Sales Trends & Challenges in 2016 – 12 Experts Share Their Predictions

Sales Trends


Another year has flown by and with 2016 quickly approa­ching, sales profes­sio­nals need to take time to seriously consider what the New Year will bring and how it will affect their work and sales targets.

To assist sales profes­sio­nals in prepa­ring for the New Year, we’ve leaned upon the exper­tise of some of today’s most influ­en­tial and respected sales leaders for their predic­tions in 2016. In the following article, you’ll hear directly from the CEOs of sales compa­nies, global sales execu­tives, keynote spea­kers, sales stra­te­gists, and best-selling sales authors.

What Sales Trends and Challenges Can We Expect in 2016?

We spoke to 12 sales leaders about the following three areas:

  1. 2016 will be the year of…
  2. The sales trends they predict will emerge in 2016
  3. The biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face

Their responses are in this article below, as well as in the Slideshare at the end of the article.

If you have any comments or predic­tions of your own to make, please share by leaving a comment below the article – Best of luck in 2016!

1. Kyle Porter

Kyle Porter


Kyle Porter is the CEO of Sales­Loft – Sales Deve­lo­p­ment Prospec­ting & Automation.

2016 will be the year of… the account based sales deve­lo­p­ment process.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
The concept of “logo-based terri­to­ries” has been around for a while in sales. What hasn’t been there is account based distri­bu­tion down to the sales deve­lo­p­ment rep role. The “account based” approach allows compa­nies the best shot at landing their most important prospects. Prospec­tors, inside sales reps, AEs, and top of the funnel demand gen profes­sio­nals will focus on a set of very rele­vant and highly targeted accounts they want to add as custo­mers, and all of their efforts will be focused on conver­ting them from contact infor­ma­tion into paying customer.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
The biggest chal­lenge sales will face in 2016 is the tempt­ation for auto­ma­tion. With all the data, email, and phone sales tools out there, sales people will struggle to find the balance between since­rity and scale. What’s important is that they focus on the effi­ci­ency of their prospec­ting. This means they need to maxi­mize the percen­tage of accounts they convert into appoint­ments over the accounts they try to convert. This way they aren’t leaving a brand scor­ched earth behind, they’re not eating up prospects that other reps could since­rely approach, and they’re able to get the prospects they want to join their customer base.

2. Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath


Jill Konrath is the best­sel­ling author of Agile Selling, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies.

2016 will be the year of… Sales Over­whelm.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
Lear­ning agility will emerge as a critical skill necessary for both sales leaders and sale­speople. Compa­nies will focus on how to hire for this capa­bi­lity as well as how to develop it with their exis­ting reps.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
Sales profes­sio­nals will continue to struggle trying to keep up with incre­a­singly complex decisions, the demand to “know more,” and new tech­no­lo­gies. All this, combined with an endless flow of infor­ma­tion and distrac­tions, will decrease their produc­ti­vity — when their entire orga­niz­a­tion is focused on incre­a­sing it.

3. David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott


David Meerman Scott is a Sales & Marke­ting Stra­te­gist and best­sel­ling author of ten books inclu­ding The New Rules of Sales and Service.

2016 will be the year of… News­jacking.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
After growing inte­rest for five years, 2016 is the year News­jacking goes main­stream. For those who don’t yet use the stra­tegy, News­jacking is the art and science of injec­ting your ideas into a brea­king news story to gene­rate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
Educa­ting and informing rather than inter­rup­ting and selling.

4. Dan McDade

Dan McDade


Dan McDade is the President/CEO of Point­Clear, LLC and author of The Truth About Leads. Named one of the 50 most influ­en­tial people in sales lead manage­ment for the last five conse­cu­tive years (Sales Lead Manage­ment Association)

2016 will be the year of… lead quality over lead quantity.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
The workload will shift from the field to more inside sales (or tele-prospec­ting) and the burden of customer rela­ti­onship manage­ment will begin a shift from sales to marke­ting. Speci­fi­cally, more compa­nies will adopt account-based marke­ting approa­ches – and the ones that look beyond the IP-based, cookie-based approa­ches will be the big winners.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
Sales profes­sio­nals do not know how to engage highly quali­fied leads from marke­ting because for the most part they have not gotten very many of them. As quality improves (while quan­tity declines), sales will struggle to approach each prospect as a market of one. Rather they will be in selling mode rather than listening mode early on and lose to a more consul­ta­tive, insights based, approach.

