It seems like just yesterday we were exploring the potential of social media and wondering how CRM systems would change the way we think about sales and marketing. It hasn’t been very long since these channels emerged, and it’s clear that they still play an important role in the current climate. However, to those of us with a finger on the pulse of technological advancements, things move pretty quickly, and nobody wants to be stuck in the past when there are exciting innovations to put to use. Now that we’re more than halfway through 2017, it seems like the perfect time to take stock of the biggest trends influencing sales and marketing and think about the role they’ll have as we race to see what tomorrow will bring.
1. Two Heads are Better than One: Sales and Marketing Join Forces
As focus on account-based technologies becomes a priority, the line between sales and marketing is getting increasingly murky. Managers are taking a more comprehensive look at their teams, and at the ways in which they can leverage their sales strategies with the data more commonly used for marketing.
Building on the technology introduced by CRM systems, Sales Intelligence (SI) provides sales and marketing teams with real-time ways to integrate their knowledge, which means that leads can be targeted in ways that benefit them. As this trend continues, popular SI tools must take advantage of information lead generation tools can provide to inform marketing content and campaigns.
2. Data as a Right, Not a Privilege
For a long time, large companies have had the benefit of databases that catalogue the kinds of information that make sales and marketing professionals weak in the knees. But what good is data that doesn’t see the light of day? A more recent emphasis on technologies that give sales and marketing teams the opportunity to sift through this data while it’s fresh and accessible means teams can make more informed decisions, and better allocate their resources.
This also means that smaller companies can use data to develop more concrete sales and marketing plans at a rate that is competitive with their competitors.
3. Back to Basics
Yes, word on the street is that artificial intelligence is one of the most significant technologies that is going to disrupt sales and marketing in the long term-- but what does this mean right now? As we move forward, and get excited about the ways AI is going to make our jobs easier, we need to look at the big picture to consider what make us want to participate in the industry in the first place.
A strong understanding of human nature and solid interpersonal skills still go a long way, and we can’t underestimate the value of face-to-face or over the phone interactions. Even when AI stakes a claim on many of the duties we currently perform, it’s important to remember that the data that goes into optimizing it comes from the human element that has made sales and marketing what it is today.
What all of this comes down to is the notion that contextual information is crucial in sales and marketing, and finding efficient ways to use it will always have a role in the field. If anything, technology has brought to light some of the most valuable uses for good data, and will only continue to do the more we use it.