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December 20, 2010

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Top B2B Trends for 2011 and What They Mean to Sales Professionals

It's that time of year again -- everyone is making their predictions for 2011. Here at Glance's blog The Upside: Killer Sales Tips, we thought of you, our audience of sales professionals, and culled from a variety of sources what we think are the Top 2011 B2B Trends for you.

Fast Company's Lisa Nirell, recently wrote up her predictions for 2011, after talking to C-Level B2B execs across North Amerca:

1. Forward-thinking CEOs will loosen their purse strings and invest in top line growth. So, now is the time to bolster your value prop with ROI financials and give them a reason to invest in your product.

2. Interactions with and customers will need to be even more transparent. If you're not being completely responsive about your strengths and weaknesses on your web site, your emails, and online posts, someone else will do it for you.

3. Consumers still want to simplify their lives. Your customers are still feeling overwhelmed, stressed and impatient. You've got to be ready to deliver what they want when they want it. They'll appreciate you for it and give you their business.

4. "Push marketing" is dead. Long live pull marketing. Don't bother telling prospects why they should work with you. Instead showcase key insights and lessons by creating and participating in communities where your customers hang out. Your customers will be drawn to your community the more value you provide.

Jeremy Victor, at B2B Bloggers, lists these 2 trends as critical in 2011:

1. Your blog (and your website) are now your cold call. Similar to Lisa Nirell's #4 above, Jeremy's point here is that your B2B prospects now "own the discovery process and educate themselves across multiple channels". So you've got to create a dialogue and use it to get found, to educate, and to attract prospects.  (BTW, this point about doing content marketing was on everyone's prediction list!)

2. Cold calling becomes real-time calling. Through a combination of web analytics, marketing automation, real-time lead identification, social media monitoring, and sales pipeline analytics, the tools are now available for yours to become a real-time sales organization, i.e., one that can provide its sales pros with actionable, real-time info that identifies not only who to call, but what to call them about.

Finally, here are 2011 CRM predictions from the Experts at Focus.com:

1. CRM will evolve from being a customer database, to being a driving force in your organization that determines the value of loyal customers, what they want, and when they will want it.

2. Sales productivity will continue to increase, as companies continue to run lean with the painful memories of the recent recession. They'll balance balance growth with investment even as the economy rebounds. For you, that means using the new crop of Sales 2.0 tools and apps (many of them already integrated into your CRM system) to squeeze the most out of your time.

3. Companies will focus on micro-analytics in their CRM systems. Managers will need to measure at every level, in order to fine tune their sales process for productivity gains. They'll need to capture, measure, track and analyze the impact that sales activities like demos and collaborative support calls have on the business.

What are your own predictions for B2B sales and lead generation in 2011?

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

>> Try Glance for Salesforce, free for 30 days -- the only sales 2.0 tool that enables users to launch impromptu sales and support sessions instantly, right from within Salesforce.com, and provides dashboards for real-time productivity measurement.

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