For salespeople in many industries, these next 2 months make or break the entire year. Most organizations are heads down trying to finish the year strong and finalize their 2015 plan. In the midst of this chaos, we’ll be sitting down this Thursday to talk about everything we were thankful for in 2014 and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
I’m thankful for the future of sales as the image of used car guy continues to be pushed further and further in the past and a new vision of what is sales emerges. There are three trends that have seen explosive growth this year and I see being huge difference makers next year.
1. Sales tools are getting better than ever
Salesloft: Enough said. Although Salesloft is pricier than many other tools, the value is clear. It offers amazing accurate list building.
Yesware/toutapp: Both tools have stepped up their game over 2014 and I expect a clear leader to emerge in the email tracking space this year. Easy campaign building and removal features will be key to who wins.
Connectifer: Want something to pull out emails and numbers from LinkedIn to make fast calls or contacts? This is the best tool out there.
Have any other tools salespeople shouldn’t live without in 2015? Let me know in the comments or tweet @JakeTDunlap
2. The death of relationship sales
Phase 1: Changing skill sets, not ageism, are leading to seasoned professionals struggling to find roles.
Many people discuss and highlight the reality of ageism in tech, and how that applies to the sales organization in particular. From my experience interviewing sales professionals and leaders, the issue doesn’t appear to be age as much as the skill set. The skill set that made these men and women successful for the past 20 years is just not as effective as it once was. I’m not implying that building rapport is useless now, but that good relationships (may) push people over the edge rather than establish credibility.
We all know that Gen Y likes to challenge authority, but do we understand the full effect this has on the sales organization? Salespeople are focused on educating and challenging, in addition to building rapport. This new breed isn’t relying on the “cmon man, I’m a good guy” mentality.
Look for 2015 to continue this trend, and for the relationship seller to be pushed out of even more traditional industries where “relationships are everything” has been the mantra.
3. Social selling is a mandatory part of lead generation
I was not a believer in this until we started utilizing a startup Socedo to generate leads via twitter. The quality has been okay but the volume has been amazing. As we do a better job of refining our targets, we expect the quality to increase as well.
Social Selling doesn’t mean referral selling, it means using social media channels and information on social media for your outreach. Yes, you can ask for referrals but you can do that on email as well. Social offers a unique way to connect our clients with the right people and then take the conversations from social to real world channels. Because of the prevalence of buyers on social media, it would be foolish to not try and engage (or at least utilize) the information that is personal to these people in your outreach.
2014 saw a huge increase in the focus on tech in the sales process and 2015 is sure to bring more amazing, stalker like innovations to allow salespeople to educate and challenge prospects like never before. My hope is that someone will finally develop a solution that allows us to eliminate sales and instead just present logical solutions matched to needs… but that would take all the fun out it!