May signaled some major shifts for several industries when it comes to marketing and sales trends. We are beginning to see how the demand for organic food is starting to shape the CPG space, while the legality of marijuana in several states has changed key industries.
Here are five trends we saw in May:
Artificial Intelligence Replacing Sales Personnel
It’s estimated that by 2020 at least 1 million people working in sales will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). This trend might seem scary if you work in sales, but there are actually some benefits to it. The increase in AI implementation would improve career opportunities for sales professionals, specifically those in inside sales, rather than causing unemployment. As AI becomes more broadly implemented within the industry, sales roles will be created that some will consider more intriguing and impactful than the roles previously available. Aside from career opportunities, data-driven AI technology will also enhance the sales process for reps, making them close deals much more efficiently.
Marijuana’s Growth in the CPG Space
As of May 2017, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the selling, production, and distribution of recreational marijuana and THC products. At the end of 2016, 727 companies that sold, created, or distributed marijuana products, received $1.2B in total investment. This has led to a boom in the industry and market growth within the CPG space. One of the biggest areas of growth has been THC-infused candies and beverage drinks where the scale of production continues to increase. With this growth, market research is now taking precedent in this space, to help brands understand how they can further expand their footprint with more informed decisions.
Growth in Sales and Marketing Alignment
With at least 44% of inside sales pipelines coming from marketing, the gap between the two is starting to narrow across many organizations in a wide variety of industries. Recent studies show that businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects experience at least a 451% increase in qualified leads. It has also been found that marketing automation tools help sales acceleration and convert high quality leads. This has led sales reps to spend less time prospecting, cold calling, and entering data.
The Growth of Organics
A broad change in consumers purchasing behavior has led to a significant decline in sales for processed and canned products, but a significant growth in organically grown foods. One of the companies that was greatly affected by this in the past month has been Campbell’s Soup, with shares falling over 5% in value and sales being down 1%, even as it expands its product line to offer healthier options. What has led to this type of decline? Approximately 58% of consumers now prefer organically grown food to conventionally grown farmed alternatives. Some of the main reasons that consumers prefer organic food is due to the concerns regarding their health, the environment, and treatment of livestock.
Digitization in the Manufacturing Industry
Many manufacturing companies are starting to invest in digital transformation on a more massive scale as they seek to implement digital connectedness between machines, employees, and consumers. This is having a big impact in matching the behavior of consumers when it comes to sales, as customization continues to be integral. This in return is creating more flexibility for manufacturing businesses and improving product customization. One key area of growth for manufacturing brands has been utilizing customized selling experiences in order to better deliver their story, rather than just using a standard website for e-commerce.
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