42 Trends and Predictions for 2017

As is wont to happen every new year, our RSS feeds and email newsletter in-boxes are filled with “top trends” from “experts” in numerous fields.  While some of these “trends” are thinly veiled plugs from consultants or trainers who want you to believe that you need exactly what they happen to be selling, that doesn’t mean we have to throw the trendy baby out with the predictive bath waters.

For my friends in the sales effectiveness space, here are some of the trends reported that might be worth a deeper inspection.  For convenience (mine and yours, I hope) I bundled Trends together with some Predictions and expected Top Risks.

  • Pipedrive (8 experts)
    • returning to the building blocks of sales:
      • Conversations with prospects
      • Building long-term relationships with customers
      • Managers coaching sales reps in person
    • Social Selling
    • Sales Enablement
  • TrainingIndustry.com (Mark Magnacca from Allego)
    • Peer Learning, Including Mentoring and Coaching
    • Selling With Storytelling
    • More Reliance on Mobile Devices at Work
  • DiscoverOrg.com (Katie Bullard)
    • Sales and Marketing Technology Integration Will Become a Top Priority
    • Sales Development Technology Adoption Will Explode as Traditional Email Marketing Evolves
  • Soar Performance (Charlie Thackston)
    • Centralized or De-centralized Sales Organization Structure
    • Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
    • Social Selling
  • BigTinCan (Patrick Welch)
    • A Virtual Assistant for Every Sales Person
    • A New Class of Content (So long, PDF flyer)
    • Live Video – Any Time, Any Place
  • Meneshma Group (Dan Fisher).  Prediction’s as opposed to Trends.
    • 2017 Will Be (should be) the Year of the Front Line Sales Manager
    • Sales Training & On-boarding Will be Recognized as a Differentiator & Revenue Generator
    • Front Line Sales Managers Will Evolve in How they Use Data to Coach Sales Reps
    • Social Learning Becomes the Learning Method of Choice
  • Brainshark (Jim Ninivaggi via Molly Buccini)
    • Sales Enablement Will Move Further from Marketing Ownership
    • Sales Leaders Will Put More Emphasis on Continuous Learning
    • Sales Leaders Will Focus on “Effective” over “Efficient”
  • CEB.  Top of Mind Risks for CAEs (Chief Audit Executives)
    • Third-party relationships
    • Strategic decision-making and execution
    • Change fatigue
  • Discover Org (Survey of what 200 High Growth firms are doing)
    • account-based marketing strategy in place
    • have a dedicated outbound prospecting team
    • more likely to hire sales reps that are “tech-savvy” than “experienced”
    • provide three or more hours per week of coaching and training to their sales team
    • lack of quality account and contact data as their top growth inhibitor
  • SAVO
    • Account-Based Marketing (ABM) will come of age in 2017 – Peter O’Neil, Forrester
    • Sales and Marketing will work closer together than ever before – Max Altschuler, SalesHacker
    • B2B Interfaces will become more intuitive and user-friendly – Jason Liu, SAVO CEO
  • CLO Media Learning Trends (Richardson’s Andrea Grodnitzky via Nidhi Madhavan)
    • Mobile learning
    • Expectations
    • Personalization
    • Analytics
  • Fortune Tech Trends (Chirag Kulkarni from Taco and Insightfully)
    • Companies that connect
    • Creating a personal brand
    • Remote employees
    • Big Data and analytics
    • Video content
    • Social media marketing

Since 42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (1) this is probably the perfect number of Trends to assess.

Since most of you know the buzz about Selling with Insights, let me be clear – sharing these trends does not count as an Insight (by me, or by you sharing them with your prospects).   An Insight would be taking some of these trends and combining them with your prospects reality and visions and providing them with a valuable nugget to chew on.

For example, one possible Insight would start by combining ‘sales enablement,’ ‘video content,’ ‘mobile learning,’ ‘remote employees,’ ‘more emphasis on continuous learning,’ ‘hiring tech savvy vs experienced sellers,’ and ‘selling with story telling.’   Assuming your prospect has a widely dispersed sales team filled with many millennials the question is not whether they need sales training.  A better question is which technology platform will you use to help reinforce your sales training and ensure it is adopted enough to achieve the customers desired business outcomes.

Feel free to reach out if you would like me to discuss this with you or your sales and marketing teams.

(1) RIP Douglas Adams, you were a genius