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What Forrester’s 2020 Predictions Mean for Sales Orgs

What Forrester’s 2020 Predictions Mean for Sales Orgs

Maddy Osman

By Maddy Osman on Jan 30, 2020

Forrester has released its 2020 predictions for consumer trends and it includes important insights from changes the firm expects CMOs to make, to the continued importance of customer experience executives.

Forrester — founded in 1983 — is dedicated to providing decision-makers with a clear vision of the future, allowing you to adjust quickly in the face of what may be a very volatile 2020. The firm’s insights, which can help you define what customer obsession looks like for your business this year, are particularly valuable to those in marketing and sales.

By having a deep understanding of where Forrester sees consumer trends heading, you and your sales team can get ahead of the curve and keep your business going strong.

Focusing on Company Values

One major trend for 2020 that sales teams cannot ignore is the growing importance of company values. According to Forrester, “more than 55% of consumers will consider company values when making a buying decision.”

The trend of consumers caring more and more about a company’s values and commitment to the world beyond customers and profits has been steadily increasing.

In 2017, 52% of buyers indicated that they actively consider company values when making a purchase. Though that’s not far behind the 55% expected in 2020, the numbers demonstrate a steady increase that shows no sign of stopping.

The key for appealing to this segment of the market is authenticity. You cannot appease these consumers with surface-level commitments. Products that deliver well thought out user interface and value quality are consistent with these values of authenticity.

Embrace Ethical Selling

If you don’t know what dark patterns are with regards to sales and marketing, consider yourself lucky. If you do, and you use them, prepare to drop them in 2020 or face the wrath of educated consumers.

Dark patterns are tricks and design systems that manipulate customers against their own interests, often leading to them make purchases they didn’t intend to or signing up for newsletters they don’t want.

Forrester predicts that smart CMOs will start pulling back on using dark patterns and other strategies that drive short-term gains at the expense of customer relationships. Instead, it appears the best approach is to focus on delivering value to customers throughout their lifecycle.

You’ve got to understand the ethics of when it’s necessary to stop a sale. At Cirrus Insight, we’re wholly opposed to the idea of continuing a sale if we know it’s not a good fit.

According to Forrester’s 2020 predictions, “To establish a successful ecosystem, CMOs will thread the needle between employee, experience, customer experience, brand purpose, creative, and technology, imbuing all these crucial areas with customer obsession”.

Readying Yourself for Automation

If your sales organization is not already utilizing automation, 2020 is going to be a harsh and shocking year.

Volatility and slowing growth in 2020 will put pressure on companies to tighten up their belts. One way this will happen is through increased reliance on automation.

It’s expected that more resources will be allocated to automation — including strike teams that function in that middle ground between IT and domain experts. Though there are many areas that automation can impact your business, there are significant trends around it being used with regard to user experiences, marketing, and sales.

If you’re looking at bringing on more automation tools for your sales and marketing team, you’ll want to avoid automation islands. These are situations where the automated systems you’re running don’t communicate with each other.

Forrester states that “80% of enterprises will recognize the threat of automation islands and set up strike teams to combat the issue of automation islands”.

Cirrus Insight is an automation tool that can help you bridge the gap between your Gmail inbox and Salesforce to eliminate double data entry.

But don’t forget the human channel is vital — even in 2020. Though automation is set to displace more than one million jobs in 2020, those positions where workers are required to have empathy, intuition, and mental agility will see an increase of more than 330,000 positions.

This is because customer experience remains essential, and a primary driver of positive customer experiences is the human element.

According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, customer services continue to be the most important driver of quality customer experiences throughout most markets and industries.

This means that though your sales organization may lean more heavily on automation, having the right staff to personally handle clients will remain vital to your business’s bottom line.

The Growing Importance of CX Executives

Along the lines of ensuring your organization stays ahead of the curve in 2020, you will want to double-down on customer experience efforts — which will probably mean hiring more customer experience professionals.

It’s anticipated that customer experience professionals will swim or sink in 2020 as they are asked to quantify their impact on businesses. Unfortunately, those who are unable to do so will likely be let go, putting companies further behind.

But even if your customer experience team is struggling to quantify their importance to your company, you shouldn’t hastily terminate their positions. In doing so, you’ll force the people around them to scramble and focus on short-term growth.

Furthermore, Forrester predicts that such cuts will end up having “detrimental consequences as customers bestow their loyalties elsewhere”.

Final Thoughts: What Forrester’s 2020 Predictions Mean for Sales Organizations

This year is predicted to be a wily — and possibly difficult — one to manage. Though there will be no guarantees, there are several steps you’ll want to take coming into 2020 to stay ahead of the curve and meet customer demands.

The most critical factors for sales and marketing teams with regards to consumer preferences boils down to highlighting company values and reiterating your commitment to personal data protection.

On the technical side, you’ll want to focus on better integration of automatization while not losing sight of the importance of human touches when it comes to user experiences.

Tools like those provided by Cirrus Insight can help you scale up by automating activity logging in Salesforce, while keeping on top of the ever-important human aspect of sales integrations. Give Cirrus Insight a try with a 14-day free trial.

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