We asked Sales Performance International executives and consultants what kind of changes we can expect to see for the sales profession in the coming new year and compiled their perspectives and opinions in our eBook, “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond”.
Jurgen Heyman is SPI’s Chief Executive Officer.
What major trend do you see in your area of sales or learning performance expertise?
There is much to do about digital transformation in sales, especially related to development and enablement of sales talent. However, clients are overwhelmed with choice and fear committing to incomplete or unproven solutions. Clients who “get it” think about sales force development as a continuous improvement process versus a single event.
What is causing this trend?
Organizations do not want to miss out on the opportunity to improve effectiveness and efficiency through technology. However, innovation also drives change, which fosters fear and uncertainty – especially when these new ways are perceived as unproven. For example, sales force development content – from competency models to training materials and tools – plays an essential role in driving performance improvement. However, not all content is ready for digital consumption. Companies are having to choose between content that is ready but doesn’t meet their needs, continue to use the preferred material in an old way, or invest heavily in transforming content to be consumed digitally. Additionally, learning habits and preferences are changing. We all want shorter, highly engaging learning that can be consumed when needed or binged when moments of inspiration strike.
What opportunities or threats does the trend pose for businesses and sales organizations?
Organizations that embrace new ways of sales force improvement and a continuous development mindset will build better, more agile sales organizations that can adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. We live in a copycat world, and differentiating based on product is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible. Those organizations that can create the best teams and continually keep the team sharp will create a sustainable competitive advantage.
In light of the trend, what advice do you have for business and sales leaders?
There’s a saying that says, “Fortune favors the bold”, and if there ever was a time to be bold, the time is now. Think differently about how you develop your sales talent and commit to doing things better. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of progress. Any modern sales force development solution will have some issues, so choose a stable partner that is able and willing to continue to invest in building a world-class solution. Finally, encourage your sales enablement and learning and development teams to take some risk. These people are often risk-averse. Back them up, and let them know that it’s OK to adopt new ways of learning and development early on.
Download our eBook “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond” today!