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Business Trends

brainstorm-2449730_640 Business TrendsThis are new ways of effectively making sales . One of the factors here include content creation and the product becomes the solution. The whole aim of sales and marketing is convincing the customer through all means possible that your product is the best in the market.

Each year I have the honor of observing business trends as a keynote speaker and business advisor. For the fourth consecutive year, I am pleased to share the top business trends that leading companies embrace to drive success. Some trends are in their infancy, and others have become part of the mainstream. These patterns emerge regardless of company size. Feel free to take a look at my past predictions using the links at the bottom of the article. Here are my predictions for the Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success in 2017.

  1. Subject Matter Experts Become The New Rainmakers

Subject matter experts who understand and can help guide the sales process drive growth in top performing B2B companies.

Consider three different buying personas: an order taker, a salesperson, and a subject matter expert (SME). The order taker merely takes an order, and provides a price and delivery schedule. That function can be easily performed by Amazon (often with better results).

Of the remaining two personas, which one would you want to encounter as a customer? Would you want the person with a mission to sell something to you, or the expert who you might be willing to pay to meet with because of their deep expertise?

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When I present these options to executives, they often resist the notion of meeting with a salesperson, but would willingly meet with the SME to gain insight.

  1. Crowdfunding Validates New Products

When you think of crowdfunding, you might envision films or artisan leather wallets. To the surprise of many, globally crowdfunding is trending to surpass venture capital by the end of this year.

According to crowdfunding and marketing expert Clay Hebert, “Smart companies are using crowdfunding to not only raise capital, but to validate products before making substantial investments in product development.”

Smith & Bradley, Ltd., a U.S.-based tactical watch manufacturer has launched seven Kickstarter campaigns to validate new designs for their line of watches. Five of the campaigns received market validation. The other two didn’t make the cut.

“When we wanted to produce our first watch, we used crowdfunding to raise the funds needed to go to market,” co-founder Ryan Bradley said. “What we didn’t realize was that we had also discovered a way to validate the market for a product before we went into production. Now, each new product idea has a crowdfunding component to validate the market. Based on the velocity or success of the crowdfunding effort, we shift our resources to meet market demand.”

  1. Sales And Content Marketing Become Fully Integrated

As customers and buyers continue to do more online research, top performing organizations continue to integrate sales and content marketing. The goal is to ensure that when customers search for risks, challenges, and implementation strategies associated with your solutions, they will find your content to address their questions.

When I purchased my Tesla, I did research online, and scheduled my test drive the same way. The Tesla consultant coordinated the test drive and helped me select the right options (in many cases talking me out of features I didn’t really need). I then completed the purchase form online using a tablet in their store in a shopping mall. Ultimately, I placed the final order via Internet browser, from home.

  1. Video Becomes Essential

According to a recent Forbes study, video is becoming a critical source of information for executives:

  • More than 80% said they are watching more online video today than they were a year ago.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly; more than half (52%) watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.
  • Overall, 65% have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video.

Early in the days of television, advertisements were highly effective because the platform was relatively new. Using video to run ads today is a waste of effort. However, providing video as a source of valuable content to address issues or answer questions helps the consumer to feel like they know you better than if they had just read an article.

As part of the business trends there is a need to understand customers more, engage with them to make the sales process feellike a normal way of life without pressure for the consumer to make a secision. Technology is playing a big role in sales.

Last year, 2016, is in our rearview mirror, so it’s time to look to the trends in 2017 that will change how we do business: For instance, in my travels around the country to conventions and keynote speech engagements, I’ve noticed that the faces of the audiences keep getting younger, regardless of the industry.

Here are five more trends that will be making a splash in 2017.

1. Elevated customer engagement

We have already seen a shift on how brands engage customers — in person and digitally. Customer engagement will continue to dominate as merchants move to a more digital-based business model. Relationships matter, and we have forgotten that intimacy can exist in a digital environment through data, responses and personalization.

Customers want brands to become experts on them and to be treated as though they matter — which they do. Already, some retailers are delving into personalized services; for example, Nordstrom is offering fashion advice; and home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have instructional sessions.

2. Customer data collection

How do you help people become more productive? Give them a higher level of service. To do that, study what customers consume and how they consume it, and use that information to give them what they want. Sounds simple enough, but not everyone has learned this lesson.

Brands have always collected data on their customers but are only now learning to use it to their advantage. The Internet of Things (IoT) is one way to increase customer engagement and provide brands a way to build stronger relationships. Loyalty programs provide multiple points of interaction through objects already available in our environment.

3. Automation

Growing up, I remember watching The Jetsons and wanting a robot like “Rosie” to perform my household chores. In business, chatbots perform a much more important role for companies like Microsoft and Bank of America.

Last year, companies began recognizing the advantages and limitations of chatbots for customer engagement. But more is coming to that space: As LiveWorld chairman and CEO Peter Friedman predicts, “In 2017, brands will strategically and seamlessly integrate humans into chatbot interactions to scale and advance the effectiveness of their chatbot programs.”

Sourced from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287208