What to Watch for in Sales in 2012


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It seems like yesterday most sales professionals and sales managers were planning goals and speculating on the year. All might have predicted, perhaps hoped for a vast improved economy. Many are still praying.

Clearly our business landscape has been altered by numerous factors but those most influential while also uncontrollable are political, economic and technical changes. Clients today have curtailed buying in lieu of budgets or making excuses using them. Life for many in sales has altered in a huge way and will continue to do so.

In volatile times it will be necessary for organizations to remain ahead of the curve rather than chasing it. Selling today is more difficult then ever. There are many issues at hand and sales institutions must follow or remain ahead of the curve. Avoiding trends or becoming cocky towards them might mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

Here are some of the top sales trends for 2012 to help keep sales teams ahead of the competition:

Service or Suicide – Clients today are increasing their desire to be treated well by their vendors. Customer service is the ultimate in competitive differentiation. Service clients right or lost the contract. Selling representatives cannot blow off sales calls, forget certain aspects of contracts, try to negotiate to hard and lose contact. Unless customer service is part of the sales culture, do not plan on selling.

It is all about value – Clients have more information at their fingertips then ever since the use of the Internet allows for voluminous information about the firm and its competitors. Selling professionals must then continually formulate value rather than speak of features. Unless the selling professional can articulate value properly, the impatience of customers will have them moving on.

Customization – Prospective clients no longer desire off the shelf solutions but rather products and services that can be customized to immediately aid competitive ground. This will also require different levels of sales support. Organizations must reengineer around customer needs rather than self – profit motivation.

It’s all about results – Sales teams, simply put, show results or get shown the door. Executives are beginning to tire of excuses in sales gaps. Sales teams must illustrate measurable results. This requires sales managers holding individuals accountable or they too will be shown the door. The competition is too fierce as organizations attempt to remain profitable so it is important for everyone on the sales team to produce.

Change the Paradigm. – There are too many organizations that pay high salaries to sales professionals – many in the six-figure range. However the organization carries the risk not the sales representative. As organizations seek to continually cut expenses look to lower base salaries and higher commissions. In fact, look to many firms hiring only on zero salary and commission only.

Cold Calling is for Losers – With the proliferation of caller ID, cold calling continually remains a futile effort. First, decision makers never make choices from a cold call and most important people are too busy. Selling professionals will be required to network more aggressively while doing some new things such as speaking, writing blogs/articles etc. Selling is a relationship business so sellers will be required to build direct relationships that matter and build business.

High T’s – With some many connected today by technology there remains too much noise. Amplification of social media, electronic mail and other platforms only adds more noise not sales. Selling professionals and sales managers will then be required to perform more high touch relationships.

Connectivity is Key – The only way to build solid relationships is with consistent and relentless communication. Direct calls, email, Skype etc are required to ensure clients keep selling professionals top of mind.

Business Intelligence – Selling professionals cannot pick up a phone and believe that buyers will just buy. The Information Age requires selling professionals to use information such as industry, competition and company to position their products/services with the client. Failure to prepare to have articulate conversations will lead to being left out of conversation.

Constant Improvement – Much like athletes, selling professionals must constantly seek methods for improvement. Organizations will stop paying for education so it is up to the individual. Sellers must engage in reading, audios or class instruction for constant improvement. Education will be the difference between surviving and thriving in tomorrow’s economy.

Stay tuned part three where I depict the major changes in, marketing and leadership.

© Drew Stevens PhD. All Rights Reserved.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Stevens
Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. (Dr. Drew) is the author of Split Second Selling and the soon to be released Ultimate Business Bible and six other business books on sales, customer loyalty, self mastery and business development solutions. Drew helps organizations to dramatically accelerate revenue and outstrip the competition. He conducts over 4 international keynotes, seminars and workshops per year.


  1. I’m happy to see the “Cold calling is for losers” statement on this page. I’m dumbfounded when I get argument from salespeople that cold calling is the “only way” or when I browse sales topics in LinkedIn groups and see topics like, “Can you succeed in sales if you’re a poor cold caller?” There seems to be a bizarre emotional attachment to cold calling and I don’t get it.

  2. It is amazing how many people are incited when I write these things because they feel that cold calling is useful. Worse yet as a sales coach for well over 30 years you cannot imagine how many cold calls I too receive. They are intrusive. The caller always gets my name wrong. And worse yet the cold caller knows nothing and I mean nothing about my business. I would never do business with some hack attempting to drum up business to line his/her pockets.

    Selling is a relationship business and the only thing that controls a sale is a purposeful customer centered relationship. Frank I too find that the social networks are full of fodder and unsuccessful people “popping off” about subjects they know little about and have seen minimal success with. At times these groups on Li unlike found here are infomericals pitching products akin to cold calling.

    Thank you for the support and keep reading!

    Happy Holidays.


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