In the business world, you’re only as good as the technology you use. Tech tools and their rapid evolution have had an increasing impact on the way modern professionals do business, and that growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
From automation and machine learning to augmented reality, 2018 has some exciting technological implications, especially in terms of business development. Seven forward-thinking Forbes Business Development Council members shared their thoughts on the software and technology trends that will change their industry in the coming year.
1. Traceability And Safety Software
In our industry, food safety is of the utmost concern. The demand from distribution networks continues to increase for traceability and food safety systems. While inspections and certifications are required, having software that can instantly track any ingredient within a product ensures an extra layer of safety for consumers. In the near future, this will be a requirement, not a request. – Emily Hauptvogel, H&H Products Company
2. Customer Scheduling
Customer experience is everything. Giving the customer options for how they interact with you isn’t new, but letting them pick when they interact with you is. I foresee more tools that allow customers to pick the date, time, mode and even topics they wish to discuss on sales calls. Customer time is valuable, and giving them the ability to control it, while still engaging in sales activities will change how we sell. – Christopher Kingman, TransUnion
3. Big (Growing) Data And Machine Learning
The accumulation and accessibility of data – from social media content to purchasing history – will drive the development of machine learning in business development software. Biz dev professionals will leverage analyses generated by artificial intelligence to make better-informed strategic decisions. – Elissa Livingston, CloudCheckr
4. The Democratization Of The CRM System
For many companies, Salesforce changed the face of biz dev through its revolutionary product and by spurring countless competitive offerings. However, according to Buyer Zone, roughly half of businesses with 10 employees or less still do not use a CRM. That number will change in the new year, as existing providers will continue to simplify their offerings and even more solutions will be introduced into the marketplace. – Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs
5. A Return To Direct, In-Person Relationships Due to Automation
When we think of „changing” we immediately think innovation or progression. I believe the rise and saturation of automation tools that can cause the inability to gain tacit knowledge has numbed consumers to outreach. As a result, we’ve already seen a shift in the number of people moving back to direct and in-person relationships. – Nico Marroquin, Logikcull
6. The Merging Of Online And Offline With Augmented Reality
Thanks to the commonality of the ARKit software in iOS phones and the continuing ubiquity of augmented reality tools, customers will soon be able to see how a product will fit in their home. This will change in-store sales, as well as business development opportunities that require someone to visualize a particular project. – Joey Holt, Amerisleep
7. Information Augmentation
Successful deals rely on availability and accuracy of information. This was easier said than done before the availability of bundled machine learning tools in various CRM platforms. The ability to assimilate, correlate and distribute enriched data will give business development professionals an edge over their counterparts who are ignoring this growing trend. – Nitin Gupta, Sticky, Inc.