pride ourselves on tracking the latest trends. We’ve compiled our observations on the five biggest breakthroughs for 2015:
- Hiring the eager (not the experienced). While it may seem counterintuitive, investing in fresh talent may get you farther than hiring experienced sales professionals. The reasoning behind this trend is simple – as the sales climate shifts, established sales professionals may be less willing to learn new skills and strategies than their less-seasoned peers – especially when it comes to integration of technology. Add to this the growing need for social selling skills, and the younger generation may have far more savvy and experience than their more mature counterparts – flipping the old hiring preferences on end. While recruiting previously trained sales professionals might seem the way to go, it may be worth your while to hire untrained talent, and invest the salary savings in additional training and coaching. You’ll have the opportunity to teach your preferred strategies and sales habits from the start – imbuing them with the skills which benefit your business directly, and avoiding complications which arise from pre-existing habits and poor training.
- Focusing on data-driven communications. Those who are ahead of the game have already placed themselves to benefit from big data and are focusing their efforts on honing consumer communications accordingly. By applying smart metrics to determine the impact and reach of content, businesses who are leveraging their consumer data can more easily assess their sales strategy and campaign effectiveness, and adjust it to gain maximum reach.By shifting the focus to data-driven content, your business can ensure that the communications which reach your target audience are relevant, applicable, and add value to the customer experience. This not only increases the effectiveness of your communications, it can help drive dialogue with your consumers, and help your brand establish credibility.
- Leveraging technology in the sales process. According to recent research by CSO Insights, most sales reps spend only 35% of their time actually selling – the rest is absorbed by the performance of administrative tasks and account management. By effectively leveraging today’s sales enablement and smart CRM technology to alleviate the burden of administrative functions, businesses can free their sales team to focus on revenue-generating pursuits, such as lead procurement, and social selling.The metrics and insight gained through use of advanced solutions (such as that offered by SalesFitRX) also allow sales management to more effectively track the behaviors and accomplishments of their sales team, providing the deeper insight required to reward individual successes, effectively outline milestones and goals, and assess and adjust their strategic approach to sales.
- Redefining the role of sales managers. Along with the role of sales itself, the role of the sales manager is quickly changing – and savvy businesses are already redefining their approach. The sales manager of the future is capable of analyzing sales performance metrics and data to identify areas of weakness or failure before it becomes an issue – or hone their approach to support tactics which produce results.Today’s sales manager is more of a professional coach than a player. He or she can effectively leverage the technology and tools available to zero in on team members who are underperforming, offering those individuals the additional training or coaching required to up their game, sharpen their sales skills, and meet demanding quotas.
The new sales manager’s focus revolves around comprehensive training, sales education, and strategy – resulting in increased productivity, efficiency, and revenue.
- Fully embracing social selling. Social media is no longer an informal mode of communication – it has now blossomed into an excellent venue for driving dialogue and establishing credibility amongst consumers. One of the strongest trends in 2015 has been the increasing investment in social selling – namely, the devotion of significant time and effort towards the creation and maintenance of a rich social network.Still, many companies miss the mark entirely – as social selling isn’t really about selling. It’s about opening a two-way dialogue with your audience, inspiring authentic discussion, and establishing credibility through the provision of valuable, relevant, informative content.
Failure to follow these unspoken rules of conduct can actually damage your business’s credibility (so be forewarned) – but the benefits far outweigh the risks. By investing in the creation of high-quality, strategic content, and adjusting your sales strategy to incorporate time devoted to social selling, you’ll see significant results, and extend your business’s reach.
If your business is still lagging behind these trends, it’s time to sprint into action, and start the new year right!
Unsure of where to begin? Contact me at SalesFitRx today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com
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