Sales Trends for 2012 As many seek refuge from the negativity of the media, others look ahead to new beginnings. We are moving toward a pre boom economy and selling professionals and managers will need to be more efficient and more productive this year. Here are some of the areas that will be affected:
Lead Generation: The issue of lead generation has increased in the last two years. Technology has helped gather leads but the conversion factor has not increased. Selling professionals and marketing departments must collaborate for better target market optimization. Simply, put leads must be converted and there will be increased attention to close more business.
Customer Service: As reported many times 45% of every client interaction involves customer service. Research illustrates that customer service has decreased in many organisations. Since customer-to-customer influences have become vital to success, it is increasingly important that selling professionals focus more on their most vital asset- the client.
Better Hiring: The days of placing butts in seats to fill a void are gone. Sales managers must find talent that will become immediately productive. The use of On Boarding programs and the discovery of proper talent will be an imperative focus for sales managers. More pressure will be placed on finding the right people in the right positions to help increase margins.
Preparation: The last five years have provided significant tools and technology to sales professionals. From CRM systems to better search methodology in Google, selling professionals are more prepared then ever. Or are they? Customers have access to as much information as their sales professional. It is vital that all sellers be prepared for every client interaction. Reading annual reports, watching the news and having a prepared list of value questions will aid every call. Sales people must have more information than their client.
Value: We are in a knowledge economy. Selling professionals must stop providing information to clients and provide value. Selling professionals must convert the information they have into knowledge that the client can immediately use to be more competitive, innovative, etc.
Process: 92% of selling professionals (and this includes entrepreneurs) do not have a process to build relationships and close business. 2012 will be the year of increased productivity, it is necessary for sellers to gain the knowledge necessary to build trust and close business more efficiently. Sales professionals must be better prepared and better educated. The days of “anyone can sell” have ended.
Training: Gone are the days of sitting in a classroom for 8 hours expecting a return on investment. Managers and business professionals do not have the time and frankly event based training fails. Selling is a process therefore sales training will alter to a more succinct process oriented approach. Secondly, with the movement of selling as a profession, companies will remove themselves from education and desire that individuals take ownership of their profession.
Innovative concepts begin during times of dramatic change. 2012 will provide interesting opportunities to the selling community not experienced since the 1980’s. The year will be challenging yet exciting, those ahead of the curve will thrive. Innovation occurs at the beginning of the curve, competition at the end. First mover advantage is always easier.