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2014 Sales Industry Predictions to Sell Smarter in 2014


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Today’s high-velocity selling environment is constantly evolving. To make the most of the opportunity and drive revenue, sales reams must be nimble, and arm themselves with smart practices and strategies. To help sales professionals start 2014 strong and get ahead of the competition, we asked 20 sales thought-leaders and practitioners for their predictions and insights on how to sell smarter in the year ahead. We hope you find some key strategies that will transform your 2014 sales efforts!

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2014 Sales Industry Predictions to Sell Smarter in 2014

  2. 2. Introduction Today’s high-velocity selling environment is constantly evolving. To make the most of the opportunity and drive revenue, sales teams must be nimble, and arm themselves with smart practices and strategies. To help sales professionals start 2014 strong and get ahead of the competition, we have tapped the minds of some of the industry’s top thoughtleaders and practitioners to ask them one question: What is the number one opportunity for sales teams to get smarter or more intelligent in 2014? In this ebook you will find the top sales predictions and insights for 2014 from leading industry experts. We hope you find some key strategies that will help transform your 2014 sales efforts! 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 1
  3. 3. SELL SMARTER Tip #1 Focus on Maximum Impact Buyer’s expectations have changed dramatically in the past few years, yet most sellers are on cruise control. The key to 2014 success will be a ruthless focus on getting better. Teams should challenge each other to find more effective ways to get more prospects, to move them off the status quo, to differentiate from competitors and to win the business. Question everything, experiment and report back to each other about what’s working and what’s not. Engage your brain in finding fresh strategies that will deliver maximum impact in every client prospect interaction. Tweet this Jill Konrath @jillkonrath Sales Strategist, Author, Speaker, JILL KONRATH, Inc. 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 2
  4. 4. SELL SMARTER Tip #2 Really Learn How Your Buyer Buys Because the selling landscape has changed significantly, the biggest improvement a sales team could make is to be very clear on who your buyer is and what their buying process is, rather than pushing your selling process on them. From there, you can find ways to help educate, inform, and delight them at the various stages of their process. Think of yourselves as content creators, finding out where your buyer is online and being there to offer context that helps them make smart buying decisions. Tweet this Lori Richardson @ScoreMoreSales CEO, Score More Sales 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 3
  5. 5. SELL SMARTER Tip #3 Top Performers Hold the Key to Rising Revenues The sales activities and behaviors of your top sales performers hold the key to what the rest of your sales organization should be doing. Learning from your best sales reps is a great way to train your “average” employees to attain better revenue results. Sales leaders in 2014 will get better at observing, documenting and implementing winning sales practices, shifting the performance curve and greatly increasing revenue. Tweet this Nick Hedges @Nick_Hedges CEO & President, Velocify 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 4
  6. 6. SELL SMARTER Tip #4 Build Rapport and Connect with People Whether you’re an organization of one or 1,000, calling leads can become monotonous and robotic. For the consumer, this can lead to a feeling of mistrust and doubt. Your sales team’s number one objective is to build rapport with each lead it calls upon, which requires a genuine conversation, not necessarily a script. Sales professionals should understand the goal of each call and be allowed to flow freely with a genuine and meaningful conversation that truly connects with the consumers and their needs. If you’re robotic and too “salesy,” the person on the other end of the phone will likely respond negatively and closed off to your sales pitch. One of the easiest and least expensive strategies that will increase your conversions in 2014 is to teach your team to engage in genuine, warm, and friendly conversations with each lead it calls. Tweet this Michael Ferree @Ferree Director, LeadsCouncil 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 5
  7. 7. SELL SMARTER Tip #5 Use Buyer Maps to Create Relevant and Remarkable Experiences for Your Buyers The number one opportunity for sales organizations to get smarter is to start by understanding who their target buyers are and how they buy. From that in-depth understanding, they can then create the process, messaging, training and content that maps to how these individual buyers want to buy. For example, a system admin has an extremely different buying cycle than a VP of Application Infrastructure. This type of buyer-responsive approach has been extremely effective for forward thinking sales team in 2013 and I look for fast followers to embrace this philosophy in 2014. Tweet this Craig Rosenberg @funnelholic Co-founder and Chief Analyst, TOPO 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 6
