New Rules, New Products

 

Posted By Karen Meyer | Jan 07, 2014

 

As a product manager, reflecting on the past year’s events and thinking about the trends of the future always have had a direct impact on how I approach product development. I feel it's more critical in a product role than any other to really understand the impact on individual events over the past year, and how they will shape the market so we create product roadmaps that lead our customers through the future.

This year, there was no shortage of events that impact sales. Here is my take on a few “new rules” that will take us into the new year.

Show us the money

We're out of the economic downturn and it seems like earning potential for salespeople has increased while the demands on them by their buyers continue to increase. The trend will continue that they'll have to deliver accurately and fast. Vendors need to be focused on helping them achieve that goal to help “show them the money.”

Sales software vendors must help “show them the money.”

FORCE-ing us to rethink

Salesforce.com's Salesforce1 platform and application announcement at the end of this year put pressure on organizations to be much smarter about arming salespeople with what they need to move customer conversations forward. The focus now is on 'micro events' and moving in bits and pieces fast. This announcement alone forces us to think 'mobile first'. This shift to me puts further emphasis on striking clean, simple user experiences for the salesperson.

Salesforce.com's Salesforce1 platform

Gaps with current apps - in the sales workflow

Along the mobile line, there are tons of 'gadget' apps out there, and the salesperson is responsible for figuring out how to use all of them in conjunction with one another. There are just too many! The key to successful enablement for the salesperson in 2014 is going to be a select few key apps that become the launching point for everything else that feeds the rep exactly what they need. Process is handled behind the scenes and content is at their fingertips with access to fresh customer data at all times.

Gaps with current apps - in the sales workflow

Growth mode

With many more organizations talking about 'growth mode' heading into 2014, the pressure is on to build out sales teams and make them as productive as possible getting them to that first sale quickly. The chatter among even our customers and prospects on who 'owns' sales rep onboarding is very consistent — no standard processes and tool gaps for onboarding reps. 2014 seems like it's going to be a great year to help our customers build out their onboarding plans, while developing consistent, repeatable processes to measure and monitor progress rapidly. We're helping these companies create standards.

Sales organizations are in 'growth mode' for 2014

Challengers are increasing

The Challenger Sale methodology is here to stay. The number of organizations adopting Challenger Selling in 2013 has been significant. Organizations have invested in Challenger training and content throughout 2013 and salespeople are now experienced using this methodology. In 2014, I think organizations are going to be interested in understanding better the true impact of adopting this methodology and may be in positions to tune from pure basic coaching to the next level of maturity for their organizations.

Following and interpreting market and customer data (now that reps get the hang of the basics), will remain critical for reps, managers and execs. I think we'll hear much more from those same folks in 2014 about the importance of having timely, data driven conversations with customers and prospects and the impact of that approach on their businesses.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! I look forward to a happy, healthy and exciting new year in 2014.