#1 Crowdfunding can help to validate your product ideas
Having an offer the appeals to your customer, and understanding exactly who those customers are is an undeniably important part of achieving sales targets.
The crowdfunding model has unleashed a great way to test ideas and garner interest in them before you start production.
eliminating risk for your business and giving you greater insights into the demographics, needs, and expectations of your market before you start to sell. Even established businesses can benefit from this approach.
#2 Mapping the customer journey
The customer journey is often a lot more complex than we think it is.
The success of the new wave of marketing automation technologies has placed a much greater emphasis on the need to fully understand the customer journey – or, rather, many different customer journeys – that precede a sale.
This is great news for sales because it helps to ensure a better understanding throughout the business about what your customers need to help them commit to a sale.
It also ensures that marketing is offering support and content at every stage of the buying process.
#3 Greater alignment of sales and marketing
An alignment between sales and marketing isn’t a given. And all too often the two departments are working towards very different – or contradictory – targets.
The new focus on developing support throughout the customer journey is one step towards realigning sales and marketing within the organisation.
Ensuring that KPIs, targets, and bonuses align between the two departments is another crucial factor.
#4 Honest and transparent content
Another fallout from the “customer journey” approach to marketing, is the need to develop genuinely helpful content.
With a less salesy approach, honest and transparent content helps to build trust in your brand and answer the questions your customer has along their journey; guiding them towards the sale.
#5 Rise of the subject matter expert
Subject matter experts have traditionally played a supporting role in the sales process.
Some businesses are turning this relationship on its head, with subject matter experts becoming the lead in the process and traditional sales playing a supporting role to them (guiding them through customer relationship management and closing).
This helps to develop the honest and transparent content into an honest and transparent relationship.
In turn, this avoids many of the pitfalls of an overly salesy approach which can lead to a “say yes now and worry about it later” mindset.
We all know the problems this can cause down the line: creating mistrust with not only the customer but within your own organisation (as operations and support struggle to fulfil sales promises).
#6 The increasing automation of sales order processing
Cloud is enabling even the smallest businesses to take advantage of more successful automation of sales order processing, online ordering and purchasing, and better integration of back office systems and processes.
The development of web-chat bots will further reduce costs for the largest businesses and give customer support staff time to focus on developing deeper customer relationships and higher value sales.
#7 Account management should proactively focus on customer success
Lowering customer churn has the greatest single impact on your profitability.
If you are investing money to acquire a customer, not keeping them is throwing that investment away as well as damaging your brand.
By automating back office processes, you can encourage account managers to proactively develop strategies to help each of the customers for whom they are responsible – helping them to maximize the value they get from your products and services.
#8 A move to monthly or annual subscription billing
One of the most dramatic changes we continue to observe is the trend of transforming products into services.
Offering your product on a monthly subscription rather than a single large upfront sale requires a very different sales approach but can result in far higher – and more consistent – revenues.
Learning and benchmarking is a vital component in the continued success of your sales teams.
Don’t explore only what is happening in your own industry. It is important to learn from the best in other industry sectors too (your “comparators” as well as your competitors).
This way, you can steal an edge and bring sector-leading approaches from across industry into your own organization.