9 Powerful Trends Transforming Sales

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 5.00.56 PM“A good company tends to ride one trend, a great company rides two, an industry leader rides more and drives the coming trends.”

Ken Krogue, visionary founder, president and chief strategy officer at XANT, shared this ambitious statement with all in attendance at IS Accelerate ’15, the sales acceleration event of the year, where XANT revealed groundbreaking sales acceleration strategies and announced investments from tech titans Salesforce and Microsoft.

Sales and marketing leaders gathered in Salt Lake City on March 18-19 to discuss current trends revolutionizing the sales space, and to share ways to accelerate the next big waves of innovation, technology and best practices.

In his keynote address, Krogue highlighted nine trends transforming sales.

1. SaaS

The majority of cloud application buyers consider innovation and agility among the primary reasons they invest in SaaS (software as a service). More and more, organizations are also beginning to adopt cloud applications on a “mission critical” model. Companies need SaaS to develop and test production.

“No one should be just selling software,” Krogue explained. “You should be selling results.”

2. Inside sales

Historically, inside sales teams and field sales teams were often pitted against each other. The two departments spent time trying to crush each other, then trying to control each other, then competing, and then cooperating. They are now collaborating with each other in a space more heavily weighted toward the inside sales model.

“In fact,” Krogue said, “sales in the cloud, inside sales, is a model growing 300 percent faster than the traditional sales model.”

3. Internet and lead response

Speed and timing matter more than anything else when responding to web-generated leads.

According to XANT’s groundbreaking Lead Management Study, the odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour. The odds of calling to qualify a lead decrease by over 6 times in the first hour.

Further, research shows that the best time to contact a web-generated lead is within the first five minutes.


4. Gamification

A data-driven motivation strategy can improve company performance across the board. Engaged employees form the foundation of the service-to-profit chain, and gamification connects the dots between employee motivation and company success.

XANT research, discussed in this ebook, found that when work is turned into a game, sales go up by 10 percent.

Krogue explained, “Sales professionals are the ones who need real-time feedback, very much like race car drivers and professional athletes. They need these statistics to know how they’re doing and to know what they need to improve on in the present to win.”

5. Big data

Big data that is not easily actionable is largely ineffective.

To make data not only insightful, but also actionable, more variables must be gathered and considered.

“We not only use internal data to predict, but now we tap live feeds from incredibly huge external data sources like the weather, stock markets, gas prices and much more to increase our predictive capability as well,” Krogue said, describing some of the big data sets XANT’s technology analyzes.

6. Predictive analytics

An effective corporate ecosystem that aligns predictive analytics across all of its functions — from communications to sales to strategy to hiring — is able to bring big data to the forefront in order to identify trends, inform management, and generate unstoppable business value.

Krogue described XANT’s success using this technology: “We have used predictive analytics for seven years. We knew we were on to something when our Predictive 2.0 model tripled sales against the leading SaaS predictive dialer at the second largest home security sales company in the world.”

7. Sales acceleration

Customers are looking for ways to access products and solutions faster. If the buying process is lengthy, it hurts your customers and it hurts your business.

Over the past few years, nearly 20 categories of sales software have emerged to try to meet the massive demand for sales acceleration technology.

“We are the only platform in that space that ties together many of these different applications in one place to dramatically increase the velocity of selling,” Krogue said.

Waves of the future

XANT has built a successful company on these seven notable trends, but great companies are always looking for the next trends that promise to revolutionize the way business is done.

In the closing moments of his keynote, Krogue pointed toward two new trends that XANT’s platform and products embrace to deliver real business value to organizations across every industry. These trends, listed below, promise game-changing results for early adopters.

8. Disruptive consulting

Discussed at length in an article called “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption” by Clayton Christensen, this is a new kind of consulting, providing companies value-driven solutions from analysis to implementation.

In this consulting model, highly specialized consultants work with a company to create strong corporate ecosystems, specialized to work within your needs and framework.

Disruptive consulting not only provides analysis and data visualization on trends within your company, but also makes those insights actionable with system integration, technical training and best practices implementation.

“What companies need is consulting that trains each specialized role — sales reps, sales managers, marketing, management, human resources, recruiting, product support — and then aligns that training across the entire organization’s ecosystem,” Krogue explained.

9. Data-driven sales hiring

You cannot build a successful business without good people. Using data-driven processes powered by predictive analytics to recruit the right candidates maximizes your human resources investment. Beyond using data to know who to hire, data analysis can also empower you to know the best ways to develop and grow your people.

“We know hiring is a huge trend in the sales space,” Krogue said. “We want to give our clients every edge when it comes to hiring to accelerate their success.”

Are you taking advantage of current and upcoming trends to transform your business? Are you ready to catch the next big wave?

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