Driving new revenue growth is a key business strategy over which executives obsess religiously. It’s part of quarterly planning sessions, monthly sales reports, and weekly tactical reviews.
The ability to win over new customers and to increase wallet share from existing customers is the primary objective for any business — big or small. So, the hand wringing and obsessive analysis that leaders go through is to be expected.
Sales strategy matters.
Over the last few years, technology changes have rapidly accelerated the way data is used for smarter decision making. Key data points like location, time of day, social media impact, individual lifestyle choices, and engagement can be compiled, compared and contrasted together in ways that enrich sales strategy and give leaders a clear path towards even more sales growth.
Here are three big ways you’re sales strategy will change even further in 2014 the upcoming year:
1. Microdata will enhance (and automate) how you use sales tools.
While your CRM already has filters, lists and different ways to view all the data about your prospects and customers, the sheer size of that data and its inability to be responsive to external data created real time by customers makes it a challenge for sales people who just want to know the “Top 5 Most Important Prospects” at any one time.
The increased use of sensors and smart devices being embedded in phones, cars — even microwaves, will synchronize with data captured in the sales funnel and automatically predict the best way that you should be spending your time. Your CRM will use that sensor microdata to automatically surface prospects best positioned to be turned into a customer.
2. “Smarketing” will be about influence not discounts.
Flash sale sites and discount-based marketing have run their course. Consumers know that if they wait long enough they can buy almost any product at a discount — many times paying less than 50 percent of the original asking price.
While the B2C space generally has steeper discounts than B2B, business buyers have also learned to adjust their purchasing cycle to match times when salespeople are most likely to give them the biggest discounts — like the end of a quarter or fiscal year. As sales and marketing continue to blur the lines separating what used to be two distinct practices, the new “smarketing” will be focused on influence rather than discounts or brand awareness.
The tools you use will help you influence customers to making a decision that includes your ideas rather than trying to persuade them with superficial incentives like discounts or biased educational position papers.
3. The sales funnel will evolve into a predictable sales spiral
The traditional sales funnel continues to evolve as better tools help sales people predict timing and stages for prospect engagement. Those stages connect directly to opportunities in CRM software and can be used for reasonably accurate revenue forecasting.
A new crop of prospect engagement tools will further change the traditional sales funnel into a “spiral of engagement.” This spiral more accurately models buyer behavior — from awareness to engagement to retention. From social media dialogue to shopping patterns and friend behavior, these tools capture, analyze, and report the attractiveness of prospects as an ongoing influenceable continuum.
This shift from funnel to spiral will further align customer-facing departments like customer service and support with marketing, sales and public relations — creating a more sales centric organization.
Sales strategy matters.
The difference between a good strategy and a great strategy can be billions of dollars in revenue.
These shifts in sales strategy show potential for better awareness of existing client needs and spotlight new opportunities for engaging clients who might otherwise avoid doing business with your company.
Things are changing. Are you?