Sales Trends to Watch in 2013

At the top of the new year, let’s look ahead to see some important sales trends to consider in 2013.

The Net Generation

Millennials (born 1980-2000) are often categorized as the digital generation that is highly tech savvy and possessing different values, expectations, and learning styles previous generations. As a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices, millennials are often said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.

For millennial employees these nuances will affect training, learning, and development across the company. This group may also be part of your client base. The growing involvement of this generation asks that you consider your clients demographics. You need to be able to connect with them.

Dario Priolo writes in Nine Trends in Sales Force Effectiveness and Learning & Development for 2013 for (@RichardSales): “Find a way to look at this issue objectively so that you can meet the needs of your own Millennial employees and your clients’. “Seasoned” managers and execs from older generations are the ones making the decisions and investments in connecting with Millennials — remember that it’s not about right or wrong, but rather about the most effective way to connect with and develop this group.

There’s (Yet Another) App For That

Another trend to be keep on radar is the expe­ri­ence of hav­ing so many new tech­nolo­gies being invented so quickly that one is unable to keep up with all the new inventions.

Steve W. Martin writes about the progression of “Techonology Fatigue.” in Top 10 Sales Trends for 2013 for (@HarvardBiz): While technology has profoundly improved the effectiveness of salespeople, there is an interesting trend that has been growing over the past couple of years and will only get worse. Salespeople today are always available to customers via their cell phones, constantly receiving a gargantuan stream of e-mail information, and every account update they make in Salesforce.com is broadcast to sales management. Many long time salespeople are suffering from “Technology Fatigue” and complain they are burning themselves out.”

While there are always shiny and new apps and platforms, sales teams should adopt and integrate technology with a singular goal – to shorten the sales cycle.

Reading Big Data

Big data is a phrase that will be popping up even more often in 2013. More focus on big data exposes a significant talent gap. The glaring issue is that few have the skills to understand what data truly suggests and how to take action on that data.

Nick Toman states in The Last 5 Trends Every Sales Exec Should Know for 2013: “Data is not insight, nor is insight merely data. The best companies will invest in the proper capabilities for interpreting big data, making sense of the numbers, and providing clear action steps. This doesn’t mean all sales professionals or heads of sales ops will need these data interpretation skills, but it does mean that individuals with this skill set are either hired or this capability is outsourced.

As sales analytics gains momentum, this will become increasingly important for the sales management function.

These are just a few predictions to consider going into 2013. What do you think will be newsworthy before the end of the year?