Yesterday, I wrote about a Forecast fireside chat we hosted in Atlanta, where Base CEO Uzi Shmilovici sat down with 4 of Atlanta’s top sales executives. The panel discussed the 3 biggest challenges sales teams face. You can read that here. Today, we’re sharing the group’s thoughts about the future sales landscape and what the sales profession might look like in 2020.
To start the discussion, Shmilovici posed a series of questions to the group:
“If you try to envision the future of sales, imagine let’s say with futuristic theme, 2020. What does the sales person look like? How old are they? What are they selling? What are the technologies they’re using? How would you think about that?”
Convergence of sales and marketing
Kyle Porter, CEO of Salesloft chimed in first. “So, 2020, 2018. It’s just a hunch, but I think we’re moving from less of a very individualistic sales world to a team-based sales environment.”
For example, Porter described a sentiment shared by his team. “It’s great to be a number 1 sales person, but it’s way better to be a number 1 sales organization.”
He sees the sales and marketing functions migrating into a single function focused on revenue generation.
“Now, you have marketing in one corner, and sales in the other. But we’re starting to see the blending of these two organizations. I think that there’s going to be a better concerted effort around a “revenue generation” department inside of an organization. And it might not even be, “Hey he’s a sales guy, he’s a marketing guy.” Instead, here’s all the functions in a revenue generation funnel, and here are the people that fulfill those and they work as a team. So I think that might be a play, but you know, I’m just guessing.”
Sophistication of marketing and sales automation tools
“We’re not that far from 2020 really. I think that the use of technologies that all of us kind of developed and brought to market for marketing automation and sales automation, are not being utilized intelligently yet. If you think about it, for last 5 or 6 years, what we brought to market is automation. So what? There’s a lot of technologies out there, there are a lot of smart people, so we enabled automation in an area that used to be done by people, by a human being, so we created some level of automation, but we didn’t actually teach folks how to use it well, how to make themselves more efficient, more analytical, more capable. So I think a lot of that will come over the next few years.
Specialized sales roles
“There are so many specialists and so many different fields. Just think of the number of doctors and all the different doctors we have. I mean, there’s a doctor for anything you can possibly think of. So, you’re having more vertical specialists where you can remain relevant. I just think we’re going to see more and more of that, because sifting through all the data and really being relevant in somebody’s space is going to be more and more important.”
Andrew Somoza, Chief Sales Officer at Voxa noted the trend of sales people getting younger and younger as well as losing that face-to-face interaction.
“What keeps me awake at night scares the hell out of me,” he said. “We have guys who sit behind the desk and I think that with all the information that’s available, you can almost get lazy and you lose the old fashion bit about being face-to-face or picking up a telephone.”
At Base, we share the sentiment that sales productivity and CRM software will look radically different in 2020. We spend a lot of time thinking about the future of sales, and how to best leverage big data analytics, mobile devices and cloud computing to make sales teams 10x more productive.
Weigh in. Do you agree with these predictions? What do you think the sales landscape will look like in 2020? Let us know in the comments section, or send us a Tweet to @ForecastClub.
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