Sales has been gradually morphing over the past few decades. Technology has really changed sales and continues to change it today. Although I don't think there will be any drastic changes in sales in 2014, I think we will see 4 trends continue.
1) Product and sales information must be public
The old sales world was about sharing information in exchange for a next step. Holding this information captive allowed reps to hold more of the power. This information is now all online. For most products, including many Enterprise products, you can no longer afford to hide lots of your information from the prospects who are looking to make most of the decision on their own. The sharing of company information is getting even more extreme with some new companies posting all their information publicly including every single customer that starts to use their product or their exact margins.
2) The sales role is more than ever about educating
When a prospect reaches out to you, they have already have over 70% of the information they need to make their decision. Your role is to efficiently give them the last pieces of information while also making sure they have thought through everything so they can feel confident they are making the right decision. This often means it is more important to educate them on the things they maybe are not thinking about when making a decision based on your experience working with lots of companies.
3) Prospects want to communicate through all channels
Today's consumers are used to instant gratification. They want quick transactional conversations rather than super long meetings. They also expect you to be available in the communication channel that works best for them. If your prospects want to contact you via chat, you better have chat support. If they want to communicate via SMS, you better be able to support that. Your ability to respond quickly and accurately in whatever channel your prospect wants to use is critical for building up trust.
4) Activities still matter
People still get busy and important projects get de-prioritized. You probably lose more deals to a company deciding not to do anything than to competitors. This is where activities can help. The more you get information back to the prospect quickly and follow-up with them on next steps the more likely that their project will continue to have momentum and move toward the finish line. To do this well, you need to integrate email and Salesforce so you can understand how many activities you need per deal.