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The world, more specifically the human world, is changing and moving at lightning speed, adapting and evolving, and getting more complex by the day, to the point where it is becoming too overwhelming for many. Just when we need to be able to really think about and manage complexity, there is a flight to the simplistic to just cope with the day to day. Simple solutions, easy fixes are called for on a daily basis. Many people want a short list of bullet points to give them the answer to make a complex decision. However, simplistic answers to complex problems do not work.

Or they go the other way looking to de-risk every nook and cranny by involving 25 people (slight exaggeration) in the decision making process or resorting to an overwhelming procurement process that is so risk adverse no one would meet the criteria which causes unending delays and extensions in the sales cycle that really affect pipeline management and forecasting which affects business confidence.

This might sound terribly pessimistic, I don’t mean to be; however, this is how it can feel when everything around us is being challenged, turned upside down or discarded.

Couple this with an interesting international political scene and various country leaders offering a variety of leadership styles, some very dubious and others very progressive. We have an interesting mix, the likes of which we have not seen before.

The good news is that with all these changes we are creating many new opportunities, sometimes too many to comprehend.

We are in a state of flux.

Where to start? What to focus on? How do we keep our heads while everyone else is losing theirs?

We are at a tipping point where old world business models are clashing with new digital models and a new consumer, human-centred ethos. Metaphorically and actually, we are seeing a clash between the ‘fossil fuel mindset’ of business and the ‘renewable clean energy mindset’ to business.

It’s creating a clash of ideas, ideologies, of cultures. We are at a major point of change in human society.

The 2018 Sales Trends Report – State of Flux, seeks to highlight the changes in sales – buyers and sellers, sales cultures, sales leadership, sales strategies, and bring to the fore the core elements that we need to drive better and more sustainable performance and highly functional sales team.

All of these elements and others are now coming together now, converging and bursting right in front of us. Let’s not be the ones who let them take us by surprise leaving us scrambling trying to get a sure footing.

Let’s embrace this complexity.

Let’s bring together what we know to be true and take it up a notch or two.

Welcome to the state of flux, the theme for our 2018 Sales Trends Report.

Get access to the full version of 12 Sales Trends for 2018 57 page report here.

Here is a brief insight into the 12 Sales Trends for 2018

  1. The Selling Better Manifesto

We need a better sales philosophy that supports a fairer, more sustainable and prosperous world. Far from the aggressive dog-eat-dog sales cultures of the 20th century, the 21st century offers other options, other ways of engaging and working collaboratively with customers, suppliers, and each other. The Selling Better Manifesto is about long term and sustainability, recognising everybody lives by selling something and a focus on working towards a fair exchange of value for mutual prosperity. Take a look and see how it aligns with your world view and values on doing good business.

  1. The case for long-term focus

It’s time to rethink strategy. It’s no news that most businesses are focused on the short-term, living from quarter to quarter, and that although there’s an ongoing argument about whether there’s enough evidence or not to say that long-term businesses perform better, most of the arguments against it (pro short-term) focus only on profits. However, this sales trend reports that there are increasingly louder calls for businesses to be more long-term focused in their planning and strategies because the results are proving the long term approach it far more sustainable and profitable.

  1. Human Centred Selling: designing empathetic customer centric cultures

The prevailing dominant sales methods we have endured for the past 60 years have been based on self-interest, isolation and calculation. The 21st century is calling for something more human – human-centred selling. Replacing the 20th century archaic drivers with empathy, collaboration, and cooperation means we can meaningfully and consistently connect and engage with each other, we can ignite real opportunities and viable business.

  1. Buyer behaviours, AI and the future of sales roles

According to Gartner Research, 2015, by 2020, 85% of interactions between businesses will be executed without human interactions. This sales trend is focused on how buyers’ behaviours are changing with the rise of digital engagement and buying, and the impact this is having on sales roles across both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) channels. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and not all roles are doomed, but these dramatic changes do require many of us to step up and bring to the fore our very best human skills in communication, empathy, kindness, ideas generation, problem solving, creativity, and delivering real value.

  1. Procurement in the future: Humans need not apply

Procurement of the future will not be about purchasing. It will be about the three-pronged management areas of supply, risk, and brand. Our world is not stable. We are living in an era of increased technology disruption, added to the traditional disruptions of geopolitics and natural events. As a result of this instability, the traditional approaches of procurement are not sustainable. You should not negotiate annually with your established networks of suppliers or sources. Instead, the procurement roles of today and tomorrow should be about supply management.

