The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

21 Bold Predictions for Sales in 2018

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Here at the Center for Sales Strategy, we are constantly asked to look at sales, sales management, and sales marketing trends, and to make predictions about what the landscape might look like in the future. At the end of each year, we make what we consider to be our bold predictions for the following year. This year, several people from our team participated. Special thanks to Dean Mootheart, Alan Vitberg, Shannon Delmarle, Trey Morris, John Henley, Kim Alexandre, Matt Sunshine, Dani Buckley, Brad Ramsey, Greg Giersch, and Beth Sunshine for contributing.

21 Bold Predictions for 2018 

  1. Video content will become more prevalent and will be used not just for marketing, but in the sales process to help accelerate deals through the funnel.
  2. Customized content for specific prospects will no longer just be for companies who deploy Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategies — it will become common practice.
  3. CMOs will be replaced by CGOs (Chief Growth Officers) who will bring discipline, accountability, and oversight to the marketing and sales functions, with a particular emphasis on top line results.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) fueled by big data will accelerate the buyer's journey.
  5. Companies will be doing less generalized lead gen for their brand. They will instead be doing targeted lead gen for a specific niche or service line or individual product.
  6. The sales team will become remote. As a way to attract Millennials and satisfy Gen X workers, sales team will push towards virtual offices. Managers will allow work-from-home offices, more flex hours, and sales meetings via Skype. Efficiencies will increase as the sales team spends less time in traffic and more time working with clients.
  7. Organizations will get back to specializing by verticals. Sure, there will be account executives that sell “all” categories, but next year, you will see companies begin to select reps with the right talents and experience to hyper-focus on one or two vertical categories. 
  8. Managers will find a way to bring high touch and high tech together: building relationships and powerful connections with clients and prospects using CRM and sales enablement tools to make it happen. Organizations will lead with the tech tools and using them to turn a digital interaction into a human interaction.
  9. Needs analysis conversations will become much more about results and expectations and less about needs.
  10. If you don’t pay a salary, you won’t hire a Millennial. 
  11. Personal marketing resumes become relevant again. Now salespeople need to find a way to stand out on LinkedIn!
  12. One-hour sales meetings where most of the time is spent on housekeeping items (that could have been communicated in an email) will go away. Replacing that tired sales meeting will be shorter 5–25 minute meetings where practice and motivation will play the biggest role.
  13. Company culture is on the rise. Successful companies won’t sit back and hope they have a good culture. They will instead have culture champions that will insure that the company culture makes for an amazing work experience with high employee engagement. This will lead to more productivity and less turnover.
  14. The sales tech stack will finally show up and be used. The best companies will invest in the sales tech that their sales organizations need to be more efficient and effective. This will lead to more sales and an increase in revenue. 
  15. Buyers will expect (or even demand) more opportunities for real-time communication including chats, messaging, and chat bots. 
  16. Business development representatives (think of the person focused on nurturing leads, between lead receipt and deal execution) will be the fastest growing sales role over the next few years, and the very best BDRs will be very hard to hold onto as more and more companies see the value in this role.
  17. Inbound marketing spend in the U.S. will grow as marketing automation replaces some outdated marketing functions, allowing outbound marketing budgets to shrink organically.    
  18. Informing and educating prospects and clients will no longer set you apart. It will be the expectation, and expected for free. Where and how you share those insights will become more important. Balancing a social media presence that gives you credibility with account-based messaging that offers personalization will be key.
  19. Companies are going to “rent” rather than ”buy” talent much more often at all levels — looking at contract and freelance workers.
  20. Companies will need to think mobile-first when hiring, ensuring that web pages are optimized for display on mobile screens, and that applications and interviews can be completed on smartphones. Employers will communicate with candidates more often via text.
  21. Professional development will be more in-demand than ever and will increase retention in jobs. A recent Executive Search Group study showed that more than half of respondents said their number one reason to accept a job would be the chance for professional development, and 60% said that would retain them in their current jobs.

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Topics: Sales