1) The focus will shift from Marketing Automation tools to Sales Automation tools
- The past 5 years was owned by investments in Marketing Automation tools like Marketo, Pardot, Eloquoa, etc. All these companies either got acquired or went IPO. Now it’s Sales’ turn. The amount of investments pouring into Sales Automation and enablement tools is growing at a rapid pace and will accelerate in 2015. The best evidence of this was what I witnessed at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce event this year which was absolutely dominated by vendors focused on Sales tools for Sales reps. Everyone is looking for the magic bullet that is going to make their Sales teams and reps more productive and effective. I think we’re going to see a lot more of these tools come out in 2015 and then in 2016 you’ll start to see the consolidation and acquisition phase kick in like it did with Marketing Automation.
2) Field Sales will be put on the Endangered Species list
- It was once thought that inside sales was really only good for qualifying opportunities to flip to the field or closing smaller deals. With the investment in sales tools accelerating and time becoming more of a premium Inside Sales owning the entire sales process and closing bigger deals will become the norm. Customers are becoming less and less tolerant of the long winded face to face meetings that are filled with fluff and weak attempts at relationship building. They are also becoming more accepting of remote meetings with video conferencing and screen share solutions. Field Sales is a dying breed because the efficiencies of inside sales on both ends is just too hard to ignore.
3) Marketing Automation will creep further into the Sales process and start to replace Sales reps
- Marketing Automation is combining with Business Intelligence to become more and more targeted with their message. They no longer play the numbers game by sending out mass e-mails any more. They are learning the buying habits and interests of people and sending messages that are more timely and specific to the individual. Combine this with customers having far more access to information than they ever have before and you have a dangerous scenario building for Sales reps. If Sales reps don’t become more thoughtful with their approach they will start to get replaced by automation.
4) It will be easier to stand out in Sales
- Unfortunately the bar for ‘average’ in Sales is pretty low and seems to be getting lower. Many sales reps continue to go through the motions and blast out template e-mails and make generic phone calls. These are the ones who I think are going to get replaced by Marketing Automation as they should. The good news for those of us who care to excel and actually put some thought into what we’re doing it will actually become easier to stand out.
Good luck and happy selling!