2015 was an amazing year. From mobile apps that do everything under the sun to cars that can drive themselves, technology advances provided us with more efficient, easier ways of doing things. As processes and technologies continue to evolve, the obvious question is this: what’s next?
2016 holds a lot of promise for the sales enablement industry, and there are five key areas that I predict will hit it big this year:
1. There will be a big push for greater sales rep productivity
There are a lot of ways to increase sales revenue, but by far the most logical and effective method is to increase sales rep productivity. In the past, this method has been shelved in favor of other methods, but 2016 will see a big change.
The companies who did focus on improving sales rep productivity in 2015—those with razor sharp sales execution cultures—will continue to advance, and their competitors will take note. The focus on improving sales rep productivity will move beyond early adopters into the early mainstream stage. Over time, the technologies designed to improve sales productivity, from CRM automation to gamification software, will become household names for B2B companies.
2. Companies will be on the hunt for more effective sales activity tracking
The sales team is one of the biggest “If” factors determining whether or not a company is successful, so it makes sense that companies will want clear visibility into how much time their sales reps are spending on high value activities versus sales timewasters, particularly in the realm of CRM data entry and usage. Instead of just pushing CRM adoption, companies will move toward ways to effectively and easily use CRM.
As more companies become aware of sales activity tracking technology, it will become a “need to have” solution—companies who don’t use tracking simply won’t be able to keep up with competitors who do.
3. We’ll see a huge demand for sales analytics
Analytics have been around for a long time, but the B2B sales market has just started to discover how analytics can be leveraged by sales teams for more intelligent, informed decision making. In particular, sales teams will use analytics to identify and share what works best across their entire teams, turning C sellers into A sellers as a result.
In order to get to the point where they can use analytics to its fullest potential, B2B sales companies will start with a focus on visibility—getting clearer awareness of what’s going on across the entire sales team in every stage of the sales cycle. To get this visibility, sales teams will start collecting more and more data, then use sales analytics to turn that data into actionable insight.
4. There will be a greater focus on reinforcement training for sales teams
Businesses are spending a huge amount of money on sales training for their reps, but that training is having very little impact. In 2016, more companies will start leveraging sales training reinforcement strategies in order to optimize their investment in sales training.
Sales training reinforcement will become a habitual, common process. And the result? Sales reps will remember their training and apply what they’ve learned, continuing the trend toward hyper-productive, effective sales teams.
5. Marketing will continue to increase its role in sales
Historically, marketing and sales have been seen as completely separate departments. In 2015, B2B companies made strong strides toward aligning sales and marketing into one revenue department, with marketing helping sales reps effectively engage with buyers.
That trend will grow much stronger in 2016. The lines where marketing ends and sales begins will blur significantly. Analytics and automation will play a vital role in this change—they’ll make it even easier to gain the visibility necessary for alignment.
In short, 2016 is going to be a great year for B2B sales teams—new technology and processes are going to make selling easier, faster and more efficient. That’s fantastic news for sales management, sales reps and buyers alike.
Have a 2016 prediction to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!