The ability to find and capitalize on a sales trend can differentiate your company within your industry. It can also increase sales in a creative way. While it's not always easy to spot trends before they happen, it's always important to find that edge.
Sales trends can help to grow your business with a bit of an edge. Here are the steps you should take to capitalize on sales trends and beat your competition.
Tip #1: Think about changing
Before you can capitalize on a sales trend, you need to anticipate change. Consumer preferences change. The market changes. Products and services change. Everything changes, and so should you. Why get stuck in a rut when you can move forward in the digital age with data-driven insights. Look for change whether it's social or technological, such as the rise of data intelligence and machine learning.
What was your company like before and after the rise of social media? Did you embrace the new selling platforms? If you did, then you would have seen an increase in sales and profits. Don't look at change as a bad thing--anticipate the opportunities that come along with change.
Truly, change is essential for any organization. In fact, evolution is a must. While there is always a level of risk that comes along, it's better than taking the route of complacency. If you resist change, your company will quickly become irrelevant. Do you remember Blockbuster Video? To achieve great things, you must experiment and become open-minded.
If you don't embrace change, how can you make things better or more efficient? This isn't about making a change just for the sake of it. But, if you want to capitalize on sales trends, then you must look for and anticipate transformation. Then, tie that into a business goal. How can this sales trend help your company achieve its revenue targets?
Tip #2: Use insights to plan for its arrival
If you want to capitalize on a sales trend, then you have to see it before it becomes a trend. You can do so by using data-driven insights to better understand customer behavior and preferences. Start studying these insights and watching in any way that you can.
Read online trade publications, pore through social media, and look for sales trends that appear to be gaining steam. With data-driven insights, you can then validate your hunches. Again, it's risky--but with great risk come great reward.
For instance, one perceived sales trend is the idea that inside sales will replace field sales. With many technological advancements in video conferencing, instant messaging, project management, CRM, and other sales tools, it's becoming easier for sales reps to close deals without ever having to visit the customer's location. It's also more cost-efficient to save on travel and related expenses for field reps.
In the past, field sales might treat valuable clients to expensive lunches, dinners, concerts, or golf games. Now, reps can give a full presentation in a web meeting and answer any questions instantly. It's also more convenient for the rep since they can access all their data right at their desk and don't have to worry about traveling, losing information, or getting lost along the way.
Every hour can be spent engaging customers in one form or another. To capitalize on this trend, you can train inside sales reps how to handle larger accounts. You can also hire more inside reps and decrease the number of new hires for the field. Then, improve your sales collaboration tools so your team feel fully equipped to meet the needs of any customer--large or small.
Tip #3: Stick to long-term trends
Trends come and go. While you want to embrace the right types of changes for your organization, you also want to embrace a trend that is valuable enough to last for the long-term. Change for the sake of change can cause chaos. Also, your employees will not be happy about making a new change every month or every week.
So, in this sense, it's important to differentiate between short-term and long-term trends. Again, this can come down to understanding your customers, technology, and your market. Sales trends can be fickle. There was once a trend that moved towards virtual agents, now, it's chatbots. But, there is always something.
On the other hand, a long-term sales trend would be posting informative and relevant videos on social media channels. It's crucial to weigh the pros and cons. Yet, even a short-term trend can proliferate into a long-term trend if it gains traction. Just think of the problems the trend will solve.
If the problems are large enough, and the trend is relevant enough, then it has the potential for long-term value. Talk to the experts, and use your data intelligence to put the pieces together. Then, add a dash of imagination and flexibility.
Tip #4: Address the elephant in the room
Every company has multiple business issues to solve, that can improve their sales revenue. What's yours? Sometimes, there is an elephant in the room that no one wants to bring up but it must be addressed.
Is there an issue that makes your sales reps uncomfortable? Are there outdated processes that could benefit from taking a more efficient route?
When you address an issue head-on, you can break down any obstacles to change. You must start by identifying the problem, then acknowledging its presence. The thing about elephants is they grow quickly. Dragging your feet won't help, especially if you want to capitalize on sales trends.
Are your reps still using spreadsheets, or even pen and paper, to organize their customer data? When addressing issues, timing is everything. Do it when there are minimal distractions, and when people involved are not as emotional or stressed. Then, make a plan about how you want to drive the conversation. Think about all the directions it can go. Imagine the outcome you would like to see.
Be courageous and creative. Then, be direct, honest, and transparent. Even if the subject matter is unpleasant, it needs to be taken care of before you can capitalize on a sales trend. If you name the elephant, it becomes less intimidating. Then, open things up for discussion.
Let people voice their opinions, and offer solutions in the form of a relevant sales trend such as prospecting for new customers in micro-markets or using advanced customer data analytics.
Tip #5: Remain realistic
Focus on your company's strengths, and keep it realistic. If your business is a small startup, and you have ideas of becoming the next Amazon, that might not happen by capitalizing on just one sales trend. As a result, it's critical to incorporate a sales trend that is realistic and makes the most sense for your company.
Again, it is crucial to use your data-driven insights to pick a sales trend that would provide even more value to your prospects and customers. Moreover, it's important that your entire sales team can adopt the trend easily and understand the value proposition.
Sales trends will only work for your company if all the necessary end users are on board. And, instead of focusing on what your competition does--focus on how this new sales trend can help your company improve. How will the sales trend ensure your customers choose you over your competition? Will it realistically take your company's sales numbers to the next level?
Be open to change, look for realistic trends, and use data-driven insights to pick the right trends for your company. See how taking advantage of trends using Xactly Incent can drive growth.