Sales Trends in 2015 – Predictions by 14 Industry Experts

The New Year is well underway, which means as a sales profes­sional you already have your sales targets for 2015in place and are making serious efforts to reach your goals. It’s important to consider industry trends and envi­ron­mental influences which may assist or impede you on your path to success.

We spoke with 14 influ­en­tial sales leaders about their predic­tions for 2015 to help you best prepare for the year ahead. This select group of experts are renowned for their repeated sales success and have been pivotal in driving global busi­nesses forward.

Predictions for 2015 by 14 Sales Thought Leaders

We asked the experts for their predic­tions on, what trends can we expect to see in sales in 2015?

The sales leaders also shared their thoughts on what will be key to busi­nesses making sales, as well as the chal­lenges which sales profes­sio­nals may face.

Here are their responses:

1. Dan McDade

Presi­dent and CEO of Point­Clear, LLC. Named one of the 50 most influ­en­tial people in sales lead manage­ment for the last five conse­cu­tive years (Sales Lead Manage­ment Association)

Dan McDade

“2015 will be the Year of Nurtu­ring for Profit – After five years, sales and marke­ting orga­niza­tions are waking up to the fact that inbound marke­ting alone is insuf­fi­cient in gene­ra­ting the number of quali­fied sales ready leads neces­sary to make their number. An intel­li­gent blend of inbound, nurtu­ring and outbound marke­ting is critical to crea­ting and growing a healthy sales pipe­line. Successful compa­nies will use predic­tive marke­ting stra­te­gies to reveal leads with high revenue poten­tial and invest heavily in nurtu­ring acti­vi­ties to drive the buying process to a fruitful close.”

2. Atri Chatterjee

Chief Marke­ting Officer, Act-On Soft­ware – Marke­ting Auto­ma­tion for the Real World

Atri Chatterjee

“This year we will see a shift in sales’ percep­tion of modern marke­ting tech­ni­ques, with the wider adop­tion of front-office tech­no­lo­gies like marke­ting auto­ma­tion by sales. As a result, marke­ting and sales will become more aligned and marke­ting depart­ments will begin to play a bigger role in the sales process.”

3. Kyle Porter

CEO, Sales­Loft – Sales Deve­lo­p­ment Pros­pec­ting & Automation

Kyle Porter

“Sales deve­lo­p­ment emerged strongly last year as a vital piece of the revenue gene­ra­ting orga­niza­tion. In fact, the rise of sales deve­lo­p­ment repres­ents the most signi­fi­cant sales process impro­ve­ment in the last decade. Compa­nies will continue to specia­lize their sales forces in 2015 and reap the rewards of a team totally focused on conver­ting pros­pects (inbound or outbound) into quali­fied appoint­ments and demos. We’ll help them as the only creator of soft­ware specific for the sales deve­lo­p­ment role.”

4. Jill Rowley

Keynote Speaker / Social Selling Evan­ge­list / Startup Advisor / Modern Marke­ting Expert / Change Agent

Jill Rowley

“I am hopeful for a mindset shift from selling to serving. Sales profes­sio­nals need to move from using LinkedIn as their online resume, to mana­ging their digital repu­ta­tion. Instead of opti­mi­zing for the recruiter; opti­mize for the buyer. Here’s how:

It’s no longer Always Be Closing; it’s Always Be Connec­ting. Your network is your net worth. Nobody likes to be sold to. We’re living in the Age of the Customer where buyers have choice and voice.
Sales profes­sio­nals need to read; read what their buyers read and share that content across their social networks.
Sales profes­sio­nals learn how to listen; listen to the conver­sa­tions being had on the social web. Social Selling is about finding and being found.

Social Selling trai­ning for your Sales team is NOT OPTIONAL because a fool with a tool is still a fool. Oh, and if you suck offline; you’ll suck MORE online. #Don’tSuck.”

5. Joe Hyland

Chief Marke­ting Officer, Taulia – Cloud-Based Invoice, Payment and Dynamic Discoun­ting Manage­ment Solutions

Joe Hyland

“Enter­prises are seeking tangible value from their purchases – I see this conti­nuing in 2015. The days of buying for conve­ni­ence are behind us, as busi­nesses need to show measurable bene­fits for their spend.”

6. Matt Heinz

Presi­dent, Heinz Marke­ting Inc – Sales acce­le­ra­tion, demand gene­ra­tion, pipe­line management

Matt Heinz

“One of the biggest chal­lenges for sales profes­sio­nals in 2015 will be earning the atten­tion of pros­pects. It’s getting noisier and noisier out there. First atten­tion is great, but ongoing atten­tion is far more diffi­cult. It requires crea­ting more value, again and again, than sale­s­people are used to. Higher bar, but world-class sales orga­niza­tions will be up for it.

To drive higher sales produc­ti­vity and conver­sion rates, sales leaders need to focus on disci­pline and process. Funda­men­tally, this lite­rally comes down to email manage­ment, time manage­ment, calendar manage­ment, task manage­ment. Fight the daily war against distrac­tion and non-urgent fire drills. Focus exclu­si­vely on what’s most important to your pipe­line. That’s how you win.

Tech­no­logy adop­tion among sales profes­sio­nals has been well behind marke­ting. That needs to change. There is a growing number of auto­ma­tion tech­no­lo­gies focused on sales profes­sio­nals, but we need those same sales profes­sio­nals to pick up the sword and take advan­tage of what is now in front of them.”

