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Joeri Perneel, Managing Director of KreaSalesCPM and Founder of analyses the key trends impacting sales in the next five years, in our latest CPM Expert Speak.

Sales is the business of KreaSalesCPM. Therefore we always look at the trends that will influence our profession in the next years. I read an interesting blog by John Spence, one of the top 100 thought leaders in the US in which he looks at some trends that we are taking already into account at KreaSalesCPM. But it does no harm to recap these trends briefly.

Competence is critical
As products become more and more similar, one of the ways to keep out of the commodity trap is for the salesperson to add real and significant value by being exceedingly professional, prepared, and competent. It is not enough just to know about your products and services, you must be an expert on your products and services, your industry, your competition, your customer, and their business. Customers are more knowledgeable than ever and one of the quickest ways to lose trust (and a sale) is for the customer to know more than you do. The salesperson of the future is going to have to be committed to lifelong learning on sales skills, product knowledge, business acumen, industry awareness and all of the key factors that their customers are concerned about.

Keep up with technology
The velocity of change across every business is only going to increase in the next 10 years. That means you have to keep up with the technologies that change your business, the technologies that change your customers’ business and the technologies that will impact how you perform your job as a salesperson. Many of the top innovation thought leaders have outlined a major areas where there will be massive change in the next 5 to 10 years, they are: computer deep learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of things, augmented reality, virtual reality, synthetic medicine, and genetic decoding and re-coding.

Social media is the future of referrals
Over the next several years social proof via social media will continue to grow as the major driver of referrals. There is absolutely no stronger marketing then when a satisfied customer tells 100, 1,000 or 100,000 people about how amazing your products and services are. So building strong relationships with highly satisfied customers, who become customer evangelists and tell everyone on their social media platforms that you totally rock, will be the most powerful way to increase your sales success. On the other hand, you must also remember that if you mess something up terribly, you can just as easily create a customer terrorist who goes out to their entire network in an effort to shut you down.

You can’t sell just your product
For the salesperson of the future it will be critical not just to sell their products and services, but have a command of the full array of solutions that can solve a broad set of problems for their customer, even when it means bringing in other vendors who have unique expertise and possibly even partnering with the competition. If you can be the type of salesperson who is basically a “one-stop shop” for your customers, giving them the answers and solutions they need no matter where they come from, you will be a valuable member of their team.

Some things will never change
You also have to understand that there are a handful of things that must never change. These are core elements of being a true sales professional — honesty, integrity, responsiveness, trust, superb communication skills, and always acting in the best interest of the customer. A lot of people say that in order to stay successful in the future you will have to “think outside the box.” I recommend you first figure out the things that must absolutely stay in the box, such as the items I’ve listed above, and then be willing, even eager to change anything else that might need to change.

To find out more on this subject, get in touch with Joeri Perneel on: +32 2 387 33 83 or email:
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