  1. Moving CX and HX: really it’s all about people now

The terms Customer Experience and Customer Centric have been around for some time. These terms are now referred to in shorthand as CX. Now a new term is emerging - HX, the Human Experience. What does all this mean? Aren’t they the same thing? This sales trend explores the terms CX and HX and helps put into perspective the old and the new when it comes to creating a competitive winning edge in sales and business.

  1. Sales Leadership: the power of preparedness, curiosity and courage in times of flux

The state of flux we are experiencing is bringing about a shift in the top key qualities required to be an effective business executive and leader. It’s not necessarily a completely different set of qualities, but a change in their order of relevance for navigating a changing, ‘fluxy’ kind of world. This sales trend explores what are the essential characteristics and qualities of effective business and sales leaders and what business executives can do to deal with these paradoxes and be ready for the challenges ahead.

  1. How sales and marketing can excel in a world in flux

Who’s in flux? The Buyer. They have dramatically changed how they identify, evaluate and purchase solutions over the past 10 years, and they continue to evolve. Every member of the buyer team for B2B and considered B2C purchases has instant mobile access to the information they need throughout each stage of their purchasing process. Even when they are fully engaged with us, they are constantly interacting with our competitor’s information. As a result, marketing and sales are in flux.

  1. Personal Branding is a must have asset

As technology and the internet have evolved, our access to information has also vastly grown. Never before has it been so easy to find out so much about a product or a person. With a simple Google search, one can find pages of information regarding someone’s career, achievements, education, and even what they have shared online. This ease of access to data has made the buying process significantly easier and less risky for everyone involved. In B2B environments, consumers are looking as closely at the salesperson as they are at what they are buying.

  1. Storytelling: taking our sales teams beyond features and benefits

We all grew up hearing and sharing stories through childhood and adulthood – they help us learn, develop, and above all, they entertain and inspire us. Brands today are increasingly incorporating storytelling into their sales and marketing strategies in order to resonate with their customers. This sales trend is focused on the increasing importance of the art and science of storytelling in sales and marketing, taking our sales teams beyond presenting features and benefits.

  1. Sales cycle: taking longer (much longer)

In a B2B business environment, the sales cycle is usually defined as the days/weeks/months that pass from the first time a salesperson makes contact with a lead to the moment the client signs the contract. However, most definitions of ‘sales cycle’ have flaws because it’s nearly impossible to have one definition applicable to every business. Sales cycles vary enormously from industry to industry and organisation to organisation. This sales trend is seeing sales cycles becoming unprecedentedly long and more unpredictable. When some years ago businesses could know for sure that their sales cycle was 10 weeks or 6 months, now it has become unknown territory – in the current state of flux, there is no predictability that businesses can rely upon.

  1. Sales Coaching: at the core of sales success

In recent years, sales leadership coaching has continuously grown in acceptance by the managers involved in this task, as well as in its meaningful incorporation into the overall sales architecture of sales organisations. It has shifted from being an additional Learning & Development opportunity to becoming a central and critical part of the overall evolution modern sales operations are going through.

 

Get access to the full version of 12 Sales Trends for 2018 57 page report.

 

Barrett Sales Trend Report 2017We are pleased to release our 8th annual 12 sales trends report. 2017 Sales Trends focuses on – Going from ordinary to extraordinary

In times of major change, uncertainty and upheaval we have two choices: 1) bunker down, keeping our heads low, waiting for things to pass and settle down back to normal, or 2) embrace the change and ride the waves towards the future creating a new normal.

Opting for option 1 is dangerous and potentially foolish as we are likely to be left behind achieving only obsolescence.

Opting for option 2 is also potentially dangerous but more likely to achieve better outcomes as we proactively look at how we can make the necessary shifts and changes to stay out in front and remain relevant.

The theme for the 2017 Sales Trends is 'Going from ordinary to extraordinary'. Its focus is to highlight the current trends that are driving better sales outcomes and what it takes to lead a sales team and run an effective sales operation now and into the future.

