This is the third in a series of three blogs about what experts feel companies did well in 2015 and what they would do better in 2016. The panelists include:
Ardath Albee – Marketing Interactions
Miles Austin – Fill the Funnel, Inc
Jeffrey Hayzlett – The C-Suite Network
Dave Kurlan – Objective Management Group
Matt Heinz – Heinz Marketing
Mike Weinberg – New Sales Coach
… plus I pulled some additional comments pulled from Mikogo’s Sales Trends & Challenges in 2016 – 12 Experts Share Their Predictions (I am one of the experts).
Author of New Sales Coach is glad to see the return of “reasonable thinking.”
What B2B Companies Did Well in 2015?
One the things I was most pleased to see with many B2B companies (and in the sales blogosphere) in 2015 is a return “reasonable” thinking when it came to inbound marketing and social selling regarding their place in a sales effort. Executives came to their senses and stopped listening to the hysteria that these new methods were the fix for all of their sales issues. The crazies preaching that prospecting and traditional methods of developing new business had died were proven wrong, and if not silenced, many have been quieted. Oh, the new sales “experts” are still making plenty of noise, but it’s generally contained to their own sphere of influence with like-minded Kool-Aid pushers. Companies who were duped into believing that “everything had changed” and that “nothing that used to work still works anymore” experienced a wake-up call once these wonderful new methods didn’t deliver the promised results. It’s a relief to see a return to a balanced approach to selling, and those sales teams who best blend new methods and old, using all means available, had, and will continue to have, the most success.
What They Can Do Better in 2016?
To create lasting and sustainable sales performance improvement, sales managers need to free time up to invest in higher-value sales leadership activities. Companies need to remember the sales manager’s primary job and stop burying them with unimaginable amounts of crap that has nothing to do with leading the team or driving new revenue. And mangers must stop playing CRM desk jockey and get back to the basics—meeting 1:1 with their people, conducting great sales team meetings, and getting out in the field with reps. Imagine what might happen to sales results if sales managers actually spent the majority of their time on high-value activities that moved the revenue needle instead of playing firefighter-in-chief, sales administrator, or living with their heads buried in CRM screens and their email!
Note from Dan: If you have not already read Sales Management. Simplified. … go out and buy it. Mike provides the blueprint for 1:1 meetings, great sales meetings, and how to work with reps in the field. Here’s part one and part two of an interview with Mike Weinberg about his newest book.
12 (Summarized) Expert Opinions on Sales Trends & Challenges in 2016
Read the original article from Mikogo titled: Sales Trends & Challenges in 2016 – 12 Experts Share Their Predictions
I was very pleased to have been asked to respond to Mikogo’s Sales Trends and Challenges in 2016. You can read the complete report by clicking the link above, but here is a sampling of responses from me and other experts:
Chris Ashley – Kissmetrics: Sales professionals that previously relied on building rapport over the phone will need to adapt and learn how to utilize current technologies to open those same doors…
Trish Bertuzzi – The Bridge Group: 2016 is the year we will modify our sales process to truly reflect how our buyers want to buy. Every interaction with them will be well thought out and deliver value. No more making them “earn” the right to information. We will put it at their fingertips.
Nancy Bleeke – Sales Pro Insider, Inc.: Smart company leaders will look for ways to remove the process, technology and fluff that keep their company from growing.
Matt Heinz – Heinz Marketing (yes, he is everywhere): 2016 will be about more B2B marketers than ever embracing revenue responsibility.
Jason Jordan – Vantage Point: Training dollars and accountability will migrate from the sellers to their managers, and improved performance will soon follow.
Jill Konrath – JILL KONRATH: Learning agility will emerge as a critical skill necessary for both sales leaders and salespeople. Sales professionals will continue to struggle trying to keep up with increasingly complex decisions, the demand to “know more” and new technologies. All this, combined with an endless flow of information and distractions, will decrease productivity—when their entire organization is focused on increasing it.
Andy MacMillan – Act-On: Marketing will expand from predominantly acquisition marketing to retention, expansion and advocacy, and we will see the role of CRM and the marketer evolve into the new stewards of customer relationship.
Kyle Porter – Sales Loft: Account-based approach will have prospectors, inside sales reps, AE’s and top of the funnel demand generation professionals focused on a set of very relevant and highly targeted accounts. All of their efforts will be focused on converting these accounts from contact information to paying customer.
Dan McDade – PointClear: As lead quality improves (while quantity declines), sales will struggle to approach each prospect as a market of one. Rather they will be in selling mode rather than listening mode early on and lose to a more consultative, insight based approach.
Lori Richardson – Score More Sales: We will see one or more companies with more complete technology solutions to help B2B sellers and marketers cohesively.
David Meerman Scott – Freshspot Marketing: 2016 will be the year of “Newsjacking”; and educating and informing rather than interrupting and selling.
Colleen Stanley – SalesLeadership, Inc.: The “Amazon” effect will continue to force sales organizations to get clear on their differentiators, add more value to the customer experience or resign themselves to be replaced by a drone.
Final Thoughts from Dan
I don’t believe the solution to the current alignment challenges is technology (nor do I think our panel feels that way either with rare exception). Marketing needs to work on small battles before they are recognized as worthy of a seat at the table with sales. For years marketing has dumped raw, unfiltered, poor-quality leads on sales which sales has routinely ignored (for good reason.) There is an opportunity to start small with additional contacts and relevant insights into a few target accounts as a way to opening up a new chapter with sales. What sales needs to do is to let marketing enjoy a few wins.
I hope you have enjoyed these three blogs and best wishes for 2016!