Every January brings articles of predictions for the upcoming year. Here is a Sales and Marketing Management article that lays out 6 predictions for 2019.
Here is the cliffs notes version of the 6 from the article:
1. Data matters more than ever
Today, the comprehensiveness of customer data separates winners from losers. The front-runners focus on data hygiene and ensuring they have accurate and holistic customer information across sales, marketing and service departments.
2. Automated sales prospecting
Sales prospecting tools, such as Pipedrive, Vainu.io and Intelisale, enable businesses to use filters and predictive insights to choose prospects wisely and focus on those most likely to convert. In addition to finding the right people to contact at the right time, reps have up-to-date information at their fingertips on the latest news and other information about their prospects and their businesses.
3. Account-based selling becomes entrenched
This strategic sales approach enables companies to focus their resources on closing deals with accounts that will make a significant impact on their bottom lines rather than chasing down inbound leads that happen to come their way. As technology provides even better ways to target such accounts and personalize the sales and marketing approach, ABS is becoming increasingly influential.
4. Social selling
According to Forrester, “B2B companies that embrace social selling are 72% more likely to exceed quotas than their peers who don’t.” The catch is that it can be time-consuming. To cut down on the time it takes, many tools are emerging. You can use them to pull social media data into CRM systems, share the ideal content at the right moment with the right person, customize engagement with social drip campaigns and track all of your social activities.
5. Automated personal emails
While artificial intelligence (AI) will not replace a professional salesperson, it will enable them to be more efficient. For instance, AI now customizes emails to prospects and addresses their problems. It can also tailor email subject lines based on what will entice prospects to open them. If necessary, salespeople can edit the AI drafts. While the technology is in its early phase, it will inevitably become more sophisticated and effective.
6. The human touch remains critical
In a world of artificial intelligence (AI), automation and technological devices, the need for human connection does not go away. Perhaps it’s needed more than ever before.
So we cannot let machines do all the work. Salespeople should employ technology to increase their productivity and to personalize their outreach, then use the time that’s freed up for more human interaction. By making a human connection, they’ll separate themselves from the pack.
Hard to disagree with any of those predictions. I would add that the price point for AI packages will come down to a level that allows many mid-market companies to leverage that technology. Once that happens, selling will change in dramatic ways.