  8. 8. SELL SMARTER Tip #6 Be Curious I am often asked “what is the number one attribute to look for when hiring a sales rep?” My answer is always the same “curiosity.” The most successful salespeople are those who are curious. They want to know everything about their buyers - What challenges do they face? How are they measured? What trends are impacting their business? Never before has it been easier to collect that information. My advice to sales reps in 2014 is “be curious and go get engaged with your buyers world.” Take what you learn and go help them build a better business! Tweet this Trish Bertuzzi @bridgegroupinc President & Chief Strategist, The Bridge Group, Inc. 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 7
  9. 9. SELL SMARTER Tip #7 Using Data to Guide Process In 2014, sales leaders will become smarter about combining rich buyer data with sales processes for optimal results. There are a lot of great tools out there to mine the web, social media and other sources for information about your prospective buyer; however, taking all that insight and making it useful to the sales process is often where there’s a breakdown. Tools and processes that bridge the gap by not only identifying buying signals and relative quality scores, but also leveraging process guidance to more effectively move a lead through the sales funnel can help sales teams move the needle. Tweet this Michael McGuire @Velocify Senior Vice President of Sales, Velocify 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 8
  10. 10. SELL SMARTER Tip #8 Master the Corporate Sales Presentation Most corporate PowerPoint sales presentations not only look the same, but they use the same terminology to describe their company’s unique advantages. To ensure that you captivate your prospect’s attention, here are the top five tips that will help you create a strong sales presentation to win more business: 1. Most presentations are boring to look at and aesthetically unappealing. Create a custom branded template to capture their attention. 2. Tailor your presentation to the specific sales situation with a clear value proposition. 3. Provide real-world customer examples. Buyers want to see how your product or service is providing value for other companies. 4. Don’t include overly complex slides that you can’t successfully talk to. Make it easy for prospects to follow. 5. Motivate action with a presentation that has a logical storyline that builds. Tweet this Steve W. Martin @stevewmartin1 Author, Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 9
  11. 11. SELL SMARTER Tip #9 To Win More, Simplify Your Selling The easiest way for sales teams to drive up their performance in 2014 is to focus on simplifying their selling. Streamline unwieldy sales processes that don’t directly help your prospects make decisions with these three tips: 1. Make Every Touch Count: Every interaction with a prospect has to provide maximum value that will move them one step closer to making their decision. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. 2. Be Absolutely Responsive: Every customer inquiry or request requires a complete response in the shortest time possible. 3. Clarify Your Offer: The customer must be able to quickly understand what they can buy from you that will satisfy their requirements. If the customer has to work too hard to understand what you are selling, you won’t. Tweet this Andy Paul @zerotimeselling Founder, Zero-Time Selling 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 10
  12. 12. SELL SMARTER Tip #10 Create and Study Buying Process Maps The single most important thing for B2B sales organizations to focus on in 2014 is to create Buying Process Maps. A Buying Process Map outlines how customers and prospects make complex purchasing decisions. Most B2B sales organizations either don’t have these built, or, have maps that have not been updated in a long time. The problem with this is buyers have changed how they buy significantly, and continue to do so. Sales organizations that are selling based on how buyers used to buy are going to miss their numbers. Here is a generic version of a Buying Process Map to use as a starting point. Tweet this Greg Alexander @GregAlexander CEO, Sales Benchmark Index 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 11
  13. 13. SELL SMARTER Tip #11 Learn the Power of Fact-Based Research Sadly, in today’s culture most sellers wrongly apply value proposition and product benefit language at the introductory sales cycle. This ineffective approach hinders sellers from achieving optimal conversion rates. Buyers no longer think in terms of product benefit language, they think in terms of topics, trends, metrics, and outcomes. The number one opportunity for sales teams to get smarter is to learn the power of leading with fact-based research, versus leading with valueproposition language. Tweet this Kraig Kleeman @Kraig_Kleeman Author, Speaker, Global Sales Strategist, 2013 Forbes Top Sales Expert, 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 12
