Three Themes That Will Define Successful Sales in 2016

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Three Themes That Will Define Successful Sales in 2016
« vào lúc: Thứ sáu, 1/01/2016, 12:40:17 »

The ELEVATE conference foreshadows a year of strategic social tactics, smarter process, and a re-humanization of sales

1 Social selling reevaluated.

Social selling was one of the most enthusiastically adopted sales tactics of 2015. At ELEVATE, the topic drew support from several thought leaders including: Jill Rowley, social selling evangelist; Koka Sexton, leader of the LinkedIn #SocialSelling Movement; Jim Keenan, CEO of A Sales Guy, Inc., and others.

The advantages of social selling are very real. They include being able to accelerate sales by turbo-charging research, giving salespeople access to more leads through their personal networks, empowering reps with more customer data to help them tailor their approach specifically to each customer, and more. In fact, companies that use social media for sales are 72 percent more effective than those that don't, according to LinkedIn research.

But social selling isn't magic. In his talk, Kraig Kleeman strips away the hype and presents the real, powerful advantages of the approach in the context of its equally real limitations. A well-made point by Kleeman is the misuse of social selling. He notes that too many sales reps simply regurgitate content onto social channels because they have been told they need to. But that content is only useful if it is truly unique and engaging-otherwise it's just a waste of resources, and can sometimes even deter potential customers who view misguided content as spam.

While social selling is a powerful tool, it gets its power from playing on relationships. Just like relationships require nurturing and careful attention, social selling is only useful if you take a thoughtful approach. It will be interesting to see how this trend pans out in the coming year.

2 The more advanced sales technologies get, the more human the sales process becomes.

Technical innovations like automation have made selling far more efficient, but have also made many salespeople wary of being replaced by an algorithm. In fact, the opposite is true. Technology eliminates some of the traditional administrative tasks of sales, but that has only empowered salespeople to refine the art of customer engagement.

With access to more data, sales has become more personal than ever before, and that personal connection requires finesse. That's where the real art comes in. Successful salespeople have to constantly learn new skills and apply new tactics. Author Jill Konrath advises doing so in three ways: modeling your organization to encourage teamwork (and group problem solving), investing in a well-developed training plan, and hiring people specifically for their capacity to learn.

In 2016, I challenge you to really leverage technology to enhance human connections. If you can do this well, your sales will soar.

3 The sales stack emerges but process is equally important.

Sales technology is exploding. So much that a term "sales stack" has emerged to represent the tools used in addition to your CRM solution.

ELEVATE speaker and chief analyst at TOPO, Craig Rosenberg, validated this trend, sharing recent research that found the fastest-growing sales organizations rely heavily on sales acceleration software. Most use roughly five different applications in addition to their CRM-some use up to 12. But Rosenberg cautions that software alone isn't enough, and insists that the true key to sales success is marrying technology with a strongly defined process.

My own research backs this up--a study I performed with Steve W. Martin found process to be the number one priority of top-selling organizations. By articulating structure first, organizations build a solid foundation for future momentum. As technology brings sales to higher and higher volume and velocity, process is our best tool to ensure they don't also spiral out of control.

As you plan for 2016, keep these themes in mind. Coming from some of the most successful sales professionals in recent history, this guidance will prove incredibly useful as you decide where to focus your time and energy for maximum success. And be sure to check out the rest of the conference for even more insight.