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We can’t predict the future, but we can map the trajectory it is taking – there are five sales trends that you need to know about going into 2020, and we’ve got it here first. Nate Blackburn, VP of Sales at Acquirent, sat down with us to discuss the biggest trends emerging in sales, and how they’re going to influence the sales world at large.

Trends in Diversity

One of the biggest trends we are already seeing implemented in the business world is hiring a more diverse staff. A California law requiring female directors has already had a major impact on the business world. Although only signed in September, there has been a 20% increase in representation on boards throughout the United States. Companies outside of California have already begun the process of implementing this to their own businesses.

Hiring a diverse staff is more than just trying to meet a new law. Having many voices within your company will allow you to break into new markets and generate heterogeneous conversation. It makes you more flexible, and allows your staff to grow in adaptive, intelligent ways.

Morphing of Sales Tech

Will Big Tech put us all out of jobs? Maybe, but not today. Utilizing tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning takes out a ton of the busy work. Focus on chasing good leads, not calling everyone in a business just to be told “no.”

The last decade proves how powerful CRMs like Salesforce are, and how much influence they will have. Throwing in the power of AI/ML will cut even more time than we could possibly imagine. Think of a world where you close a sale on every call. We’re not there yet, but we’re reaching for it. Harvard Business Review states that teams adopting AI have seen a 50% increase in leads and appointments. Cost reductions are around 60%, and call times are being reduced by up to 70%. These numbers are staggering.

By this year, Gartner estimates that 30% of all B2B companies will employ AI. Imagine what that will look like by the end of the decade.

Messaging

B2B business is beginning to look a lot more like B2C. With so many products and ads targeted at a microscopic level, having an omni-channel brand is increasingly desirable. Expect one of the biggest sales trends of 2020 to be services like this taking over the market. Omni-channel services are an integrated customer experience where multiple channels (mobile, desktop, or IoT-compatible objects) seamlessly merge together that customers can use at their leisure.

This isn’t limited to online shopping services. Manufacturing industries have begun taking advantage of this service through smart devices on the factory floor. By utilizing interconnected services, an incredible amount of time can be saved throughout the day.

Integrating customer experiences across a slew of platforms will allow a fully immersive customer experience.

The Link Between Business Development and Marketing

In his new book Togetherness, Jeff Davis states the need for integrating sales and marketing teams. So often, we see both departments siloed from each other. When things go wrong, the finger pointing begins. When sales and marketing goals align with one another, frustrations diminish and profits surge.

Marketing needs to develop leads that are going to close. When their objectives are focused solely on generating leads, as opposed to generating good leads, dysfunction occurs. Ensure that this is the year you get your marketing and sales team on track. While concepts like demand generation will continue to gain relevance in the coming years, these tools are useless without a clear goal in mind.

Sales Leaders Need Even Skills

Sales managers and sales leaders that are focused solely on the metrics aren’t going to cut it in 2020. Leaders that rely exclusively on soft skills aren’t going to make it either. A good manager is well-rounded and has a variety of skills in their toolbelt, rather than a one-trick pony.

If you find yourself relying too much on one skill set, challenge yourself. Examine which aspects of your work process are not working.

Conclusions

If we are to draw any conclusions from the sales trends we expect in 2020, it is togetherness. Technology increases the social linkages between people, altering our society. Businesses will follow suit. Whether it be the merging of B2B/B2C businesses, omni-channel platforms, or even a more diverse workplace, we are all coming together. Businesses that fail to integrate with this model will find themselves in isolation.

Part of this means being more authentic and transparent in your dealings. As information clusters, it becomes increasingly difficult to hide things from the past. The 21st century is a time less about what is concealed than what is revealed. The new decade will take this to the next level.