Themes like authenticity, active learning, the courage to step outside our comfort zones, the power of incremental change and iteration, embracing complexity as a way of life, the importance of being quiet and paying attention, along with openness and transparency. All of these qualities are in of themselves nothing revelatory or revolutionary but combined together and practiced routinely can make for extraordinary change.

If we want to shift from ordinary to extraordinary it requires focused attention and daily practice working in concert with the sales team, executive C-suite, other departments, our supplier and our clients. There is no simple answer, no silver bullet to save the day.

If we want extraordinary results, we need to create the conditions in which to lead extraordinary sales teams and manage extraordinary sales operations.

Here you will get access to the full version of 12 Sales Trends for 2017 50 page report. For a quick overview see below.

Sales Trend 1 – New Metrics

What do we measure now?

With the current state of flux of markets and most industries it is critical to define sales metrics that are relevant for the situation, strategy and goals of our organisation, and the behaviours we want to encourage in our sales teams.

Sales Trend 2 – The Silent Majority

Enough already.

The vast majority of sales people only want the best for their clients and their own companies, and they are tired of being judged by the acts of a minority and what the media portrays as the stereotypical salesperson. This is what the silent majority wants you to know.

Sales Trend 3 – Mapping the buying-selling-delivery process

If you want your sales team and your business to move from ordinary to extraordinary when it comes to client engagement and better sales results, it pays to map and manage your entire buying-selling-delivery process. This sales trend looks at how you can ensure everyone in your organisation understands where they fit in and how they all support the buying-selling-delivery client experience.

Sales Trend 4 – Learn to embrace and manage complexity

Regrettably most organisations ONLY view their sales operations as tactical linear functions of the value chain. If sales is only viewed through the overly simplistic lens of foot soldiers selling product then these organisation are doomed to fail. Sales operations are complex variable systems with many moving parts—they do not follow a straight line; smart companies get this and are leading the way. They recognise that oversimplification is their enemy when it comes to developing and deploying effective sales strategies so they are doing things differently.

Sales Trend 5 – Salespeople are risking becoming obsolete

The proliferation of internet-based sales channels, that offer everything from simple items such as a toothbrush to some fairly complicated services including insurance and banking and even major items in the B2B sector means that the traditional role of product focused salespeople has changed. This sales trend is about what effective companies and salespeople are doing so as not to become obsolete.

Sales Trend 6 – Where are all the high performance sales coaches?

Sales coaching can transform a sales team from ordinary to extraordinary; however, sales coaching is still lagging behind business coaching as a standard business discipline. This sales trend shows us what smart companies are doing to deliver high performance sales coaches and extraordinary sales teams and results.

Sales Trend 7 – Sell and deliver value or commoditise

Business leaders have, in essence, two choices in terms of the way to run viable business operations. Run a high volume, low margin very streamlined model, or sell real value at a reasonable margin. This trend looks at how sales leaders lead and manage their sales teams and operations whatever path they choose to take.

Sales Trend 8 – Extraordinary Sales Organisations Achieve More

With the help of technological disruption, the buyer in the past 10 years has dramatically changed how they identify opportunities, evaluate alternatives, and purchase solutions. Buyers are no longer calling the vendor to learn what's new or to request information like they did before. They have become self-educating, consuming online information whenever they wish. Doing more simply hasn’t help. What are businesses and sales teams to do in this changing climate?

Sales Trend 9 – Learning Agility

Salespeople traditionally find themselves in conflicting spaces. Now, there’s a new one, a very different polarity is demanding attention from salespeople as well as sales managers and Learning & Development specialist supporting them. It’s the tension between the growing complexity of our sales environment and the demand from clients to simplify things for them. How can sales teams keep learning and adapting to keep pace with markets and clients? This trend will show you what some business are doing to stay relevant in this space.

Sales Trend 10 – Personal Branding – the foundation of social selling

A strong personal brand, aligned with the company’s brand might make all the difference when it comes to making social selling deliver real results for salespeople and sales teams.

Sales Trend 11 – Sales to Add Value to Procurement, Not Just Follow the Process

There are 15,000 people working full time in procurement in Australia, and the proportion of sales revenue that is won through competitive tender processes is rising every year. This trend is about the key factors affecting procurement practitioners, and how in turn this affect sales professionals and sales teams.

