Written by Sean McPheat |
It’s that time of the year again when everyone is second guessing what’s going to happen in 2012 so I thought I’d put together my top 10 predictions for the sales industry.
1. Recession Or Not, It’s Going To Be Like This For A Long Time
Whether you think we’re coming out of the recession or not, business has changed for a long time to come. You’ve got to accept that no-one is going to wave a magic wand and open the flood gates of spending again so if you’re waiting for that moment then you’ll be waiting for a long time! Instead, accept that these current conditions are going to be like this for some time to come and just “get on with it”
2. Sales Professionals Will Finally Get Around To Using Social Media
Sales 2.0, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube – these are all sites, terms and services that Sales Pros have had on their “to do” list for some time. So you’ve got your LinkedIn profile…well, now’s the time to start using it! 2012 will the be the year where the adoption of these sites gathers momentum and this will snowball as more and more success stories are made “public” and the return on investment finally filters through.
3. “Entrepreneurial Salesmanship”
The modern day sales professional will need to think more like an entrepreneur and opportunity seeker more than ever before. They will need to look at different and new avenues of generating business and fresh and innovative methods of keeping their existing ones. Sales recruitment will look at potential candidates who also possess innovative, entrepreneurial and creative traits in addition to the tried and tested sales recruitment assessments criteria.
4. A Shift Towards Unbiased Benefit Selling
The term what’s in it for me (WIIFM) has been around since the beginning of time. The problem with this is that today’s modern buyers know that this is a biased point of view! WIIFM will be superseded in 2012 with PISB (Prove I should buy) Demonstrating and explaining “The What” is not enough. Instead there will be a shift away from “you” telling the whole story, features, benefits etc and instead a move towards a joint effort which will include input from your customers via video, audio and written testimonials, interviews, unbiased social media feedback and showcasing your products and services in action via live customers using your products and the like.
5. Negotiation Skills Become Vital
The modern day sales professional will need to add negotiation skills to their armoury if their margins are going to be protected in 2012. Negotiation skills is normally a section tagged on to the last part of a sales training course or as part of the closing/objection handling section but it’s a vital skill that if often overlooked. Your buyers are going to demand more and more and will want to pay less and less so those that are best equipped to deal with the price bashing barrage that is to come will win the day over the competition.
6. Marketing & Sales Alignment For Early Engagement
“The leads are weak” say the Sales team. “They can’t close anything” say the Marketing team! More so than ever before, the sales and marketing functions are going to have work very closely together to engage with your buyers much earlier on in the sales process. Reports and research illustrate that between 25%-40% of the buying process is completed online before they engage with your sales team. Those companies that can “catch” their prospects while they are conducting their research online, on blogs, forums, groups and the like with have a distinct advantage over the competition. This will need an aggregated approach via both marketing and sales to create the “bait” and “thought leadership content” all over the internet to attract interest and then to create effective lead capture, follow up and engagement systems.
What are your predictions? Have your say below and write a comment!
Originally published: 4 January, 2012