In nearly every client and prospect meeting, we are asked about the top trends impacting B2B sales right now. Over the last year, we have seen the top 4 B2B sales trends to be:
- The Internet of Things (IOT for short) and the Digital Economy
- Centralized or De-centralized Sales Organization Structure
- Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
- Social Selling
These trends impact the ability of sales organizations to deliver revenue, margin, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction. They not only impact sales leaders, but also impact all levels of the sales organization. Sales people should be aware of the trends impacting decisions by their customers. Sales leaders should be aware of the trends that impact them internally and externally.
The Internet of Things and the Digital Economy
The Internet of Things and the Digital Economy are creating a need for many sales organizations in the traditional industrial sectors to be more effective in selling innovation. IOT is re-shaping companies and markets. You see companies that were simply in the lighting business, historically, suddenly delivering lighting solutions that now are a communications platform. I was with a client recently who traditionally sold lighting and today sells a platform that still supports the lighting need, but also supports tunable light, tracking of equipment movement through a facility and communications with shoppers within a retail store. This is not your grandfather’s light bulb! They are selling innovation and we are helping them build the skills. Other hot topics include security, big data, and the cloud. If you are selling technology or selling to technology companies, we recommend that you see Gartner Group’s posting in Forbes titled “Top 10 Technology Trends“. How are changes in technology impacting your sales team’s innovation selling efforts?
Centralized or De-centralized, this is still the question
More importantly, the dynamics of organizational structure from a leadership, management and customer engagement perspective are changing quickly as we see clients adapting new structures to gain competitive advantage. Success requires clarity regarding the strategy, new leadership skills and new sales team skills for account acquisition and account management strategies. We are doing some exciting work with clients connecting strategy and execution through application of the SOAR Strategy Framework.
Busy seems to be the norm.
Each group that I have worked with this year seems to be extremely busy. This busyness creates an environment where efficiency takes priority over effectiveness. This is most obvious in the area of customer understanding and preparation for meetings. How much time are you or your teams spending on presentation preparation vs. meeting preparation? Presentation preparation is focused on re-arranging the PowerPoint deck, while meeting preparation is about understanding the styles of the individuals that we plan to meet and preparing for the right conversation to accomplish the goals for the meeting. This requires a focus on effective customer engagement vs efficient customer engagement.
Social Selling continues to get a lot of press
Well, we have all heard the buzz about social selling. The success of social selling, as in many things, is not only in the strategy, but the execution. We are seeing an increasing number people focused on how to effectively execute a social selling strategy. As such, we have added a new practice area, SOAR Social Selling. Our goal is to take all the press about social selling from a lot of buzz to a lot of bite with results for our clients.
We see the top 4 trends impacting B2B sales right now to be: 1) Social Selling 2) Efficiency vs. Effectiveness 3) The Internet of Things (IOT for short) and the Digital Economy 4) Sales Organization Structure. We would enjoy hearing from you about the trends you are seeing. Go to our contact page and send us an email with your perspective. Thank you in advance.