Sales Trend 12 – Sustainability in the supply chain

This trend highlights the increasing importance for companies in mapping the journey and impact on the environment of their products and services from the supply chain to the end user and the resulting impact on the company’s brand, reputation, market share, and real and long term sales results.

Click here to access the full version of the 12 Sales Trends for 2017 50 page report.

If you want to discuss any of these trends in more detail please feel free to contact us at Barrett at (+61) 3 9533 0000.

Has successful selling really changed over the last 80 years? Do they really represent a revolution in selling? And do these new models with intriguing titles characteristics, behaviours and roles simply re-define old ways of playing the same game? In this paper the history of sales methodologies of the last 150 years are analysed to answer these questions.

Every once in a while a new book on sales and selling appears in the stores that lays claim to contain the secret to sales challenges. Many of these books promote themselves as being the very latest, revolutionary approach to selling that, according to the authors, will change the organisation’s performance and miraculously improve sales, profits and success. Just as important, these “new” sales methods will bring untold riches, success, glory and honour to those salespeople who embrace them. Depending on the extent of publicity the authors are able to garner for their books and the traffic they can generate for their web sites, these “miraculous solutions” become popular and the de rigueur of the day.

But are they really new? Has successful selling really changed over the last 80 years? Do they really represent a revolution in selling? And do these new models with intriguing titles characteristics, behaviours and roles simply re-define old ways of playing the same game?

In this whitepaper the history of sales methodologies of the last 150 years are analysed to answer these questions.

 

You can get the whitepaper for free at our shop.

sales-trends-for-2016-less-is-more-350x496What happens when we have so much information that it is impossible to even decide what to read? When we have so many things to do that we are rarely at one place at one time for more than a few minutes? We constantly check our phones, computers or tablets. We are online and connected 24/7. We have an overload of information, stuff, processes, stress… There’s a reason why ‘de-cluttering’ businesses are growing in number around the world. People are seeking help to go back to basics, to a clearer and simpler life, with less stuff.

Organisations are run by people and our businesses have become overloaded and cluttered as well. When a company grows, the levels of management multiply and more co-ordination is needed; that in itself increases complexity, but it also increases clutter. Sales operations are complex systems, but like with whole businesses, people can add unnecessary clutter and complexity. There’s a need to go back to the essentials and for that we need clarity.

Sales operations loaded with dated processes, hard-to-work systems, and countless priorities cannot function efficiently. We need to de-clutter. We can’t oversimplify what is a complex system; we can’t transform every process into a linear one. But we can remove what is there just making noise, occupying space in our minds only causing stress and clouding our vision.

Less is more. The 12 Barrett Sales Trends for 2016 all have in common this thread about bringing things back to basics, bringing clarity and transparency to businesses and sales. Please download your complimentary copy of the full 2016 Sales Trends Report.

Sales Trend 1 – Beyond profit erosion

Over the last few years, a vast majority of companies derived their profits mainly through cost- cutting, but now this is not possible any more. Costs have bottomed out. Companies will have to change how they sell to find profit and growth through selling value.

Sales Trend 2 – Beware competitor zero

There is a new competitor in our midst: indecision.
This sales trend looks at how and why the decision making process has changed in organisations and what we can do about it.

Sales Trend 3 – Selling is everybody’s business

This trend is about how smart companies recognise the importance of selling across the value chain and making sales and customer satisfaction a whole business activity with purpose.

Sales Trend 4 – Sales & Marketing unite

With shrinking markets, micro segments, more informed buyers and the digital revolution to name a few key influences, smart companies know that if they are to steal the march on their competitors, win market share and engage the right kind of buyers, the sibling rivalry between sales and marketing must end.

Sales Trend 5 – How we sell around here

Smart companies are adopting best practices as a minimum standard of sales excellence to embed ‘How We Sell Around Here’. They are reaping the rewards of their continuous learning programmes and sound sales strategies. This trend highlights how these companies are doing it.

Sales Trend 6 – The sales curator™

No longer are salespeople seen as the purveyors of information they once were in the 20th century, 21st century salespeople now need to be experts at sifting and sorting information for their clients and prospects. A new sales capability is required in this information overloaded world. This sales trend sees 21st century salespeople needing to develop their skills as curators.

