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4.25 Predictions for How Companies Will Change Sales Behavior in 2011

2011 will be a great year. I just know it! But, then again, I'm an optimist. Here are my predictions for how Salespeople's Behavior will change for the better in 2011...

1. Customers will be at the Center of "Org. Charts"

Next year customers (and prospective customers) will be in their rightful place at the core of org charts. Having a true "Sales Culture" means that everyone in an organization understands, appreciates, and adds value to customer relationships. Why not build an org chart AROUND your clients? The printing company Consolidated Graphics, for example, ditched its annual sales conference. In its place, the company hosts a celebration of its clients (complete with an awards ceremony) called "emerge." How can you highlight your customers?

2. People will continue to try to figure out "Sales 2.0"

By now, there’s no mystery: Sales + Technology = Sales 2.0. It's a neat concept, but sales has been innovating since the first sale was made and, if we’re just now arriving at “2.0,” we’re a bit behind. In truth, that’s neither here nor there. Technology is changing more rapidly now than ever before. And smart companies don’t particularly care about the label that’s slapped on innovation, they just seek it out.

3. Coaching will become even more important

Sales coaching is a critical component to behavioral change. If companies truly want to see sales improve, they’ll adopt the philosophy that it requires constant attention. Enter Sales Coaching! The truth of the matter is that if you’re interested in change, it’s the only way to go. Event-based training accomplishes nothing. If you're looking at really changing behavior, there's no better route to take than coaching. Truly great Sales Managers will make a New Year's Resolution to spend a lot of their time providing real-time feedback to their teams.

4. Collaboration will be King

Collaboration is clearly the wave of the future. Sharing knowledge, experience, and skills among groups of people (e.g., sales, marketing, and operations teams) will make companies more flexible. And flexibility means victory in today’s dynamic marketplace. Tools like SalesForce.com’s Chatter are just the beginning -- these tools allow people from all over a company to work together on projects without having to worry about silos (departments that can't -- or won't -- work together). Companies that will thrive are the ones that harness the knowledge, experience, and skills of both their internal resources (employees) and their clients. Again, take a look at prediction #1.

4.25. We'll make more predictions in about 365 days-or-so

We'll have more predictions for 2012. And some of them will be identical to the 4 that are listed above. This one's only a .25 because it's not really much of a prediction. But this is the one that I guarantee will come true. In the meantime, Happy New Year!! @JebBrooks