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The year that went by, witnessed multiple market shifts in the prevailing technology trends. Be it in the realm of artificial intelligence, cloud, virtual reality, mobility etc., the year saw a great deal of evolution as organisations vied with one-another in the race to remain competitive and operational.

 

With 2018 just around the corner, let’s look at the relevant technology trends which have the potential to bring some major transformation in the world of sales in the coming year.

 

The Primary Game Changers

 

* AI proliferation

* Digital transformation

* Speech recognition

* Online commerce

 

A peek into what can be expected with each of these deepening their roots in the sales processes:

 

AI Proliferation Trends in 2018

 

*  Entry level iterative functions giving way to ML led algorithms

 

The spade work for building machine learning rules are being set up by every app/solution/platform builder. By the end of 2018 there will be more leverage on AI in sales platforms than not. Already, iterative sales processes in customer care and tech support are leveraging more AI than human intervention. 2018 will see a rapid replacement of human jobs in these areas.

 

* Rise of intelligent platforms

 

Every sales enablement platform like CRM, SFA tools etc. will move towards AI for increasing the analytics/intelligence leverage within these platforms. This will significantly increase productivity and reduce need for manual training intervention. For example, an Intelligent CRM platform will reduce the need for an offline, on-the-job training for a sales person or an intelligent SFA platform will increase productivity by pre-empting next steps in a sales motion.

 

*  IoT taking consumer experience to the next level

 

Internet of things has already started improving online tech support experience by leveraging AI. Going forward, it will further improve customer experience in tech support or retail consumer experience by tracking and pre-empting consumer behavior etc. In fact, AI will leverage devices more efficiently to improve direct consumer experience before the end of the year.

 

Digital Transformation Trends in 2018

 

* Real-time info access

 

Cloud leverage will further increase quicker sales output by providing actionable information at the right time to the sales person. This will improve the speed of information access while lessening the reaction time as well. Apps like Uber, AirBnB, Bookmyshow etc. are already leading the way here.

 

* The power of social media

 

Social media leverage will help bridge the gap between marketing and sales by reducing the time taken to profile consumers/target customers and improving campaign effectiveness.

 

* Digital Marketing platforms

 

Digital Marketing platforms will become more precise by leveraging AI enabled analytics in identifying high propensity prospects and thereby exponentially increase sales productivity.

 

* AR/ VR to take the lead

 

Augmented / Virtual Reality will be leveraged more in areas where visual impact is created using objects or people. For example, training in industries like Aviation (or other industries manufacturing heavy duty devices) will start leveraging augmented reality to replace physical presence in a single location of both attendee, as well as the instructor, by leveraging AR/VR devices like MS HoloLens etc.

 

Speech Recognition

 

* Speech recognition enabling faster sales reporting adoption

 

Digital transformation and AI proliferation will leverage the progress made in speech recognition to improve the deployment of sales tools by replacing input mechanism through speech.

 

* Speech inputs driving seamless sales process

 

The overall experience of a sales platform usage can be enhanced exponentially by driving data input through voice. The telecom industry is already moving fast in this direction leveraging this capability in smart phones. The need to input data is going down by the day. The same can be leveraged by the sales industry and thus, reduce the ongoing struggle between deployment and effective usage.

 

Online Commerce

 

* Technologies like bitcoin will alter the industry dynamics

 

Advent of technologies like bitcoin will only further the e-commerce progression. 2018 will see a fast transformation in the consumer/customer buying behavior on the internet, and the subsequent change will increase the market penetration potential - at half or less than half the cost.

 

* No breach in data security

 

2018 will see a lot of progress in the way e-commerce is executed with higher security measures implemented as compliance measures become stricter and stronger.

 

While all these trends will speed-up the industry evolution in the coming year, it’s critical for organisations to adapt early to these changing dynamics. After all, change is the only constant and the one who adapts, thrives while for the rest, survival becomes a chief concern. With these looming trends, the sales world is indeed ushering into an era of remarkable transformation.

 

Snehashish Bhattacharjee
Global CEO & Co-Founder, Denave

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