In times of major change, uncertainty and upheaval we have two choices. One, we bunker down, keeping our heads low, wait for things to pass and settle down back to normal, or two, we embrace the change and ride the waves towards the future creating a new normal.
Opting for the first option is dangerous and potentially foolish as we are likely to be left behind, achieving only obsolescence.
Opting for the second option is also potentially dangerous, but more likely to achieve better outcomes as we proactively look at how we can make the necessary shifts and changes to stay out in front and remain relevant.
The theme for Barrett’s 2017 Sales Trends is “Going from ordinary to extraordinary”. Its focus is to highlight the current trends that are driving better sales outcomes, and what it takes to lead a sales team and run an effective sales operation now and into the future.
There are themes like authenticity; active learning; the courage to step outside our comfort zones; the power of incremental change and iteration; embracing complexity as a way of life; the importance of being quiet and paying attention; along with openness and transparency. All of these qualities are in of themselves nothing revelatory or revolutionary, but combined together and practiced routinely, they can make for extraordinary change.
If we want to shift from ordinary to extraordinary, it requires focused attention and daily practice working in concert with the sales team, executive C-suite, other departments, our suppliers and our clients. There is no simple answer, no silver bullet to save the day.
If we want extraordinary results, we need to create the conditions in which to lead extraordinary sales teams and manage extraordinary sales operations.
Here’s a quick overview of 12 Sales Trends for 2017.
Sales Trend 1: New metrics
What do we measure now?
With the current state of flux in markets and most industries, it is critical to define sales metrics that are relevant for the situation, strategy and goals of our organisation—and the behaviours we want to encourage in our sales teams.
Sales Trend 2: The silent majority
The vast majority of sales people only want the best for their clients and their own companies, and they are tired of being judged by the acts of a minority and what the media portrays as the stereotypical salesperson. This is what the silent majority wants you to know.
Sales Trend 3: Mapping the buying-selling-delivery process
If you want your sales team and your business to move from ordinary to extraordinary, when it comes to client engagement and better sales results, it pays to map and manage your entire buying-selling-delivery process. This sales trend looks at how you can ensure everyone in your organisation understands where they fit in and how they all support the buying-selling-delivery client experience.
Sales Trend 4: Learn to embrace and manage complexity
Regrettably, most organisations only view their sales operations as tactical, linear functions of the value chain. If sales is only viewed through the overly simplistic lens of foot soldiers selling product, then these organisation are doomed to fail. Sales operations are complex variable systems with many moving parts—they do not follow a straight line; smart companies get this and are leading the way. They recognise that oversimplification is their enemy when it comes to developing and deploying effective sales strategies, so they are doing things differently.
Sales Trend 5: Salespeople are risking becoming obsolete
The proliferation of internet-based sales channels—that offer everything from simple items such as a toothbrush, to some fairly complicated services including insurance and banking and even major items in the business-to-business sector—means the traditional role of product-focused salespeople has changed. This sales trend is about what effective companies and salespeople are doing so as not to become obsolete.
Sales Trend 6: Where are all the high performance sales coaches?
Sales coaching can transform a sales team from ordinary to extraordinary, however, sales coaching is still lagging behind business coaching as a standard business discipline. This sales trend shows us what smart companies are doing to deliver high performance sales coaches and extraordinary sales teams and results.
Sales Trend 7: Sell and deliver value or commoditise
Business leaders have, in essence, two choices in terms of the way to run viable business operations. Run a high-volume, low-margin very streamlined model, or sell real value at a reasonable margin. This trend looks at how sales leaders lead and manage their sales teams and operations whatever path they choose to take.
Sales Trend 8: Extraordinary sales organisations achieve more
With the help of technological disruption, the past 10 years has seen buyers dramatically change how they identify opportunities, evaluate alternatives, and purchase solutions. Buyers are no longer calling the vendor to learn what’s new or to request information like they did before. They have become self-educating, consuming online information whenever they wish. Doing more simply hasn’t helped. What are businesses and sales teams to do in this changing climate?
Sales Trend 9: Learning agility
Salespeople traditionally find themselves in conflicting spaces. Now, there’s a new one; a very different polarity is demanding attention from salespeople as well as sales managers and learning and development specialists supporting them. It’s the tension between the growing complexity of our sales environment and the demand from clients to simplify things for them. How can sales teams keep learning and adapting to keep pace with markets and clients? This trend will show you what some business are doing to stay relevant in this space.
Sales Trend 10: Personal branding as the foundation of social selling
A strong personal brand, aligned with the company’s brand, might make all the difference when it comes to making social selling deliver real results for salespeople and sales teams.
Sales Trend 11: Sales to add value to procurement, not just follow the process
There are 15,000 people working full-time in procurement in Australia, and the proportion of sales revenue that is won through competitive tender processes is rising every year. This trend is about the key factors affecting procurement practitioners, and how, in turn, this affects sales professionals and sales teams.
Sales Trend 12: Sustainability in the supply chain
This trend highlights the increasing importance for companies in mapping the journey and impact on the environment of their products and services from the supply chain to the end user, and the resulting impact on the company’s brand, reputation, market share, and real and long term sales results.
Click here to access the full version of Barrett’s 12 Sales Trends for 2017 report.