We are already a month into 2017 and already the business landscape is starting to look very different. Some reasons are obvious, like a change in the government policy in the United States. Others are more nuanced but still have the ability to make a huge impact on how we sell to the North American market. Here, we’ve identified a few trends in particular that we think will influence the sales process within North America this year:
New trade agreements will take centre stage. Whether it’s new agreements or abandoning old ones, one thing is certain – trade will be on everyone’s mind in 2017. In Canada, the CETA agreement with the European Union plans to reduce tariffs by close to 98%, creating opportunities for both Canadian and European companies to do business in each other’s respective countries. Meanwhile in the United States, it’s still too early to tell if Donald Trump intends to follow through on his campaign promises to dismantle or renegotiate NAFTA and the various other trade deals that his predecessors have signed.
Companies will be mindful of doing business with trusted partners. One of the quieter trends shaping the sales process is focusing less on data and analytics and instead, taking a more customer-centric approach. The customer wants to feel like a name rather than just a number, and trust is going to be a big element in creating that relationship. After a contentious year in North America, having a small network of people whom you know well and have done business with in the past is going to be even more important. Companies need to have ongoing local relationships with their customers.
Businesses will embrace Account Based Marketing in their sales process. Account based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account. For example, instead of trying to determine your buyer’s persona and marketing your product to an infinite number of individuals and hope for a reaction, create a smaller list of companies or accounts and target your sales efforts towards these companies, for better results.
Do you agree with these trends? What other trends do you think might shape the business climate this year? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.