Knowledge is measuring that a desert path is 12.4 miles long.
Wisdom is packing enough water for the hike.
Insight is building a lemonade stand at mile 6.
~ Christopher Reiss

What a great way to break down the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight as we head into a new year. Many sales leaders are still working on getting their 2020 sales strategy in place. They are researching new sales trends and sales technologies to figure out what changes they need to make to increase sales next year.

Modern sales organizations need to embrace change if they want to stay competitive. However, embracing change doesn’t just mean knowing what needs to change but applying those changes to your strategy. So, take a step back as you prepare for 2020 and consider if your strategy has enough water for the hike you plan to take.

Sales Trend Predictions for 2020 from Top Sales Experts

We’ve sought out some of the top sales experts to get their sales predictions for 2020. Take some time to soak in their predictions and then focus on how you can use that knowledge to reconfigure your sales process for the upcoming year.

Let’s find out what the top sales experts predict for 2020.

Social Selling

What can we expect to see regarding social selling trends in 2020?

Dan Disney
Dan Disney, The Daily Sales

2020, in my opinion, will be one of the biggest years yet for Social Selling. Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more companies large and small make social a big part of their sales strategy, and I believe in 2020, we will start to see it become common practice across the world. We’ll see a huge rise in video content being created by sales reps and shared on networks like LinkedIn. We’ll also see a huge rise in video and audio messages being sent alongside written messages as part of the sales cadence.

I’m also very confident that 2020 will see the sales industry truly adapt a multi-touch approach to selling. Sales reps will become masters at using all of the tools available to them, the phone, email, social media, video, text, referral, post, networking etc. Sales leaders will appreciate that each method is different, and so they will train their teams to use each one properly.

We will also see way more sales reps and sales leaders establish and grow credible personal brands in their respective industries. They’ll do this by sharing and engaging with content regularly and consistently, which is of value to their network. This, again, will become a core part of the standard sales process and strategy.

Finally, on a less serious note, I have no doubt that 2020 will also bring plenty of “Cold calling is DEAD” & ” Social selling is DEAD” posts and debates! There will be plenty of people bashing cold calling and plenty of people bashing social selling. Anyone who chooses between them will always fail to achieve anywhere near as much as the person who uses both of them together.

Be smart in 2020, use all of the tools available to you. 😊

Cold Calling

What can we expect to see regarding cold calling trends in 2020?

Deb Calvert
Deb Calvert, People First Productivity Solutions / The Sales Experts Channel

In late 2019, I noticed a groundswell of renewed interest in cold calling. “Cold calling” is currently the most popular sales search term on the platform provider for The Sales Experts Channel. It’s as if everyone simultaneously realized that content marketing and waiting around for inbound leads isn’t getting the job done.

Sellers are desperately seeking more sophisticated approaches and more effective techniques for outreach. They know the standard tactics they’re using are amateurish, awkward, inadequate, and impotent. Nevertheless, they continue to spam their LinkedIn connections, mass email generic pablum, and “smile and dial” endlessly because they don’t know any viable alternatives.  

Hackneyed drumbeats like “be persistent” and “just make more calls” aren’t useful either. In fact, more of the same bad techniques are damaging to a company’s brand and image. Working sellers into a lather and sending them out to doggedly pursue prospects isn’t the answer.

What sellers really need are solid alternatives. They need:

  • training on how to solicit quality referrals
  • to learn how to gather useful intel about their prospects so they can meaningfully engage before they try to sell
  • skill development for using AI and software that accelerates trust-building and provides positive customer experiences
  • good tools and workflows that reinforce training, best practices, and skill development
  • consistent, quality coaching (not just managing and mentoring!) to continually improve

The technology and process answers aren’t “magic bullets” that stand alone and produce results. They should be part of a solution that starts with adequately training and equipping sellers for success. In 2020, I predict that more companies will (finally!) provide training and coaching designed to build new business development skills.  Sales managers and directors will balance the software training and emphasis on activity metrics with the support that sellers really need to succeed.

Sales Strategy

What can we expect to see regarding sales strategy trends in 2020?

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter

We are at the front-end race to be seen as more personal in a world that is driven by AI. AI stands for “artificial intelligence,” but in my book, it stands for “artificial interference.” The explosion of applications using or enhanced by AI allows sales to be more efficient. It also creates more noise. As the competition for attention increases, so does the likelihood of our customers turning off and tuning out the noise. Personal relationships are what customers and salespeople crave.

In 2020 and beyond, there is a greater need for sales to be personal. As the world gets noisier, we can be a solution. We do not need AI to determine what to say. We need true personal connections between two people having an unfiltered conversation. One peek into the advertising world tells us what our customers truly desire- authenticity. The backlash from the use of paid spokespeople shows us the facade doesn’t work. Customers smell when something is fake.

Let’s give customers real solutions to their real problems. The salesperson who can demonstrate authentic integrity is the salesperson who will create real value. Is this a trend that will only occur in 2020? No. This is a long-term trend we can expect. As long as AI continues to grow, so will the need for authenticity.

Sales Motivation

What will motivate salespeople in 2020?

Meridith Elliott Powell
Meridith Elliott Powell,

Money, incentives, and a little friendly competition that’s how you motivate a sales professional, right? Well, not so fast. If you really want to inspire your sales team and motivate them to sell at a whole new level, then you have to understand the simple fact about motivation.

It’s not up to you. Whether someone is motivated or not is their decision, not yours. Your job is to create an environment that encourages and supports your sales team to be motivated. 

