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5 Factors Driving Change in Sales in 2020

We see 2020 as a year when the balance between culture and analytics will be critical for the success of selling organisations. Effective leaders will find this balance by creating a culture of learning and skill development while using analytics to give shape and structure to an increasingly complex pursuit process.

Effective leaders will discover that culture and analytics are not mutually exclusive. Why? Because the culture will inform how analytics will be used. Success will come from being able to convert analytics into executable plans. This skill is increasingly important because possessing information is not enough in an industry already loaded with data.

Just as culture influences data, the data will influence culture by revealing which skills are most critical for success. Leaders who understand this duality will come out ahead by turning sales strategy into sales execution.

Here, we look at five major developments in the sales industry. We believe that over the next year, sales leaders will need to embrace these changes.  For insights into how to take advantage of these changes download the brief CEO Insights: Anticipated Selling Trends for 2020.

  1. Strong Sales Enablement Strategies Will Rise From Strong Content: The fervor surrounding sales enablement will not slow, nor should it. Sales enablement is critical in an industry that requires sales professionals to know more and do more than ever before. Effective enablement teams help sales professionals reach these elevated expectations. The extent to which enablement teams create value is linked to their understanding of the buyer journey, which must be at the heart of any proactive enablement recommendation. However, even the most proactive sales enablement team cannot be effective without the right assets. Enablement teams will discover that the success of their efforts is proportional to the quality of the information, tools, and content they share with the sales teams. Therefore, enablement professionals will need content that inspires the right action by the seller at the right moment in the pursuit.
  2. Improved Analytics Will Create Competitive Advantages: Effective leaders will intensify their focus on the measurability of sales training. Analytics, however, are more than a way to verify outcomes at the end of training. Effective measurement guides the training process as it unfolds. Sales professionals discover where they need to focus their attention and where their blind spots reside. Measurement is for the learner as much as it is for the leadership. Additionally, analytics ensure that the time of the enablement teams and the sales leaders is being invested in the right areas. This kind of focus is too easy to lose because enablement teams and sales leaders are vastly outnumbered by the sales professionals.
  3. The Role of AI in Sales Will Come into Focus: AI continues to have a growing influence in business. What remains unclear for many is how AI will be meaningfully adopted by the sales organisation. Forward-thinking leaders will need to understand how they can harness the power of AI to drive revenue. Doing so means examining where AI can be applied throughout the sales professional’s various responsibilities.
  4. The Sales Culture Will Encompass a Wider Range of Factors: The factors representing the sales culture will increase as solutions become more complex. People, processes, tools, technology, and content will all shape the culture of the selling organisation. As a result, it will be the sales leader’s responsibility to unite these parts into a cohesive whole. Doing so will come with challenges. Geographic dispersion, differing selling methodologies, and even demographic variation will all weigh heavily on the goal to foster a single culture.
  5. Effective Leaders will Turn Sales Strategy into Sales Execution: Sales strategies are abundant; effective operations are not. Leaders will find ways to translate their strategies into executable plans. They will convert ideas and plans into processes and methodologies. This link has been conspicuously absent as organisations struggle to make the journey from theory to practical application. Bridging this divide will mean adopting a more intentional mindset. Leaders will need to keep implementation at the center of their thinking. For many, this will require using existing resources in new or more efficient ways, rather than redesigning entire processes.

Success in 2020 belongs to selling organisations that can balance culture and analytics. Doing so means embracing the idea that the two are interrelated; analytics offer insights, and culture converts those insights into action.

Access even more insights from Richardson Sales Performance CEO, John Elsey by downloading the brief – CEO Insights: Anticipated Selling Trends for 2020.

About the Author

John D. Elsey is President and CEO of Richardson, leading the company’s global go-to-market strategy and vision around being a mission-critical resource to executive leaders who strive to improve and sustain revenue performance via world-class selling teams. With more than 15 years of helping clients design and implement programs that drive measurable improvements to performance, John provides executive sponsorship to many of Richardson’s clients throughout their sales transformations. As a business executive himself, John combines his experience in skill development within the sales function with helping customers connect their human talent initiatives to what matters most — improvements in their companies’ operational metrics.

Download the Brief - CEO Insights: Anticipated Selling Trends for 2020