Must-Read B2B Sales Predictions for 2016

CeCe-Bazar by

2016 is quickly approaching and as we reflect back on the past year of B2B sales, and before we plan for the year ahead, we must first take pause to acknowledge the upcoming trends in B2B SaaS sales that are likely to impact your team next year.

Building Out Career Path Plans

As predicted, last year was the year of the BDR/SDR. Companies across the country hired, ramped, and trained young sales professionals, and now with a year under their belts and a red-hot hiring market, those millennial hires are currently wondering “what’s next.” This year we should be sure (and wise) to formalize career paths for the sales organization, which means we must identify benchmarks, traits, and skillsets necessary for BDRs and SDRs to move up the proverbial ladder. Be prepared to introduce these items as early as the interview process.

Unfortunately, companies invested so much time into hiring and ramping new classes of BDRs and SDRs that they failed to lay out what career progression might look like. Setting expectations early hasn’t been part of the onboarding program. So, in order to retain top talent and turn successful programs into feeder systems for the rest of the company, Managers, Directors, and VPs will need to focus their attention on building out a career path and program that keep their teams hungry, motivated, and focused for the year ahead.

Formalizing Onboarding and Training Programs

If 2015 was the year of proving the sales model, 2016 is the year of doubling down on that investment. Building out onboarding programs and ongoing training schedules will not only decrease ramp time, and increase revenue, it will keep those all-star hires armed with the resources they need to meet and exceed their goals (read: happy and not looking). While building out a best in-class training program certainly takes time away from closing, it is essential to the long-term success of the team and company. And if you are unsure of where to start, take a page out of Hubspot’s manual and first determine what the “baseline viability” is for all the roles on your sales team by determining what all new hires need to “ramp quickly and successfully in their new role at the company.”

Leveraging Benchmarks and Data

It’s already been stated that 2016 will be the “Year of the Sales Stack,” but more importantly, note that the influx of sales technology will bring an overwhelming amount of data for companies to sort through. In the next year, benchmarking and data will become part of the daily conversation. From the C-suite down, everyone will know where things stand against their personal and company-wide goals, and will leverage analytics to make smarter business decisions. Data-guided awareness will be brought to the sales organization, and with the advent of technology like ProfitWell, SaaS metrics won’t be just a thing for the boardroom.

Messaging that Focuses on the Customer

This year, SiriusDecisions debunked the theory that buyers are 67% through the buying process before engaging with a salesperson. Now the onus is on the sales team to effectively communicate the value of their product to their prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey. In 2016, we will see companies ramp up their outbound efforts in order to fill their funnels and really hone in on the appropriate messaging that their prospects and customers want and need to hear.

Bonus: AI Testing

Whether we are ready or not, the Artificial Intelligence wave has hit the sales scene. In 2016, we expect far more message testing (see above) with the help of virtual sales assistants. Teams will begin to test out the technology and determine whether or not it works for their model.

2016 is likely to bring great change to your sales organization. Make sure to get a jump on the new year by implementing some of the biggest trends before the year’s end.

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  • CeCe,

    Excellent article – all of the points are spot on. Heading into 2016, point #2 should be of particular interest to sales leaders and HR executives.

    At Peak Sales we routinely come across companies where more than 50% of new sales
    reps are let go within the first year. This represents an enormous waste
    in terms of hiring and management effort as well as lost sales opportunity.
    Properly training and developing new sales hires, even senior sales executives,
    addresses many of the challenges which cause new sales hires to fail, but also
    exponentially increases the chances that they will be successful, quickly,
    which is of paramount importance in highly competitive markets.

    At the end of the day, a structured onboarding program protects an investment in recruiting and
    employing sales people; helps provide increasing revenue performance; improved
    client experience; protecting company brand; reducing sales force turnover; and
    enhancing the ability to recruit and achieving faster identification of hiring
    mistakes.