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Every year, there are new trends to examine, new ideas to entertain, and fresh perspectives that can affect your business. Some of these trends may be small blips – a speed bump to weather, but nothing more. Some may be slowly changing the entire infrastructure of your industry. Regardless of these trends, it’s always important to keep your eyes, ears, and mind open to ensure you’re guiding your business through them the best way you can. It is crucial to your future success to consider where what factors exist that may prevent you from achieving your long term goals. If you are able to identify these issues, it is much easier to overcome and use them to your advantage. To aid in your planning, consider these three trends that are sure to impact you and your company.
Age of Your Workforce
Unless you are ignoring every news source available, you have heard of the shift in average age of the workforce. This is a very important trend, because you are only as good as your workforce. Building a team and motivating them towards your goals is, without a doubt, the most important role of management. The younger generation will not always respond the same way that other generations have. For this reason, you should be adapting new policies and looking at new ways to improve workflow. The standard work day is something of the past for many companies, as they understand that millennials desire more flexibility than their predecessors. But scrapping the traditional work week and loosening up some of those traditional rules isn’t always a bad thing. Creating a more flexible work environment means an increased connectivity and mobility that allows your workforce to be effective from just about anywhere at any time. Take time to understand how the demographic of your team is changing and how you are able to best leverage them and their skills.
Sales & Marketing Blurred
Traditionally, sales and marketing were very different functions that operated independently. Marketing attracted customers, and sales closed the deal. Much of this system relied on marketing being able to be successful with disruptive marketing practices, followed by sales closing by withholding just as much information as they provided. However, consumers are growing numb to disruptive marketing and information can easily be obtained via the internet. This means that the old way of doing things often has minimal impact.
For this reason, content/outbound marketing has become very popular and effective. Along with this is the blurring of sales and marketing. The marketing team must be able to think of the sales funnel and how the customer is being led through the sales process. In the same way, sales reps need to consider how they can continually educate, build trust and delight their customers. There is no longer a clear line between sales and marketing; both teams must see the bigger picture and function as one cohesive team.
The Power of the Cloud and Data
It is clear that the ability to store/access all data via the internet is driving considerable change. This should alter how you operate your company and the services you provide to your customers. Data should be moved or backed up using a cloud-based service – this will provide greater protection over your data, and will also provide greater accessibility for employees working remotely or traveling. Your entire workforce will have more access and ability to impact change regardless of where they work. All of your systems and resources should be as easily accessible from across the country as it is from your headquarters. Your customers will also benefit from your ability to offer them more cloud-based solutions. Customers are looking for companies that will partner with them in this transition. If you are able to do this, then you will become more trusted and their partner of choice.
In life and in business, you are falling behind if you are not moving forward. Standing still is not an option, and it’s important to recognize the factors changing in today’s work space. Your company, employees and customers will all benefit from your ability to lead them forward.