2009 proved to be quite a challenging year for every industry across the United States. We as a nation have endured a significant amount of change and we as sales professionals are the most equipped to deal with it. Regardless of the harsh realities of 2009, we see some light at the end of the tunnel and at Treeline welcome 2010 with open arms. We have been asked by many of you to give our predictions of what we see in 2010 and we have always been willing to share our open and honest opinions. So without further ado, here are our predictions for 2010:
1. Companies will have a greater urgency to hire sales professionals in 2010
First off, we believe that companies will have a much greater urgency to hire in 2010. We are seeing this trend develop right now. We have found our clients to be more aggressive in December than they were in all of 2009. Companies have cut their staff to the bone and hunkered down throughout 2009. This is a behavior that we see changing currently and predict this behavior will continue throughout 2010. Companies are starting to make the transition from survival mode to growth mode. They are experiencing consistent numbers and are now positioning themselves to win. They have survived so far, and although we are not through the tough times, we are seeing a steady increase in the hiring of sales professionals.
Clients are feeling more confident in the economy and feel that they have weathered a large portion of the storm, therefore we are seeing more firms coming to the realization that now is the time to hire. After taking it on the chin in 2009, many companies are starting to feel a greater urgency and need to grow revenue in 2010. Classically speaking, the best way to increase revenue is to increase your sales force. Additional Sales Professionals carry additional revenue numbers and if hiring is done properly, companies will increase revenue with an increase in sales staff. It is happening right now and for growth companies that have cut to the bone, now is the time to build depth in their sales forces.
Therefore, our prediction is that there will be a greater urgency to hire sales professionals in 2010 but be forewarned that urgency is not desperation. Companies are still more selective than ever but urgent to increase revenue. They will not take risk on a hire. In fact you will see more sales job postings this year than last but the hiring authorities will not settle for mediocrity. For the right candidate, companies will move quickly but if they are on the fence, there is greater likelihood they will not hire. They have identified and weeded through their sales team for the past 12 months to find the best of the best. The top sales people have stayed and continue to find success. In order to ad value to these dedicated teams of high output performers, candidates will have to prove to each organization their worth. Companies now know better than ever what they need in a sales person to be successful.
2. Companies will spend more money to adopt an aggressive marketing strategy.
Companies, regardless of industry or size, will adopt more aggressive, effective and modern approaches to their marketing strategy. They will increase revenue and become more efficient competitors by optimizing and implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy to find success and grow revenue in 2010. Organizations will collaborate and build effective tactical plans to incorporate the power of social media, Google AdWords and SEO to effectively drive traffic and sales through the web.
Companies will adapt and change the way they build their brand. Right now, consumer expectations are at an all time high. They have more power and technology at their fingertips than ever before. They are well educated and value peer opinion and reviews when considering a purchase. A company's brand today is very much based on word of mouth and street credit. Therefore, many companies will invest heavily in a marketing strategy for 2010 that will utilize social media more effectively. It is imperative that companies isolate and target people who need to buy their product and to build a support community around the brand in order to build for the future. Those companies not invested in learning about new marketing techniques will find themselves loosing market share rapidly.
3. Your reputation will spread wider and faster than ever before.
Since the inception of business, effective and accurate communication has been of paramount importance. Be it communication to the employees of the company or communication to the market place of consumers, companies have driven their message to the marketplace in order to solidify an opinion of their company and the reputation that they wish to portray. Nowadays, a company's and individual's reputation is not something they can choose for themselves or try to force on others. In actuality, it is the social evaluation made by others and can be considered a component of identity or brand. Today with the fundamental shift in how we communicate with others, a companies reputation can spread wider and faster than ever before. That being said, reputation precedes us and like it or not, reputation plays a greater part in today's society than some may be comfortable with.
Over the past couple of years we have seen the evolution of social media and the emergence of cloud computing play a massive part of our personal and professional lives. Information has become more abundant and easier to share, making the internet the number one place for consumers to go when they are contemplating a purchase. According a recent report*, 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands on a daily basis. It is also reported that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations**, whereas only 14% trust advertisements***. That being said, positive customer experiences and a strong reputation hold the utmost importance in the future success of your company. After all, 25% of search results for the World's Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content****.
That being said, information is out there about you and your company. Whether you like it or not, potential employers or consumers will be able to find any and all information you may be trying to hide and they will be able to uncover information about your performance and reputation. Therefore, building a positive reputation will take more precedence in 2010.
*Source: Universal McCann's Social Media Research Wave 3
**Source: July 2009 Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey (actually 90% now – updated above but video still shows 78%)
***Source: "Marketing to the Social Web," Larry Weber, Wiley Publishing 2007
****Source: Marketing Vox and Nielsen BuzzMetrics SES Magazine June 8 page 24-25 Chris Aarons, Andru Edwards, Xavier Lanier Turning Blogs and user-Generated Content Into Search Engine Results
4. New Technology will overwhelm all of us.
With the emergence of cloud computing, there is no doubt that technology will play a larger role in our daily lives both professionally and personally. Soon you will only need an internet connection to own the key to the kingdom…and that does not necessarily need to come from a computer. Smart phones and mobile devices have become staples in our every day life and soon enough they will be the mode in which we chose to do business. Currently, people are more connected then ever with their personal and professional networks and often times are updating their communities on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis. We are already starting to see the integration of personal and professional networks, a distinction that was heavily separated in the past. This integration is making one person's outreach larger than ever before. Therefore, doing business will, and has, changed dramatically in now we communicate and essentially sell our products and services. Referral networks are more easily accessible and abundant, changing the way in which companies prospect for new business. It's no longer about cold calling numbers from the Yellow Pages, it's about updating LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Social networks are becoming the new rolodex and with tools such as LinkedIn's API, professionals can bring their network to any company and integrate their information into the companies CRM system with quickness and ease.
Very few professionals understand the full capacity of LinkedIn or Twitter as a means of conducting business and unfortunately for many, they never will. These types of technologies are changing on a daily basis and new applications are being created everyday. An abundance of bloggers and business professionals have taken to online forums to discuss the latest and greatest business techniques by means of social media, however there is not enough time in the day to read all the information, let alone understand it. Therefore, 2010 will bring a wave of new technology that will overwhelm us professionally and personally. We will have to quickly adapt to these new technologies as best as possible and integrate them into our business practices. The technology world is off and running, in 2010 we have to do our best to follow closely behind and manage to stay in the race.
In conclusion, we feel strongly that 2010 will prove to be a fast paced year where companies will have a more concrete purpose and sense of urgency. 2010 will be a year of rebuilding and the perfect opportunity for companies to revolutionize the way they sell and the way they hire. So before you break out your holiday sweater and relax around the fire, make sure your company has a purpose and direction going into 2010. Thousands of companies are already waiting at the starting line of 2010, are you in the race?
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