The world of sales has rapidly changed as new technology evolved and became more accessible to businesses and sales teams. Over the last decade, the major trends in sales have included ideas like inbound marketing, social selling, and implementing sales enablement tools.
From companies becoming more intentional about building a culture of engagement to sellers mastering the art of shared-screen conversations, predictions in sales trends for the next decade take a slightly different approach. Improving sales productivity and the overall sales process are still top priority — but there’s more! Here are our predictions for the next ten years in sales, sales management, and sales marketing trends.
20 Bold Sales Predictions for the 2020s
1. Sales leadership will become more important, with the recognition that it isn’t just about culture, or just about people, or just about process. It’s all of that. The best leaders will be focused on making the right people decisions, following the best processes, and engaging in effective planning to deliver top performance.
2. Technology will change how and when salespeople interact but because humans are still humans. The role of the real, live salesperson will continue to be important as people still like to buy from people.
3. Those salespeople who spend more time selling their products than learning about their customers and prospects will finally be extinct. They are already an endangered species. Product information is easily accessible, but guidance from someone who clearly understands the world in which a prospect lives will be more valuable than ever in a sea of data.
4. Companies will be more intentional about building a culture of engagement, knowing that this reduces regrettable turnover, increases productivity, and improves key customer retention. They’ll recognize that if their people aren’t actively engaged, they’re not going to activate their talents and reach their full potential in the job.
5. Training will include more gamification than ever before, inspiring new employees to learn and develop more quickly than the more traditional methods of the past. Companies will pay more attention to creating a strong onboarding process in an effort to improve new hire retention and productivity.
6. Face time with prospects will be even harder to get. As a result, successful sellers will finally master the art of using shared-screen conversations to humanize themselves with people they have never met.
7. Privacy rules will continue to ramp up, and even B2B sellers could be tagged as “telemarketers” on a prospect’s phone or sophisticated voicemail system.
8. Winning sales organizations will create a more effective end to end experience—taking a prospect from general interest, to the customer, to raving fan. This starts with a lead generation strategy supported by marketing automation and aligned with a strong CRM strategy—connecting to a sales process that leads with strong storytelling by use of video and case studies, to tailored proposals that drive business results.
9. Every B2B sales organization will have a budget and person dedicated to sales enablement.
10. The need for local experts will matter more than ever. Advertisers will buy their knowledge.
11. Culture will be more important than ever. Leadership will need to evolve in the workplace environment in order to retain and hire top talent. It will be essential that they adopt and encourage Work/Life blend, especially among the millennial workforce.
12. You will have sales staff that will be 100% focused on new business.
13. Good data will help sellers know when and how to interact with prospects. Each company and each prospect has a “perfect moment” when the window is open to advance meaningful discussions and make a decision. Behavioral data about the prospect’s buying journey will help the sellers in this decade know what to do when to engage.
14. Pricing will move from ratings to impressions and ultimately to response based.
15. Companies will continue to become more flexible with how they manage their work environments offering flex time, remote work opportunities, and other features that attract top talent and offer the promise of a compelling work-life balance.
16. E-commerce begins to decline as “click to mortar” takes its place. Fully Integrated marketing solutions become more critical than ever.
17. Sales departments will embrace how to scale — to do more with less. This will mean that sales departments will finally stop using the old lone wolf sales model where a seller has to do every single part of the sales process on their own and will move to a division of labor strategy that will allow for a more efficient and effective sales approach.
18. Job candidates will weigh the company’s mission, vision, and values more heavily than ever before – considering those to be as important as their compensation and benefits.
19. Programmatic buying will be more prevalent. Someone will finally master the technology.
20. By 2030 - All transactional business will be placed via AI programmatic networks without human buyers or sellers.
Special thanks to John Henley, Jim Hopes, Matt Sunshine, Dani Buckley, Beth Sunshine, Kurt Sima, Kim Alexandre, Trey Morris, Alysa Hinshaw, Craig Jones, and Stephanie Downs for contributing.