The start of a new year is the best time to gaze into the future and position your business for success in the coming months. So, what's different about this year that will require new strategies, tools, and perspectives to stand out and shatter sales goals?
In 2016, disruptions to existing sales and marketing models will be guided by an overarching theme: increasing penetration of technology.
Before you stop reading based on your existing expertise in marketing automation or CRM, know that the technologies positioned to become focal points this year are likely to quickly surpass those notions of vital tech in terms of value, accessibility, and ubiquity.
The Power of Predictive Analytics
Think about your sales funnel. If your company is using a quality sales process in the B2B space, around 20% of prospects ultimately convert. Getting them there, however, is a long process.
It requires 20 teleprospecting calls to reach one buyer persona, and 95% of all outreach ends with either a negative or no result, according to Sirius Decisions. The number of touchpoints required to achieve conversion grows each year, which equates to more time each marketer must spend to generate a sale.
Predictive analytics has become accurate enough to effectively disrupt the traditional sales funnel model and to create something much more efficient. By identifying the most receptive targets and spreading out from there, companies using predictive analytics effectively can turn their sales funnels upside down. Doing so gives them the power to use market intelligence to hone best-practices and then expand them outward to accommodate additional personas instead of casting a wide net and wasting valuable time whittling it down.
Marketers slow to adapt to the persona intelligence provided by predictive analytics will quickly fall behind competitors that reinvent their funnels.
Successful strategies for marketing technology solutions have seen huge shifts over the past several years. Large technology capital expenditures are now all but extinct for most companies, summarily replaced by much smaller spends on software-as-a-service cloud solutions that require little to no infrastructure changes. That dramatic reduction of risk associated with a bad purchase coupled with simplified ease of implementation brought decision-making to line of business managers, often requiring no approval from IT departments or the C-suite.
This shift has led to a dramatic increase in marketplace decision-makers who make small purchases frequently. Technology-enabled transactions streamline the process, removing the need for interaction with a sales account manager and allowing instant purchases. The convenience associated with this type of transaction has created huge demand for simple technology-driven micro-conversions in the technology sector, and this will permeate additional types of enterprise level purchasing this year.
Vendors that rely solely on human-powered transactions will feel the pinch from clients demanding an easier process.
In November, Google logged more Web traffic originating from mobile devices than desktops for the first time ever. Similarly, more than 44% of Internet videos were viewed on mobile devices last year, and mobile now accounts for 30% of all e-commerce.
Whether opening email during a meeting or searching for solutions while at the airport, enterprise users are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to conduct business.
This trend is rapidly permeating the market in every capacity. Email marketing campaigns not optimized to display on mobile devices are not generating results. Content like blogs, articles, and even whitepapers take massive hits to open rates when they are not mobile-friendly.
Conversions are moving to the mobile space as well, as more decision-makers seek the convenience of researching and buying anywhere, any time. Mobile-enabled marketing campaigns and transaction processing will cross the threshold from "nice to have" to "necessary to remain competitive" this year.
As mobile devices increase their climb to digital dominance in enterprise around the world, any business activity not enabled to work with them alienates service providers from clients and channel partners.
* * *
The technology fueling marketing success is turning a corner from evolutionary to revolutionary, requiring new ways of conducting business. Significant overhauls to previously successful processes will become necessary. Because of the acceleration of marketplace demands and technology, speed is of the essence in both ability to implement and scale. A large decision facing CMOs and sales teams is whether to take on the challenge internally or work with industry partners that can help design and execute plans using new technology quickly.
However you decide to address the year ahead, technology has more power than ever before to spell success or failure.