What follows is a recap of the presentation Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder & CEO, Selling Power Magazine delivered at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals Summit Meeting. As always Gerhard was engaging and informative!
Taking the trends down to 5 is a daunting task but to quote Gerhard "The world is like a river changing every minute." He is correct and this is especially true in the sales world. Note: trend topics supplied by Gerhard and commentary by me.
Trend 1- Conversations drive commerce
Whether it be online or in real time, you have to have a conversation to move the ball forward in commerce. Sometimes the conversation is one way (as is online) and sometimes it requires the human touch but either way - true commerce is a conversation between a buyer and a seller. Like Gerhard says "We live in a conversation economy where conversations take place in different mediums." You need to find the medium that works for your buyer and then communicate with them there.
Trend 2 - Collaboration is our destiny
I love this line and Gerhard nailed it. Collaboration is key to success. As salespeople we need to do a better job of collaboration both internally as well as externally with our customers and partners. There is so much information to be shared and collaborating on key initiatives brings new perspectives and makes everyone involved more successful.
Trend 3 - Alignment is our future
Sales and marketing alignment are the new keys to the kingdom. Having both organizations focused on the same goals and executing a single strategy makes the revenue bell say cha-ching. The days of the silo are dead - long live alignment!
Trend 4 - Speed is our friend
The needs and behaviors of buyers are changing at lightning speed. We cannot be stuck in the mud - we have to be nimble and embrace change and convert our messages, tactics and processes to reflect that change. Speed needs a hug and best practice organizations have figured that out and are embracing the ability to move quickly and decisively.
Trend 5 - Customers are our heartbeat
If you don't have a heartbeat you don't have life and if you don't have customers you don't have a business. But do you really treat your customers like the vital organ they really are? Are all your decisions made with the view of the customer in mind? These are really great questions.
Other interesting points from Gerhard:
People: There is a war for talent underway and if you want to find and retain top people you should know that having a great culture and a mission will help you win. BTW, did you know that by the age of 40 most people have had 11 jobs since college?
Disruption: Selling Power predicts that by 2020 the number of salespeople will drop from 18M to 3M mostly due to online interactions and other sales support functions taking their place. Tremendous displacement means tremendous opportunity! What is your plan to address that issue?
Process: Only 5% of sales organizations have a formal sales process that more than 80% of the sales people are following - YIKES - nuff said on that topic!
In summary - Gerhard is a great storyteller and with his business he is mingling with the brightest and the best. He is engaging with forward thinking organizations and we thank him for taking the time to share with the AAISP community!