I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Brent Herd, thoughtleader for over 15 years in sales and advertising. He has led the sales teams at AOL, Yahoo, Advertising.com, Moxie Interactive and Bolt Media. He is now the senior VP of Sales at ShareThis.com
I wanted to know what he predicted the top three challenges were in this new decade. They were:
1. A crowded marketplace makes differentiation increasingly difficult.
2. Moving traditional budgets over to online, and how to increase the pace of that
3. Realizing that the buying community is overwhelmed.
The first issues of a crowded marketplace may seem challenging. Everyone with a cousin who knows computers is setting up websites trying to recommend things with affiliate links. People are posting reviews on social media. This can be harnessed by realizing that most sales these days are done by recommendation rather than brand differentiation. So make it easy for someone to recommend your product or service.
For the second challenge, Brent Herd said that many companies have well established processes and procedures that can hamper growth, and that it’s important not to have a process for the sake of having a process. Sometimes, it’s better to get back to the small company basics and make decisions more nimbly.
Finally, people are suffering from information overload what with over 2 billion videos being watched on YouTube each day, and then shared, over 200 million subscribers each on Facebook and LinkedIn, and inboxes being clogged with forwards, spams, newsletters and deals of the day.
How can someone sort through all of the clutter? There are four major search engines that can return thousands of results based upon simple searches like “best refrigerator with French doors.” Companies should make it easier for someone to find the information they need, and make it easier for happy customers to share their opinions.
So over the next decade, companies’ sales strategies should focus on streamlining their sales message, putting money where it will be most effective, and making it easier for the client to buy. Since more people are going online to find their information, a company would be smart to move their budgets and strategy to providing the right information for the customer to decide to buy. Sales and marketing teams should spend additional budget analyzing and identifying the customer profile and demographics in greater detail.
For a company to survive and thrive over the next decade, they need to become more nimble in how they respond to the market changes.