Technology runs our lives these days. We become so dependent on the technology around us, ranging from smartphones and tablets to laptops and computers, that we cannot seem to function without it. Not long ago, customers had to drive to different stores to compare prices and research a product or service. Researching a company required one to go to the library to compile information.
Search engines changed the way we think, search, and analyze data. Finding information got easier, and data control power shifted from the hands of companies and salespeople to the end-user with each technological upgrade, complexity, and ambiguity increase.
We went from a slow dial-up internet connection (AOL message, you got mail) to faster internet connections, from Rolodexes with customers’ names to Salesforce CRM, from VHS tapes to digital downloads, from hard storage capability to cloud-based services like Dropbox and Google Drive, from a physical workplace to a virtual workplace.
We can only speculate that the current technology will continue to evolve at a much faster pace than before; we are continually seeing emerging technologies and new smart trends.
The exponential evolution of technology is blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds.
The internet of things (IoT) is turning home appliances, electronics, and cars into smart technologies that can communicate with us and remind us of tasks and events. Smart cities are already here, intelligent consumers are ready, but businesses need to get smarter fast to survive and thrive toward a better future.
Sales Organization Evolution
The new sales organizations will need to adapt to an ever-evolving technological ecosystem that runs most companies’ logistics. Moor’s law is accelerating the fundamentals of technology growth ( Moor’s law states that processor speeds or overall processing power for computers will double every two years— it’s currently occurring every 30 months).
In most industries, the development cycle for products and services grows shorter by the day. Yesterday, leading sales organizations in film photography like Kodak were part of the past.
The exponential growth of core technologies, the virtualizing of one industry after another, and the automatization by software have created a new fast-changing world, where historically insulated, stable sectors are at risk of financial insolvency today.
New, fast-evolving software is leading industries of all sorts. Cloud computing and the app store ecosystems are transforming industries, and consumer behaviors are getting less predictable and much more challenging.
Speed vs Perfection
Products are launched earlier, often in their beta stages of gathering vital data and adding changes and modifications based on market feedback. Changes and product updates are done quickly, usually followed by the release of a product version 2. 0. Product development cycles moved from years to months and weeks.
The market becomes a testing ground, and products early adopters play a considerable part in helping the company improve its product testing via quick feedback and insight on how to improve functionality. Competitors are studying and learning from first-in-market errors and are sharing their development and product improvement with trusted development networks.
The shelf life of a newly designed product is shrinking dramatically as well. Thanks to applied reverse-engineering, the moment a product hits the market, several similar products follow within weeks or months to capitalize on the second wave of buyers that are price-conscious.
While the sales team is selling the latest version of a product, there are often at least two newer versions that are at different stages of realization being tested for potential quick release.
Industries that have dominated the space in the past, due to the high barrier of entry, are being overtaken by new entrants with smart software solutions and new ideas. We have seen significant industries in computing, 3D printing, biotech, and fine-tech being transformed by new smaller emerging players that were historically viewed as disruptors doomed to fail.
The evolution of the internet and technology has eliminated huge barriers of entry, narrowed the difference gap, and allowed global entry from unexpected places to compete with local businesses.
The line between industries specialization is blurred, long-standing boundaries that define a specific business or industry are dissolving, allowing the creation of new ecosystems. One example is how Amazon moved from selling books to selling everything under the sun; by acquiring Wholefood corporation, it becomes a giant retailer. You may remember in 2011, IBM Watson’s computer system won Jeopardy contests, but it is used now to detect and diagnose medical conditions and to draft patient-care-plans. IBM Watson is also being used to study market trends, predict customer needs, and even generate leads.
Relatively, new market entrants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon are becoming today’s giants sweeping everyone in their path and creating “mega winners.” However, even these giants are being affected by the same technological phenomenon that created them. Many will be replaced by newer emerging players that do not exist today. Business competitiveness is shifting from its conventional competitive methods to the predictive assessment of future challenges and opportunities to survive.
The internet has played a significant role in facilitating the creation of virtual businesses that generate referrals and sell products and services without the need for a sales force.
Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist are a few examples of these companies. Today an app or a website with good content can generate traffic and sales.
The idea of scale selling any products without a field sales force or telesales was inconceivable twenty years ago. The print advertising industry has been devastated, and many newspapers went out of business because they couldn’t compete with free online classified ads as opposed to paid newspaper ads.
Large companies like Apple have outstanding digital marketing campaigns, a huge network of enthusiasts, bloggers, and social influencers that promote the company products for free across multiple digital landscapes.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are changing marketing approaches and consumer behaviors. Vast swaths of market shares are won and lost because of perceived values and brand influence. The future of sales and marketing is changing fast, and the cost to reach and influence customers is dropping rapidly. This is happening across industries and across time zones.
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