As the year winds down and we move into the holiday season, it’s a good time to think about the challenges and opportunities 2017 will hold. But often the best way to predict the future is to look to the past.
2016 was a banner year for the sales enablement industry. Around the world, companies of all sizes adopted new tools and techniques to help field sales and service teams to to become more effective in their roles. Adoption, along with a keen understanding of the benefits of delivering sales tools and content at the right time to help move a sale forward, has been cornerstone to this.
At Bigtincan we’ve been developing our market-leading Bigtincan Hub platform since 2011, with a vision of helping enterprise customers think about content as a key part of their sales enablement strategy. We have been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s leading marketing and sales operations teams to help them improve how sales people work in the field. So, for this holiday season, we thought we would share our top five trends and predictions for sales enablement in 2017.
1) A Virtual Assistant for Every Sales Person
The revolution in consumer AI technology – anybody asked Alexa to re-order some AA batteries recently? – is quickly coming to the enterprise and sales enablement. Starting in 2017 sales people will be able to work with their sales enablement tools to ask questions, book meetings, provide advice and make recommendations for actions to take to improve sales success. Not only will these “smart assistant” capabilities improve sales effectiveness, they will also save sales people time, which means increased productivity
2) A New Class of Content (So long, PDF flyer)
In an increasingly competitive market, sales teams are realizing that the PDF product flyer isn’t winning them any deals. In the year ahead, marketing and sales ops will move to more interactive content that can help to tell a story and differentiate the solution that is being sold. Winning sales teams will mix this new interactive content with traditional content to create bundles of materials that move deals forward and provide a compelling experience for customers.
3) Live Video – Any Time, Any Place
Being able to broadcast live video directly from the field will become a key tool for every sales person. No longer being stuck with static web meetings and standard phone calls, field reps will be able to share their pitches, demos and sales meetings in real-time, using the power of direct video broadcast. For customers, this gives them access to live materials from their reps, whenever they need it.
4) Sales Gets Smarter
Sales people will learn differently in 2017 than in the past. Sales and product training, which is typically delivered through separate systems at set times, will become fluid and digital. No more boardroom downloads at inopportune times, as technology will enable teams to learn about products or sales techniques where and when they need them. In 2017 learning will become part of selling – with learning content delivered at the right time, along relevant sales content in the same tools.
5) Real-Time News and Corporate Content Come Together
Keeping up-to-date with product collateral and sales information is hard enough, but having to be a product and industry expert in front of an ever-changing array of products and client needs is an overwhelming challenge. To keep track of the market, there are multiple aggregate news sites, but the time it takes to sift through the noise is time better spent on other tasks. In 2017, we will see general marketing information and even specific feeds on key areas (competitor announcements, market specific news, etc.) being delivered to sales people in real time as they strive improve their knowledge and increase hit rates.
At Bigtincan, we believe that 2017 will be the most exciting – and challenging – year for sales enablement yet. But hopefully the trends we’ve outlined will provide a few pointers to where we see the market going. 2017 is all about empowering sales reps, through technology and tools that can make real impact on the bottom line.