3 Strategies To Motivate Your Sales Team

  1. Give Them A Reason Why – people, especially sales professionals, want to be part of something bigger; they want to do work that matters; in other words, they want purpose. You need to keep them focused on their goals and remind them of the impact they make. You need to give them a reason why.
  2. Give Them Skin In The Game- people, especially sales professionals, want ownership and skin in the game. They want to help you grow your organization and share their ideas for success. You need to give them an opportunity to share their voice and listen to their ideas.
  3. Give Them Support – people, especially sales professionals, want you to invest in them. They want to learn new skills, be exposed to new ideas and know they have a future. You need to invest in them.

Motivating anyone, especially salespeople, is about creating an environment where they feel inspired, and where they can tap into their intrinsic motivation. Before you enhance your incentive plans or add a new bonus structure, stop and ask yourself have you built the foundation first, and followed these strategies guaranteed to motivate your sales team.

Sales Teams and Sales Leaders

What must change for sales teams and sales leaders in 2020?

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino, Iannarino – The Sales Blog

We love to talk about what’s going to be important in the coming year, even though nothing much changes during a single trip around the Sun. The fundamentals and principles that have been true for centuries are still true, and the desire to avoid them continues unabated. We learn slowly if we ever learn at all.

There are larger tectonic shifts mercilessly decimating sales organizations and their results–and will continue to do so until we start recognizing what has actually changed in sales.

If you want to look at the largest threat to sales organizations and salespeople, look no further than leadership and accountability, something in short supply and mostly left unaddressed. More and more, you see accountability less and less. Leadership has degraded over time, and sales leaders and managers complain their salespeople won’t prospect, won’t use their CRM, won’t work on improving their skills and abilities, and miss their goals—as if the blame lies with their salespeople.

Second only to leadership and accountability as the root causes of poor results is the inability of salespeople to create value for their clients, mostly due to a lack of business acumen and an understanding of how to have real, impactful, and sometimes difficult conversations about change. Instead of dealing with the challenge of building value creators, we spent the last decade on poor answers like social selling and digital transformation, doing nothing about the single most important factor in creating and winning opportunities: the interaction between the salesperson and their dream client.

2020 is going to be what you make it. If you want better sales results, deal with the root causes, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted with shiny objects and novelties.


What can we expect from LinkedIn in 2020, and how can sales reps maximize the features they offer?

Viveka Von Rosen
Viveka Von Rosen, Vengreso

LinkedIn is continuing to add new features, both on free LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, making it easier to find, connect and engage with prospects. With a focus on creating more quality conversations, LinkedIn has added things like voicemail to its Mobile App, brought back Events, and introduced LinkedIn Live.  So for 2020, I foresee LinkedIn continuing to add quality features. 

The onus is on salespeople to make the most of these new features. What’s old is new again, as LinkedIn focuses on HUMAN relationships and not automated spam. In 2020, salespeople should work on warming up relationships on LinkedIn by sharing video, voicemail, private messages including helpful resources, and then going “old school” by picking up the phone or meeting their prospects F2F IRL (face-to-face in real life) or via tools like Zoom.

With all the technological wonders that 2020 will undoubtedly reveal, the reality for salespeople is that the better you are at human relationships, the more likely you will be to meet and exceed quota. And using tools like VanillaSoft and Linkedin to find those leads, warm them up and create a cadence that leads to conversations will make having those quality conversations easier.

Sales Engagement

What will change in the Sales Engagement market and how salespeople will engage with prospects in 2020?

Scott Amerson
Scott Amerson, VanillaSoft

What will change in the Sales Engagement market in 2020?

There is a lot of confusion in the market around “enablement” and “engagement,” and, unfortunately, I don’t see that changing significantly in 2020. The engagement vendors will not overtake “enablement” momentum, and we will have to continue educating prospects that an “engagement” solution isn’t enablement or a phone dialer. It is a challenge that all engagement vendors face, and we collectively need to get better at defining and explaining the differences, and where we fit into the sales tech stack.

And regarding the technology sales stack, it is getting so large that showing real value—a strong return on investment—is going to be more important. With sales management being asked to invest more of their finite budget into technology, they are going to really need to know which are contributing to the bottom line and which are “luxuries.” So, for the engagement vendors like VanillaSoft, I believe they are going to have to be clear on messaging where they fit and demonstrate their importance and value within the sales stack.

What do you see changing in how salespeople engage with prospects?

There has been a tremendous push to add personalization features within outreach automation tools. I believe that in 2020, we are going to see the positive responses from these efforts level-off if not begin to fail. I believe this because we are already starting to see prospects becoming fed-up with so-called “personalized emails” written by A.I. using easily accessible public information found on LinkedIn. Sure the emails are usually better written, but with the accelerated increase in the use of bots and automation across the top of the sales funnel, I think we are beginning to see a kind of backlash from prospects who are starting to discount these outreach efforts, either because they are impersonal, or because they are so personal that is seems like a machine “Big Brother” is spying on them. Ironically, a poorly written email might soon get a better response as the prospect might recognize it was written by a human.

In addition, the lack of human interaction and conversation tends to fuel a rush to demo before the prospect has been properly qualified. It is in the conversations that you can really drill down and find out what your prospect’s pains really are, and if you can help address them.

  • Shallow personalization (stuff easily gleaned off of a LinkedIn profile) and personalized emails written by “AI” will be seen as BS
  • This is the year that people will tire of it or at least become jaded
    • Where a bad email might almost be good because the recipient might at least believe it came from a person
  • Tech is not a discussion
  • Creating a kind of rush to a demo without knowing if you truly solve the prospect’s pains

Turn That Knowledge into Action

That’s the knowledge, wisdom, and insights that our panel of experts had to share. What will you do with this knowledge? How will you apply the wisdom, and what new insights can you gain from what these top sales experts shared? Be intentional with your approach, and you will see your sales improve.

Watch Now! -------------------- To Research or Not To Research… Is There Any Question?