As part of our most recent PowerOpinions series, I asked Anthony Iannarino to look back at 2015 and look forward at 2016. As usual, he had a lot to say and I agree with all of it so I decided to share his thoughts in their entirety. The bottom line here is that prospecting is critically important to sales success and hardly anyone is doing it. Last year Anthony said he had $8,000,000 reasons why cold calling works and this year it is $9,000,000! Read what Anthony has to say:
I’m not big on predictions or reflections that span the course of twelve months. It isn’t a long enough timeline for things like sales and marketing. For my money, the best we can do is comment on the big trends that take years and decades to fully develop—or fail to develop at all.
Social Selling Jumped the Shark:
I think social selling is winding down. It’s not that it isn’t important to build your brand, nurture your dream clients, or use all of the tools available to open new relationships. Like a lot of things, social hasn’t lived up to the hype.
Twitter started its descent when people started automating their tweets and made it less personal, and the rest of the social tools are being abused in very much the same way. Every LinkedIn request is quickly followed up by a pitch, mostly for services that make no sense for the recipient. Every Twitter "follow" is greeted with an auto-reply providing information about what services that person provides.
There is little “social” in “social selling” unless you are really into “social.” But for brand building, awareness, and reach, it’s the best thing that ever happened to those few who can use it for such (i.e. Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, Robert Scoble, et al).
The Perennial Problems Persist
There are still endless questions about what a qualified lead is. Led by the new Internet economy companies, no one knows where a business development rep’s role begins or ends and when a salesperson is supposed to take over.
Forecasts are still off by a country mile. Pipelines are full of opportunities, and yet most salespeople don’t reach their quota, and too many sales organizations still miss their forecasts.
Prospecting is still the most fundamental and challenging work of selling. Salespeople have traded being rejected personally over the telephone when cold calling to being rejected by having their cold email deleted, where apparently they don’t feel the sting. The aversion to the phone is deeper than ever, but it feels as if the tide is turning.
Smart people in lead generation are too clever by half, mistakenly believing that they can automate human relationships and that emails and clicks are useful outcomes and meaningful metrics. All this while their companies are mostly starved for revenue.
Hiring is still the most challenging thing a sales manager or a sales organization has to do, and most of us don’t do it well enough.
Meet the New Boss
In 2016, you will be introduced to more sales technologies, some of which are going to be much-improved attempts at ideas that have failed for others in the past.
You are going to hear the never-ending claim that salespeople will soon be far fewer in number than they are today, even while more advertisements for salespeople are being run.
You will be bombarded by folks claiming that "sales" needs to be reengineered, and that almost all sales jobs should be brought inside, some claiming that the division of labor can be sliced ever so thin that increasing headcount lowers the cost of acquiring and serving clients.
In short, 2016 is going to look a lot like 2015. But you are going to be a year older, and with hope, a year wiser.
If you want to learn a LOT more, join Anthony and five other highly successful authors on January 20, 215 for the FREE 2016 Virtual Sales Kickoff.
Topics: Guest Blogs