7. Dave Oliver

Director of e‑Applications, United American Insu­rance Company

Dave Oliver

“As a Director for United American Insu­rance Co. I believe that online sales will continue to be our growth model for the near future as well as long term. As such, we continue to support our agents with online sales tech­ni­ques as well as quality online programs to achieve those sales. Mikogo is an inte­gral part of many of our agents’ online sales process and will only continue to grow and change the sales process to a new, more effi­cient method of reaching new clients.”

8. Patrick Nowakowski

Busi­ness Deve­lo­p­ment Execu­tive, Shift­suite – Condo / HOA Accoun­ting & Manage­ment Software

Patrick Nowakowski

“Our sales team is small but needs to achieve scale in various markets across the world. It’s just not possible hiring a multi­tude of sales people and run the risks of trai­ning issues, incor­rect product posi­tio­ning or manage­ment night­mares. This year we focus on deli­ve­ring the sales expe­ri­ence and work the cycles online – lead the client through product propo­sals, demons­tra­tions, incen­tives and even digital contract agree­ments, all through the internet.”

9. Dave McLaughlin

CEO/Co-Founder, Vsnap – Faster lead conver­sion for inside sales teams

Dave McLaughlin

“This year we’ll see sales leaders make more impro­ve­ments in the middle portions of the buyer journey. The tools and the data to do that are available, and sales leaders have seen that the best-selling talent is migra­ting to teams that give reps what they need to win more and more of their oppor­tu­ni­ties, rather than just banging away at empty acti­vity metrics.”

10. Daniel Kushner

CEO, Okto­post – The Plat­form built for B2B Social Media Marketing

Daniel Kushner

“This year in sales, we will see more social data and intel­li­gence used in sales calls. Today’s B2B social media marke­ting plat­forms and marke­ting auto­ma­tion systems are constantly gathe­ring online beha­vi­oral insights. This data, once pushed to sales, arms the reps with intel­li­gent talking points, buil­ding trust and shor­tening the sales cycle.”

11. Tim Paige

Conver­sion Educator, Lead­Pages – The ‘Next Gene­ra­tion’ Lead Gene­ra­tion Platform

Tim Paige

“For 2015, you’re going to see more and more people doing busi­ness with people they feel they can relate to in some way. Commer­cials feature more “regular” people doing “regular” things. And the person who can open his or herself up as much as possible will get ahead.”

12. David Meerman Scott

Sales & Marke­ting Stra­te­gist and best­sel­ling author of ten books inclu­ding The New Rules of Sales and Service

David Meerman Scott

“Marke­ting and sales are conver­ging in digital. 2015 will be the year marketers will embrace their sales colle­agues rather than fight them about leads.”

13. Fred Shilmover

CEO, Insights­quared – Busi­ness Analy­tics app for data-driven executives

Fred Shilmover

“Analy­tics will trickle down from manage­ment and become a team-wide tool, and sales teams speci­fi­cally will become much more metrics-driven as a result. These metrics will allow sales leaders to fore­cast more accu­ra­tely, using data to better predict and manage their teams and goals this coming year.”

14. Scott Kabat

Chief Marke­ting Officer, Prezi – the Inter­ac­tive, Cloud-Based Presen­ta­tion Platform

Scott Kabat

“We expect to see continued growth in the bottoms-up adop­tion of new sales tools. We hear of more and more cases of one or two passio­nate advo­cates emer­ging in a sales orga­niza­tion and then persua­ding their cowor­kers to try some­thing new. In the case of Prezi, that vira­lity happens seam­lessly when a single users creates a presen­ta­tion using our plat­form and them shares it with colle­agues. This trend toward consu­me­riza­tion of tech­no­logy is acce­le­ra­ting in busi­nesses of all sizes.”

Key Takeaways

  1. Sales success is depen­dent upon more than just inbound marke­ting. This year sales will adopt further marke­ting tech­ni­ques inclu­ding marke­ting auto­ma­tion, lead nurtu­ring and sales deve­lo­p­ment. Sales and marke­ting must work closer toge­ther than ever before.
  2. Get social by networ­king online with your poten­tial buyers. Wherever they are, you should be too, because buyers will do busi­ness with those they can relate to.
  3. Analy­tical data from social, marke­ting and manage­ment will play a crucial role in sales. Tech­no­logy and online sales tools, as well as data, will enable sale­s­people to focus on the middle of a buyer’s journey and shorten the sales cycle.
  4. There is a lot of compe­ti­tion for the atten­tion of buyers, and world-class sales teams will rise above the rest by offe­ring greater value and measurable bene­fits to prospects.

Download and Share

The above sales leaders’ predic­tions are available as a free PDF down­load. Just click the button below to open the file:

Sales Trends (PDF)

All state­ments by the thought leaders are also available as a slideshare:

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Join the Discussion:

So there you have it. Feel free to forward these quotes (or the PDF above) to your sales team. Use your favo­rite quote as your desktop wall­paper which will serve as a nice form of moti­va­tion – start your workday with advice on what’s most important in sales this year, direct from the experts!

  • Which trends reso­nate most with your line of sales?
  • What are your predic­tions for sales trends in 2015?

Share your thoughts in a comment below.

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