  14. 14. SELL SMARTER Tip #12 Sell Smarter AND Harder in 2014 We have all heard the phrase “Sell Smarter, Not Harder.” This phrase is often used to show that putting forth lots of effort without doing it in a smart way often leads to lackluster results. While working smarter is a great goal to have, especially with the advent of lots of tools at our fingertips, I feel we may be overlooking the fact that effort, hard work, and discipline in the right areas is required for outstanding results. Here are three tips towards an INTELLIGENT approach to “working harder” in 2014. 1. Place a recurring meeting on your calendar for RESEARCH. Often times we pick up the phone having failed to do the proper pre-call research required for a more effective call outcome. 2. Build a top prospect list. Research to build your top prospect list in order to focus your efforts on the most likely contacts. 3. Create a recurring CALL DAY, and place a block of hours on your calendar. Treat this time as sacred and do not cancel it. Rather, have the discipline and work ethic to stay focused on prospecting every week. Keeping fresh opportunities in your funnel takes a well-thought-out and intelligent plan. But it also takes good old fashioned hard work, dedication, and calls. Tweet this Larry Reeves @AA_ISP COO, AA-ISP 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 13
  15. 15. SELL SMARTER Tip #13 Savvy Buyers Require Savvy Sellers Today’s buyers are savvy and self-qualified, with a larger percentage inquiring later in the buying cycle. They often enter the sales cycle knowing a lot about your company, which means you need to be ready to respond. Leveraging an intelligent sales automation solution can help your team identify ready buyers from tire kickers and prioritize and distribute those prospects to the right sales rep. By ensuring ready buyers are quickly matched with the right sales rep that can answer their hard questions, you can drive a positive first impression, earn early loyalty points and increase close rates. Tweet this Dan Salazar @Caineazar Director of Sales, Velocify 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 14
  16. 16. SELL SMARTER Tip #14 Sales Enablement It’s all about sales enablement in 2014; giving our teams a mixture of art and science to help them be more effective. Tools and resources to automate, streamline and help our team members prioritize are the science. The art is all about delivering unique insight to our customers and prospects. Any sales organization that can master both of these elements will have leg up on their competition. Tweet this Amyra Rand @AmyraKareo Vice President of Sales, Kareo 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 15
  17. 17. SELL SMARTER Tip #15 Preparing Your Mobile App Wish List Most CRM systems were designed for people who work at their desks all day. Mobility is often an afterthought, but new products in the cloud will make it possible to give field reps what they have always wanted – straightforward apps that run on popular devices such as iPhones that can help them do their jobs. These new apps will need to be streamlined, so teams should start to think about what information they would need (pricing, order status, web site visit, leads, etc.) that would help them close business when they are in front of a client. Tweet this Bruce Daley @BruceDaley VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 16
  18. 18. SELL SMARTER Tip #16 Old School Selling: Getting Back to the Basics to Drive Results Throughout the 90’s the Utah Jazz were a powerhouse in the NBA. Stockton and Malone basically ran the team with one play—the pick and roll. Amazing results are not driven by complexity. Sales teams can learn from this example by going back to the basics. My simple formula for driving sales success and predictability is: 1. Make sure your sales process is written and taught 2. Certify sales folks on your product and teach them how to effectively demo it, message it, etc. 3. Certify folks on your preferred selling methodology (i.e. Challenger). With this as the foundation, optimize with tools like CRM, Automation, Collateral, and manage metrics that drive results. Tweet this Marc Maloy @maloymarc SVP Worldwide Sales, Instructure 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 17
  19. 19. SELL SMARTER Tip #17 HOT Lists = HOT Results in 2014 If you ask any top producing sales rep (whether they are in field or inside sales) how they are able to keep their funnel full of fresh and highly probable opportunities, you are likely to hear similar answers. They will tell you it has much to do with who NOT to call on as it does who TO call on. Top producers realize that time is money, and the time they set aside for prospecting is very precious. They have developed a knack on how to prioritize their prospecting time and quickly filter out those prospects that have a low chance of advancing through the sales cycle. Today’s research tools such as LinkedIn, allow top producers to develop and focus on those prospects who fit their ideal profile. They develop their HOT list and hunt like crazy on a few select prospects versus wasting time on the hundreds of less qualified leads that come through. One way to get smarter in 2014 is to use today’s research tools to develop and build your HOT list. Tweet this Bob Perkins @MerrillCorp VP of Sales, Merrill Corp 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 18