5. Nancy Bleeke

Nancy Bleeke


Presi­dent of Sales Pro Insider, Inc. Nancy Bleeke works with compa­nies to pinpoint barriers to sales growth, prio­ri­tize the actions to increase sales, and imple­ment tools and trai­ning to ramp up performance.

2016 will be the year of… Streamlining.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
Stream­li­ning will be a growing trend in 2016. Smart company leaders will look for ways to remove the processes, tech­no­logy, and fluff that keep their company from growing. Tech­no­logy conti­nues to push metrics-based manage­ment in large teams. Smaller compa­nies continue to chal­lenge the “big boys” with their focus on service, rela­ti­ons­hips, and making sales through rele­vant conversations.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
The biggest chal­lenges for sellers is staying rele­vant to meet buyers where they are at in THEIR buying process to give them what they need during the sales process so they can make a decision effi­ci­ently. The biggest chal­lenge is aligning their efforts in their sales acti­vi­ties to make their company happy, their buyers happy, and not lose them­selves along the way.

6. Matt Heinz

Matt Heinz


Matt Heinz is the Presi­dent of Heinz Marke­ting Inc – Sales acce­le­ra­tion, demand genera­tion, pipe­line management.

2016 will be the year of… more B2B marke­ters than ever embra­cing revenue responsibility.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
1. Wider adop­tion of sales auto­ma­tion tools such as Sales­Loft, Tell­wise and Tout.
2. Greater connec­tion between buyer pain/needs and sales process/messaging.
3. A focus on impro­ving sales produc­ti­vity and active selling time.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
All of the above! These are some­what opti­mistic predic­tions based on where I hope more sales orga­niz­a­tion focus and direct them­selves to improve their results, effi­ci­ency, velo­city and customer/prospect resonance.

7. Trish Bertuzzi

Trish Bertuzzi


Over the last two decades, Trish Bertuzzi has promoted inside sales as a commu­nity, profes­sion, and engine for revenue growth. In the process, The Bridge Group has worked with over 200 B2B tech­no­logy clients to build, expand, and opti­mize their inside sales efforts.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
2016 is the year we modify our sales process to truly reflect how our buyers want to buy. Every inter­ac­tion with them will be well thought out and deliver value. No more making them “earn” the right to infor­ma­tion. We will put it at their fingertips.

8. Andy MacMillan

Andy MacMillan


Andy MacMillan is Chief Execu­tive Officer of Act-On and over­sees the stra­tegic direc­tion of the company. Prior to joining Act-On, Andy held several senior leadership posi­tions at Sales­force, inclu­ding Chief Opera­ting Officer of the Products Divi­sion and Senior Vice Presi­dent & General Manager of Data.com.

2016 will be the year… we auto­mate all of marke­ting, not just demand genera­tion, to truly engage our customers.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
Post Sales is the New Sales as more and more revenue moves to the renewal ledger in the subscrip­tion economy. As a result, marke­ters need to be lifecycle oriented and look to auto­mate their customer enga­ge­ment stra­tegy. Marke­ting will expand from predo­mi­nantly acqui­si­tion marke­ting to reten­tion, expan­sion and advo­cacy, and we will see the role of CRM and the marketer evolve into the new stewards of the customer relationship.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
As the demand for a richer, more perso­na­lized and connected user expe­ri­ence grows, the role of the sales profes­sional will need to evolve with it. To do this, sales will need to turn to marke­ting auto­ma­tion tech­no­logy to compli­ment the manual enga­ge­ment typi­cally faci­li­tated by CRM tech­no­logy. The sales profes­sional must work hand-in-hand with the buyer, lever­aging the latest in tech­no­logy to delight the customer and deliver the expected outcome.

9. Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan


Jason Jordan is a partner of Vantage Point and author of the best-seller Cracking the Sales Manage­ment Code. He is a reco­gnized thought leader in the domain of B2B sales, and his rese­arch has been published by Harvard Busi­ness Review, Forbes, Entre­pre­neur, Sales & Marke­ting Manage­ment, and other leading publications.

2016 will be the year of… the Sales Manager.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
I expect to see even more atten­tion paid to front-line sales manage­ment in 2016. Sales mana­gers are at the nexus of a lot of stuff sales execu­tives need, like accu­rate fore­casts, healthy sales pipe­lines, timely repor­ting, and effec­tive coaching. Trai­ning dollars and accoun­ta­bi­lity will migrate from the sellers to their mana­gers, and improved perfor­mance will soon follow.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
The biggest chal­lenge in 2016 will be the same as 2015… Staying focused on consis­tent execu­tion. Social media, mobile tech­no­logy, and other ‘inno­va­tions’ create distrac­tions that pull the sales force off its funda­mental tasks. Get back to the basics… Mana­gers, coach your sellers. Sellers, create value for your custo­mers. Anything that doesn’t support those two objec­tives is a waste of time and resources.

10. Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley


Colleen Stanley is presi­dent of Sales­Lea­dership, Inc., a leading sales consul­ting firm that specia­lizes in emotional intel­li­gence and consul­ta­tive sales skills training.

2016 will be the year of… truth telling and prosperity.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
The “Amazon” effect will continue to force sales orga­niz­a­tions to get clear on their diffe­ren­tia­tors, add more value to the customer expe­ri­ence or resign them­selves to be replaced by a drone.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
Over­co­ming the biggest compe­titor, status quo, with prospects and custo­mers that are over­whelmed with infor­ma­tion and work. And one more tweet or email isn’t going to win that piece of business.

11. Chris Ashley

Chris Ashley


Chris Ashley – Director of Sales – Kiss­metrics, Customer Intel­li­gence & Web Analytics

2016 will be the year of… stronger align­ment between Marke­ting and Sales teams.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
Marke­tings’ share of the customer’s journey will grow throughout 2016 as prospects rely more heavily on self-educa­tion through webi­nars, static demos, and online content. Sales and Marke­ting will need to work toge­ther to build processes that are effec­tive in iden­ti­fying and actively enga­ging prospects at each stage of the sales cycle. Sales teams will struggle if they have to go at it alone.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
We live in a world where consu­mers would rather conduct their own rese­arch online than pick up a phone and have a conver­sa­tion with a Sales repre­sen­ta­tive. Sales profes­sio­nals that previously relied on buil­ding initial rapport over the phone will need to adapt and learn how to utilize current tech­no­lo­gies to open those same doors.

12. Lori Richardson

Lori Richardson


Lori Richardson – Sales Stra­te­gist, CEO, Score More Sales and Presi­dent, Women Sales Pros. Lori and her Score More Sales team help midsize compa­nies with sales leads and sales leadership – two critical areas that often need attention.

2016 will be the year of… Sales Tool Colla­bo­ra­tion & Conver­gence for a Greater Cause – Productivity.

What sales trends do you predict will emerge in 2016?
It didn’t happen in 2015 but I predict we’ll see one or more compa­nies with more complete tech­no­logy solu­tions to help B2B sellers and marke­ters cohe­si­vely. Curr­ently there is so much noise about the many thousands of options in a sales tech­no­logy stack, and many issues making multiple tools work smoothly toge­ther. Sales leadership will demand better solu­tions to connect with buyers and improve the sales experience.

What are the biggest chal­lenges that sales profes­sio­nals will face in 2016?
In an ever expan­ding noisy world it’s about keeping focus on what is important and maxi­mi­zing the finite hours they have to get things done.

Slideshare

You can also view (or down­load) all the sales experts’ predic­tions in the following Slideshare:

Click on the button to load the content from www.slideshare.net.

Load contentSlideshare link: Sales Trends & Chal­lenges in 2016 – 12 Experts Share Their Predictions

Join the Discussion:

Thank you to all the sales experts who shared their predictions.

If you have your own thoughts for sales trends and chal­lenges in 2016, or you would like to comment on the above sales experts’ predic­tions, be sure to leave a comment below.

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