Sales Trend 7 – Buyers in transition

This Sales Trend sees Buyers in Transition and highlights that more mature procurement professionals, who have been through the sourcing cycle several times, are now starting to seek new ways in which they can be relevant and valuable to their organisations. They are seeking innovation, ideas, and collaborations because they have seen that taking prices lower would be detrimental to their business. It’s early days but things are starting to shift, albeit slowly.

Sales Trend 8 – Streamlining CRM

Smart companies are adapting and embracing the new ways of doing things to make it easier and more efficient for their sales teams to sell better i.e. from utilising the comprehensive analytics available from the web and social media to the ability to customise a CRM system and deploy applications on various devices. Streamlining CRMs capabilities is key to getting sales teams to use them most effectively.

Sales Trend 9 – Marketing technology for better sales results

Less is more when it comes to technology, with the lesson being that what big business does is usually not what SMEs should be doing and vice versa.
This Sales Trend focuses specifically on the impact technology is having on businesses large and small for good and bad and what technologies we should be paying attention to and what we should be ignoring.

Sales Trend 10 – The evolution of sales incentive plans

Sales incentive programs (SIPs) constitute a major cost in many companies, but the research indicates that a well-designed SIP can be a worthwhile investment. Certainly, SIPs are becoming the norm in many sales settings. This sales trend tells of the shift towards more customised variable Sales Incentive Programs (SIPs) taking into account team selling, complex solutions, longer sales cycles, and so on.

Sales Trend 11 - The Renaissance Sales Manager

More and more sales leaders and their respective sales managers are realising that too much data across too many spectrums is counter-productive to effective sales leadership, sales performance and building sustainable sales results. They know that you can’t lead a sales team from behind a desk in front of a screen crunching numbers. This trend sees smart companies employing and/or developing the Renaissance Sales Manager to be the standard of ‘how we lead sales teams around here’.

Sales Trend 12 – The rise of seniorpreneurs

Senior entrepreneurs are Australia’s fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs. Seniorpreneurship is a global trend with the over 55’s showing a strong representation in the USA and UK. They are a force to consider in the business landscape with much to offer to the economies.
If you would like a full copy of this report please download your complimentary copy of the full 2016 Sales Trends Report.

 

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Every year Barrett releases our Annual 12 Sales Trends Report and the theme for 2014 is ‘The Thinking Sales Organisation’. Why this title? Well given the unprecedented changes we are experiencing as a result of the digital revolution and the commoditisation of quality we can no longer manage sales by processes and numbers alone – it’s become a thinking person’s game.

Sales operations are complex systems that involve many variable outcomes making it almost impossible to predict, with any degree of certainty, what will happen. Put something into a complex system and you are not sure what will come out at the other end. Nothing in sales has ever been predictable. Now, with rampant change, that unpredictability has increased in pace and impact. That is why this Sales Trends report focuses on a number of important variables that will impact the success or otherwise of sales operations in 2014.

To have a highly effective sales operation we have to move away from a ‘Point Solution’ mentality too. Sales leaders, the executive and their respective teams all have take into account the many parts that drive the success of their sales operations. They need to evolve to a Thinking Sales Organisation where people are taught how to think not just what to think.

See which sales trends will have the greatest impact on your sales operations in 2014.

Every year Barrett releases our Annual 12 Sales Trends Report and the theme for 2014 is ‘The Thinking Sales Organisation’. Why this title? Well given the unprecedented changes we are experiencing as a result of the digital revolution and the commoditisation of quality we can no longer manage sales by processes and numbers alone – it’s become a thinking person’s game.

Sales operations are complex systems that involve many variable outcomes making it almost impossible to predict, with any degree of certainty, what will happen. Put something into a complex system and you are not sure what will come out at the other end. Nothing in sales has ever been predictable. Now, with rampant change, that unpredictability has increased in pace and impact. That is why this Sales Trends report focuses on a number of important variables that will impact the success or otherwise of sales operations in 2014.

To have a highly effective sales operation we have to move away from a ‘Point Solution’ mentality too. Sales leaders, the executive and their respective teams all have take into account the many parts that drive the success of their sales operations. They need to evolve to a Thinking Sales Organisation where people are taught how to think not just what to think.

See which sales trends will have the greatest impact on your sales operations in 2014.

You can buy the report at www.salesessentials.com.au/shop.

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