Top sales training programs have all had to evolve as technology and a global economy have changed the sales game forever. I predict that we haven’t seen anything yet, and that dramatic changes are yet to come.
Here are some of my top bets for things which will have a great impact in the next 10 years.
Virtual tours/augmented reality
One exciting development top sales training programs will surely incorporate is the use of virtual reality platforms to give product demonstrations and the like. Imagine having a prospect in China tour your production facility in real time from 6,000 miles away through the use of goggles.
A whole slew of best practices will be developed around VR as a sales tool. There are use cases we haven’t even dreamed of yet which will be developed, and top sales training programs will be all over this tech.
Artificial intelligence & Machine Learning
The dawn of AI/machine learning as relates to Sales and Marketing is NOW. You are living in the very beginning stages, with more firms developing AI tools than ever before. Top sales training programs will need to keep up for what is sure to be a whirlwind decade!
What are the possibilities of AI for sales? Well, many of the initial lead generation functions, such as chatting on websites, will be performed by AI-powered chatbots with a deep understanding of the prospect due to IP and device tracking, which will allow for identification of the visitor and their prior behavior with you and other brands. Simple transactions might even be closed by these chatbots, who will collect payment and everything.
Also, AI will provide salespeople data on how best to handle a prospect based on millions of data points, much more than the typical salesperson has access to today. Anything from email composition to closing tactics will be aided by AI.
Top sales training programs of the future will cater towards mobile learning, either through video platforms such as Skype and GoTo Meeting, or through the development of proprietary apps for tablets and smartphones.
I don’t believe mobile learning will ever replace face-to-face learning for many salespeople however. Simply put, they like to socialize and get away from their offices, so training workshops held in hotels or other facilities will remain popular, with pre-conference study and post-conference reinforcement modules being the key addition for mobile users.
More marketing skills
The lines between marketing and sales continue to blur, and salespeople will be able to pick up a lot more marketing functions than ever before thanks to technology, including the ones mentioned above. Most will accept these extra duties and skills willingly, as they will source and own the customer from cradle to grave in an active manner, rather than passively wait for an MQL from marketing.
Might dedicated marketing departments go by the wayside, just as IT departments have thanks to the cloud? I think this is possible. At the very least, they will become much more revenue-driven, rather than simply lead-driven, and might simply merge with sales. Top sales training programs should brace themselves to teach a wave of former marketers how to close sales, should I be right.
What do you think, am I off-base with my predictions? Are there any other developments you think will affect sales training in the next decade?