  20. 20. SELL SMARTER Tip #18 Social Selling and Knowing Your Channel is Key to Sales Growth in 2014 Social selling via LinkedIn and other social media has changed the game in prospect and opportunity development for sales teams. In addition to conducting research and working within your own network to establish connections with key influencers at accounts you are targeting, be sure to also work with your channel partners and resellers. With buyers now doing most of their research before they engage with vendors, it is critical that you get in front of them before they start their research, so that you and your partners can learn more about their challenges and get ahead of their discovery process. Partners often have great connections and visibility into the challenges their customers face, and by working collaboratively with them and helping their customers, everyone wins. Tweet this Josh Moreau @X1Discovery Sr. Director, Channel Sales, X1 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 19
  21. 21. SELL SMARTER Tip #19 Double Results by Specializing Salespeople shouldn’t prospect! When a company relies on salespeople to do much prospecting, they can’t get off the revenue roller coaster and create predictable revenue. By breaking responsibilities into four separate roles, as did very early, every single person in the sales team becomes an expert in their practice, executives see exactly how each function works or doesn’t, and you create a limitless sales organization. Here are four key roles to drive more revenue: • Dedicated Prospectors • Market Response Reps • Closers/Account Executives • Account Managers With more defined roles in place like the ones above, sales organizations should be able to double its sales results in 2014. Tweet this Aaron Ross @motoceo Author of Predictable Revenue, 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 20
  22. 22. SELL SMARTER Tip #20 Improve Execution through Increased Productivity One of the most important advances for sales organizations in 2014 is going to be execution, and more specifically, improving productivity. This literally comes down to improving active selling time, which is achieved through efficient and effective time management strategies and taking advantage of technology. The following are just a few ways to increase productivity: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Divide selling time from administrative work and complete tasks in time blocks Automate tasks through software features and social channel platforms Establish a researching and prospecting protocol Invest in smarter tools Encourage more disciplined selling time through incentives and rewards Tweet this Matt Heinz @heinzmarketing President, Heinz Marketing, Inc. 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 21
  23. 23. Sell smarter and faster with Velocify in 2014! Give your sales team a competitive advantage this year with Velocify’s intelligent sales solutions. Velocify can help you increase the velocity of your sales environment and systematically improve sales performance through rapid lead response, increased selling discipline, improved sales team productivity, and actionable sales insights. With Velocify, your sales teams can respond to leads faster and smarter than ever. Lead Capture Lead Scoring Funnel Insights Integrated Sales Dialer Velocify Intelligent Sales Automation Sales Activity Prioritization Lead De-Dupe Lead Distribution Automated Guided Selling Get your sales team on the right track this year with all of the intelligent sales automation features 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 22
  24. 24. Do you have all the right sales strategies in place to get ahead of the competition in 2014? Learn how smart sales technology can enable your sales reps to get more intelligent and drive more revenue in today’s high-velocity selling environment. Get a Demo Today Call: 888-843-1777 LIKE THIS EBOOK? WHY NOT SHARE: Email: Web: Blog: 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 23
  25. 25. Velocify is a market-leading provider of cloud-based intelligent sales software, designed for high-velocity sales environments. Velocify helps sales teams keep pace with the speed of opportunity and increase revenue by driving rapid lead response, increased selling discipline, improved productivity, and actionable selling insights. The company has helped more than 1,500 companies across a variety of industries improve customer acquisition practices and sales performance. Velocify was recently recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in North America by Deloitte and a Best Place to Work by the Los Angeles Business Journal. For more information, please visit or follow the company on Twitter @Velocify. 20 Sales Industry Predictions for 2014 24