On 27 March 2019 we hosted our 7th Sales Trends Business Breakfast celebrating the 10th edition of the Barrett Annual 12 Sales Trends Report with Trust as our central theme. 

Over 120 people attended the event, mostly business people but we also had the Year 11 International Baccalaureate Student Representatives of the Melbourne Montessori School attend to further their knowledge and education as they study Business Management.  

The attendees heard from our special guest speakers, Suzanne Paynter, Strategy and Policy Advisor for the Future Business Council, and Andrew Smith, Head of Business Customer at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and myself, where we explored the theme of trust in sales, sales trends, and the future of business and sales in a changing climate of economics, technology, politics, societal values and leadership, and how they all affect the heartbeat of trust.

Feedback and Topics

Feedback was extremely positive with many people saying they had been thinking about these issues for some time but had not been able to express their thoughts and feelings in public until now. Themes such as fairness, the rise of income inequality, the importance of healthy human relationships, team work and collaboration, Social Licence to Operate (SLO), tackling modern slavery, the activist consumer, transparency, the new economy and its many opportunities, riding the next boom, the power of practicing gratitude, creating enduring cultures that build positive outcomes for businesses and their clients and communities. 

Here is a summary of the presentations and links to the videos that feature each speaker in full including the Q&A. Enjoy.

The Introduction

We set the scene for the morning and then I opened up about a major setback that happened to me in 2014 and how practicing gratitude on a daily basis for 142 days changed my life forever and helped guide me and my team onto a better path precipitating the creation and execution of our best work to date when it comes to Selling Better. I have since written a book about this experience which is underpinned by science and philosophy and now available.

Watch the intro here.

12 Sales Trends for 2019

Sue Barrett, Founder & CEO of Barrett and Author of 142 Days of Gratitude

We kicked off this section by saying that while there has never been a better time to be alive with access to wonderful resources and opportunities, amazing innovations, advances in technology and better healthcare, that can encourage the potential for our evolution and mutual prosperity, there is a shadow of mistrust that is following us everywhere.

We have more choices than ever before, and yet, we are more wary, cynical and cautious. We are flooded with oceans of information that are polluted with fake news and so we don’t even trust ourselves to make informed decisions, let alone believe what brands and corporations are telling us.

We are caught in a bind because while we need to keep moving forward, we do not know what to believe anymore which means we are questioning and second guessing everything and everyone.

And it’s exhausting.

Despite this negative back drop we looked at the positive ways people, businesses and communities are rebuilding trust, developing better systems and finding ways to work together.

Driven in part by the Activist Consumer, Investor and Voter, as well as new legislation making company directors more accountable for their actions when it comes to the environment and business practices, businesses are being encourage, or in some case forced, to change and adapt.

Trends included sales teams replacing the ‘solo’ individual salesperson; the effective and selective use of digital marketing and social media, tenders and contracts are being scrutinised and human relationships are coming back into play, the rise of social procurement and the transparency of the supply chain, company brands and purpose must become genuine and deliver on their commitments or you will be found out, equipping and trusting salespeople and teams to do their jobs well is key to better outcomes, creating customer centric cultures across the whole value chain where everybody has a line of sight to the customer, setting a clear direction and leading optimism about the future.

You can watch the whole presentation here

The Future of Business – The Next Boom

Suzanne Paynter, Strategy and Policy Advisor for the Future Business Council

Suzanne focused on how business is transitioning to the new economy, recognising that the things that got us where we are today will not help us thrive in the future.

Advocating for sustainable change, Suzanne talked about how we can run viable future focused businesses operating in a decarbonising economy within global economic frameworks that are shifting how we do business really fast.

Industry 4.0, which is a convergence of the physical, the human, and the cyber worlds is giving us data, super computers and analytics on an unimaginable scale. Data that allows to make decisions and throws up questions about what does it mean to be human and do business in this Industry 4.0 world?

The New Economy involves sustainable business practices, innovation and ethical practices. 

The New Economy involves 3 major drivers:

  1. Changing consumer behaviours
  2. Exponential technology advances
  3. Policy changes

Consumer takes and preferences are driving changes and people are demanding ethical investments, ethical banking and ethical business.

Advanced manufacturing is driving better outcomes. For instance:

  • Electric Vehicles: There has been a 56% increase in sales of electric vehicles in the last 2 years with 3 million electric vehicles on the road around the world which will affect long standing systems and ways of doing business.
  • Cellular Agriculture Revolution i.e. clean meat can be produced with 96% less greenhouse gas emissions, 98% less land use and could feed many more people that the way we do it now; the price to lab grown meat has dropped by 3,000% and is nearly on parity with traditional meat production.

Policies are key to driving effective change such as the UN sustainable development goals which are having impacts around the world

However, Australia is lagging behind. Australia’s current national policies settings are out of step with the rest of the world but there are some positive signs with state governments leading the way.  

Suzanne says we need to incentivise growth so that businesses are ready to catch the next boom.

But it comes back to us: Workers, consumers and voters are the locus of change – our choices of employer and governments do affect our future.

You can watch Suzanne’s presentation here.

Trust is the New Economy

Andrew Smith, Head of Business Customer Bendigo Bank

Andrew emphasised that trust and reputation are critical to business success; trust has to be earned and building up a reputation can take decades. The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has been ranked as the 3rd most trusted Australian brand in research conducted by Roy Morgan.

However, after what was heard at the Banking Royal Commission, Australians will need to see evidence of banks doing the right things.

The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has adopted the Shared Value Model. This model is about creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. The bank’s Community Bank Model is an example of Shared Value. While other banks were pulling out of local communities 20 years ago, Bendigo Bank opened over 320 community bank locations Australia wide instead and has been able to give A$205M in community contributions since its inception in 1998.

Andrew describes himself as purposefully optimistic, believing that you cannot operate a successful business in a difficult economic environment unless you cast off the negative emotions of fear, uncertainty and worry. He has found that an attitude of purposeful optimism, cultivating gratitude and resilience can take you a long way.

This has allowed him to see opportunity where others might not, and when he took on the position of Head of Business Customer just over 12 months ago, one of the first things he set about developing was the Client Value Proposition, which Andrew believes are at the heart of any customer and sales strategy. After some hard work, Andrew’s team landed with a few words as their foundation: relationships, trust and community.

Recently, at the DBM Consultants’ Australian Financial Awards for 2019, Andrew collected 5 of the 6 Business Awards on behalf of the bank. When asked how they had achieved that, Andrew replied: we focus on relationships, we do what we say we are going to do, and act fairly.

You can watch Andrew’s presentation here.

Q&A

If you want to explore these topics further and hear what questions our guests raised and the various responses given watch the Q&A session here.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.