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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales planning'>sales planning</a>
Sales Strategy
Jul 10, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Sales has changed significantly in the past five years. The ways we communicate and prospect across multiple industries is very different to 2013. Influences like CASL, chatbots and new e-currencies have meant that selling to sectors like retail, manufacturing and the public sector is a much-changed career which requires new approaches and different techniques.


So what will selling to your market look like in another five years? In this post we consider some coming sales and customer service technology trends set to disturb how your target sectors will receive and respond to your outreach and communication efforts.


Continued Rise of Bots


As AI and machine learning continues to grow in it’s capacity to learn and respond to inbound leads, reps in five years time will largely only have to manage ‘edge cases’ where bots can't answer questions with the assistance of a knowledge base or a past history of customer FAQs.


Once you make support content public in a knowledge base, a bot can learn and deliver that information again and again when customers ask for it.The future for human salespeople is, therefore, will be more geared to customer care and the all-important upsell!


As bots and AI become the mainstream component, frontline customer-facing teams and sales leaders will reallocate former frontline sales reps into customer success roles. This is because of less of a need for humans to answer early-stage prospecting questions. It will also mean a greater focus in sales of 2023 and beyond for helping clients derive and develop value from the products and services they've already purchased.


Augmented Reality - the New Norm


Technologies connected to Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will continue to revolutionize sales and marketing. AR and VR are already commonplace within healthcare, the military, gaming, cinema, entertainment, and flight simulations.


By 2023, retail, automotive, real estate and a host of other sectors will likely also be dominated by AR. For example, companies like IKEA and Lowe’s are already using virtual reality to give shoppers a clearer and more realistic idea of how a product will look in their home. Just think of the benfits to consumers of 360° panoramic views!


The Vital Role of First-Party Data


Already a huge focus for sales as a result of the July 2014 implementation of CASL, within the next 5 years, the most valuable asset for businesses across all of North America and the EU will likely be possession and control of first-party data which companies collect about customers. Indeed,  2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated in the digital world every day!


First-party data will be increasingly important to companies over the nect half decade because they own it and dictate how it’s gathered. Expect, therefore, even more emphasis placed on methods of data collection across your website, app, email program, and social media platforms.


Blockchain, eCommerce and Sales


Blockchain technology represents big changes to sales and just how transparent payments are in the near future.


Although the currency change from CAD to BTC won’t necessarily become mainstream to sales transactions, blockchain technology has the potential to alter commercial interactions over the next five to ten years. For example, smart contracts have the potential to provide customer success managers (CSMs) will the tools to spend less time questioning payments and hunting down money, and more time focusing on ensuring high-level customer care.


Real-Time Messaging Could Put Email in the Shade


By 2023, the your customers in your market will expect you to be available 24/7. Most will have a preference for interacting through chat rather than phone or email. Thanks to tools like Facebook Messenger prospects are getting used to talking with sales-focused teams in real-time.


Waiting 2-3 days for an email reply simply won’t cut it by 2023. For a glimpse into this future, check out HubSpot’s shared inbox tool that allows all incoming messages from customers, across channels, to be collated and designated in one place.

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