Incentra Insights

2017 Sales Trends - Is Your Incentive Plan Ready?

Posted by David Chittock on Apr 10, 2017 9:22:24 PM

What Can We Expect?

Recently, Forbes published an article entitled “Leading Sales Trends Expected to Drive Success In 2017”.  In it, the author states that these developments will have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.  If sales managers are not planning for these trends, there is a good chance they could be falling behind their competitors. So what do you need to know about these trends and how they will affect your sales incentive plan?

Changing Sales Roles

The author suggests there are three distinct sales roles in today’s sales organizations:

  • The order taker – the person in this role simply takes orders and fulfills customer requests. Order takers will continue to be replaced by the convenience of automation from online vendors.
  • The salesperson – This person believes his/her job is to sell what their company offers to anyone who will buy it.
  • The subject matter expert (SME) – This individual offers enough expertise that the customer would be willing to pay for a meeting with them. Given a choice, a client would prefer to meet with a subject matter expert.

Sales IncentivesSMEs on the Rise

In somewhat of a paradigm shift, SMEs are increasingly taking a lead role in the sales cycle.  Once relegated to a support role, SMEs are now bringing high credibility and integrity to the sales process.  Becoming the chief rainmakers on the sales team, SMEs will need more robust support from the sales staff in managing the sales process steps.  Also, an important aspect of the trend toward utilization of subject matter experts is truly understanding your client’s buying process. If you don’t, you’ll surely fall behind your competitors.

The Changing Sales Process for Buyers

Customers today are performing their own research. They have likely obtained information on your company even before you contact them.  They might have already assessed the pros and cons of your products or services and probably have a myriad of questions.  This is where your SME becomes your most valuable sales tool.  Your SME can credibly address their concerns, allay their fears, and gain their trust.  The SME can fill in the gaps in the buyer’s knowledge and convincingly build the case for the sale.  Every prospect will have its own buying process and it will be important for you and your team to adapt to it.

Impact on Sales Incentive Plans

The evolving roles of your sales team and the shifts in your sales process are likely to make your sales incentive plans even more complex.  Creating incentive programs that address the unique and individual needs of people with diverse skills, aspirations, and career goals can be challenging to say the least.  You’re going to need a partner that can customize a solution for you that integrates sales recognition, incentives, and rewards in a highly configurable technology platform.  In our next few blog posts, we will outline in detail how easily and quickly you can implement a sales incentive plan that will take the 2017 sales trends head on!  Stay tuned.

Categories: Sales Incentives