Magazine article CRM Magazine

4 Top Trends in Sales for 2017

Magazine article CRM Magazine

4 Top Trends in Sales for 2017

Article excerpt

"Sell more. Sell faster." Surely you've heard that directive in the past few weeks as we've flipped the calendar page to 2017. The question is, how? Through constant innovation, companies test, shift and grow their approaches to sales, with the ongoing goal of accomplishing those twin goals.

In assessing the evolution of the sales process over the past year, we have identified a number of trends that innovative companies are leveraging today to drive sales. Let's take a look at these leading broad trends in sales, across various industries and company sizes, for the coming year.

#1 Cleaner data to make it actionable

Data inside of your CRM is often like that old closet in the back bedroom of your house. You know the one: piled high with random items that have accumulated out of a combination of laziness and a desire not to have to decide what to do with it. In short, that closet is messy. And, if you're like most companies, so is the data in your CRM. The promise of Big Data hinges upon having data so clean that you could eat off of it.

And for many companies, the data is far from clean. Why? Because it's a hassle to keep up to date, especially when there are dozens of other things that a sales rep needs to track, do, remember, follow up on. No matter what CRM you use, your sales team would rather be selling than updating data in it. And that includes Salesforce, which, while incredibly powerful, requires you to click back and forth to update data like close dates, Opportunity value and the like. Thus, while it may seem costly to spend for yet another solution on top of you CRM to make it more usable, in fact companies have come to realize that in 2017 they need to make it easy for data to be accurate.

How accurate? This can be seen in action at Wolters Kluwer. A global information services company, wolters kluwer sought to uncover meaningful, actionable data for their sales team. with multiple products in their portfolio, reps needed better insight into which accounts were not yet using all appropriate products, to uncover cross-sell opportunities. The reporting process was time consuming, and the reports often weren't completed on time or as often as the reps needed.

Implementing a data management tool in their Salesforce CRM to make data views and inputs easy, Wolters Kluwer sales reps have gained back 25 hours a week as a team that they use to sell, instead of pulling data. In addition, the operations team has regained 16 additional hours a week they'd previously spent pulling and manipulating reports.

#2 Deeper partnership selling approaches to close more deals

People everywhere are increasingly intolerant of having a sales-y experience. A consultative or partnership sales approach has worked well in recent years. This approach, used by many successful enterprise sales teams, will be expanded across other tiers of business in the coming year. While it certainly doesn't work for every industry, the enterprise approach, aka "partnership selling," is a trend we'll see deepening in 2017.

The techniques involve listening to the problem identified by your prospect and preparing for a series of calls, Ironically, this preparation, which can take some time, has proven to help accelerate the sales cycle, It's all about actions like preparing for your calls, setting a tailored agenda for each interaction with the prospect, and mapping actions to your sales process. …

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