Authors Geoffrey James and Howard Stevens, are co-authors of the book "The End of Sales As We Know It" and recently published an article on Inc.com which discusses their views on the future of sales technology. They compiled their Top 5 opinions in the list below. You can read the full article or download an e-version of their book by clicking here.
The Future of Sales Technology
- Cold-calling will become more difficult - Cold calling is gradually losing its effectiveness at lead generation. With increases in government regulation, voicemail being a strong gatekeeper and many decision-makers utilizing caller ID to only answer recognized numbers, sales tactics will have to transform to incorporate more social media and network friendly communication. Nothing is as important as customer relationships, and these new technologies will become the key battle ground to foster these relationships in the next decade.
- Tablets will replace laptops (and maybe desktops) - A recent study indicated that 89% of iPad owners bring their iPad when traveling and more than 1 of 3 leave their laptop at home. Within 90 days of its introduction in 2010, the iPad managed to penetrate 50% of Fortune 100 companies and this number continues to grow today. Accessibility and ease of use are two key strengths to this adoption trend.
- Sales Management will become more data-driven - Increased data gathering through CRM is now making it possible to analyze demographic and performance data about sales personnel. This allows management to create a more data driven approach to sales management and allows executives to target sales training towards team members that need the most improvement. This enable a more analytical approach to sales training rather than trying to clone top performers qualitative characteristics.
- CRM will become invisible - CRM will soon become invisible meaning that it will soon become an assumed asset to all salespeople (much like email and Internet are simply assumed parts of the sales kit today). CRM systems are gradually reducing the clerical duties that many salespeople have grown accustomed to over the years and can manage a large accumulation of customer data. Plus as CRM continues to move to the cloud and becomes accessible on tablets, the portable and customizable aspects of CRM will become even more attractive to sales teams.
- Interactive video will become an important sales tool - In the past video-conferencing has been viewed as a novelty but over the next decade the authors believe the use of tools like Skype, GoToMeeting, iChat and other platforms accessible through desktop, tablet and smartphone devices, will increase. It is becoming a preferred way for young professionals to communicate and will continue to see increased adoption for many types of sales meetings (excluding big ticket sale items).