Sales is one of the most fundamental parts of a business. It’s pretty hard to make a case that any other department carries as much responsibility to keep the organization going than the sales team. Or as Mark Cuban likes to say “sales cures all”.
Some quick research on the web and you quickly learn that there are at bare minimum an infinite variety of different sales methods, best practices, strategies, programs, coaches, and rainmakers. Of course an overwhelming majority of this is from so-called “gurus” that want you to pay them to teach you their secret sauce.
In order to wade through the sales pitches we decided to reach out to 4 high level execs — Founders & CEO’s — to see where they envision the future of sales. Here’s what they had to say:
Steve Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps
“The three major trends we’ll see in Sales have to do with information, automation, and enablement. In the future, buyers will do more research and have easy access to more information before they engage with salespeople. A lot of the repetitive administrative work in sales will be automated. There are certain roles that are going to be affected by technology and automation more than others. For example, Inside Sales roles have more tasks that are more easily automated than Outside Sales Roles. Technology will enable all salespeople to get more done in a day and spend their time more effectively. For example, my company, Badger Maps, is focused on helping Outside Salespeople do just that. Overall, more educated buyers, less administrative work, and tools that enable the salesperson will make Sales a more interesting, and likely more competitive career path in the future.”
Craig J. Lewis – Founder & Chief Entrepreneur Officer of Visage Payroll
“If you are very curious about the future, follow the money. Venture Capitalist are pouring millions into sales related technology. There’s a bunch of funding activity around sales technology happening right now. The future of sales is technology. Startups are already applying big data, deep machine learning and artificial intelligence to every part of the sales cycle. There are currently nearly 150 companies building products to help sales professionals, sales teams and companies automate their sales efforts. And it’s not just sales CRM’s, startups are using artificial intelligence to improve actual sales calls. The future will see the birth of a lot more of these tech companies tackling more and more sales challenges. Some examples are Chorus.ai, TalkIQ, Gong and Cogito.”
Jason Kanigan, Business strategist, Sales Trainer and Owner of Sales On Fire
“People are no longer buying like it’s 2012. They’re not receiving a direct mail offer or seeing a Google ad and converting from there. Instead, they’re going to trusted influencers for reviews. Think about how you bought your last camera or car. Consumers watch and read multiple video, Amazon, and other online reviews, and then make up their minds with this information.
This means that the most trusted influencer wins. So having a body of work—considerable searchable content, a recognizable entertainment style, and focus on a specific field—is key to sellers. An example is photography reviewer Kai W, formerly of the DigitalRev TV channel on YouTube. He hit all the key influencer requirements with a much-copied presentation style, focus on photography, and huge amount of content produced over the past half-decade; and when he recently left that channel to start his own, his followers followed.”
Elisabeth Marino, President & Founder of Sales Dynamo Consulting
“The sales process of the future will continue to change as communications and information technology evolve. Push-button purchasing has become the norm, and will remain a big player. Companies who want to stay alive will embrace technology just a little faster than their target market, so they are always ready and available where their customer is shopping. Video, VR, and a large social media presence will all be key, along with whatever comes next. And when you’re in front of your target market, it’s key to lead with value. This means you give something away – information, technology, product; something that demonstrates your value to your customer before you ever ask them to consider a purchase with you. You want to be a key part of their buying journey, which helps it lead back to your business.”
Perry Petrozelli, Co-founder and CEO of Aventr
“At Aventr we believe the future of sales is in the hands of companies who have a mission that clearly progresses to humanity. It’s no longer enough to solely create excellent products and services. Think of it as fair-trade for the global marketplace. The technical revolution created a vacuum of human connection.”