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Predictions For 2017!

by David Brock on December 31st, 2017

Foreword:  Yes, you read the title right.  I originally wrote this on December 30, 2016.  I never published it.  Somehow it seemed a little futile.

As I started thinking about this topic for 2018, I looked at this article.  As I had guessed one year ago, not much has changed.

The state of sales and marketing hasn’t changed.  The topics that were “hot” a year ago, or more, are the same topics we are struggling with now, and will be the topics we will struggle with in the coming years.


Blog post for December 31, 2016:

It’s that time of year where blogs fill with predictions for sales and marketing for 2017.  Others focus on tips for success in 2017.

Often, I’m asked for my views, depending on how pre-occupied I am, depending on my mood, my responses fall into a few categories:

  1. I ignore them.  (That’s the curmudgeonly, “Bah Humbug” response.)
  2. I reply with the same responses I sent in 2015, 2014, 2013…., reminding the writer that my responses haven’t changed.
  3. I reply with the same responses I sent in previous years–but it’s to someone who’s never asked before.  Next year, they will realize I’m recycling the same list.

We hear the same well-intended predictions/maxim’s every year.  They may be brushed up and updated slightly, for example, technology predictions will shift from analytics to AI.  We may have decided to use some new buzzwords to update concepts that have been around for decades, this year ABM/ABE will be hot in predictions and tips, but it’s the same fundamental concepts that were promoted when I first started selling.

The issue is, these predictions and advice don’t change–and won’t change until we change!

That’s the funny thing about this stuff.  Until we start changing the way we work, how we engage customers, what we do, the same issues persist from year to year.  Consequently, the same predictions and the same tips will constantly be recycled.

We will continue to see customers looking for alternatives to seeing sales people, until we start creating value in every interaction.

We will continue to see response rates from every channel, social and traditional, plummet until we start providing impactful and relevant content/programs.

We will continue to see performance problems in our organizations, until we start taking people and talent seriously–coaching and developing them, providing strategies, systems, processes, and tools that really help them connect more effectively with their people (actually, looking at most marketing and sales stacks, we already have the tools, we just don’t use them.)

Einstein is credited with saying something like, “Lunacy is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”  We repeat it in various forms, chuckle, yet persist with the same things we’ve always done.

Until we change how we engage customers–executing consistently on the theme of creating value in every interaction (from sales and marketing), until we change how we lead and develop our people, we will continue to face the same issues and produce similar results.

So rather than giving predictions or tips for success in 2017, perhaps the best thing is to challenge each of you (and myself).

  1. What 1 thing are you going to do radically differently in 2017 which will improve your abilities to engage and create value for your customers?  How will you measure your success in doing this?  What monthly/quarterly goals are you putting in place to track your progress on the commitment?
  2. What 1 areas of personal improvement/learning are you committing to for 2017?  How will you measure success?
  3. What 1 new thing will you do to contribute to your community or to make the world a better place in 2017?  How do we measure the outcome?

Yeah, I know you will say, “Dave, those look a lot like New Year’s resolutions, we always break those.”

And that’s the simple truth about every change or improvement initiative.  If we don’t commit to doing the work, we will never achieve the results.

The choice is always with each of us.  The difference between top performers and everyone else is they simply commit to changing and doing the work.

To be honest, for myself, I don’t have the answers to these questions yet.  I have some things I’m thinking about.  There are shifts in how I want to invest my time, things I want to do with clients, who I want to invest time in.  I’m close to figuring those out, but these will transform our business.  Quite frankly, we’ve gotten stuck in a rut.  While our clients tell us we do outstanding work, there are new things we can do, that will have a far greater impact on the results we help our clients achieve.  Part of this will involve some specific collaborations and IP sharing with leaders in other disciplines–helping us innovate what we do with our clients.  But I need to crisp these up and firm up the goals for each of these.  I’ll let you know about each of these so you can help hold me accountable.

On the personal improvement/learning side, I’ve slipped badly on some of the routines important to me–my meditation and exercise have slipped, I need to get my act back together on this.  In the past year, I’ve become obsessed with the issues of complexity–organizational and personal.  I want to do some deep, collaborative dives these issues to learn more about their impact on performance and happiness.  If I am to make a single prediction, complexity is the single biggest organizational and personal effectiveness issue facing each of us.  Until we put understanding the impact and radically simplifying how we work, we will continue to see devastating impacts in organizational and personal performance.

I worry, one year from now, what will I be writing on this day?


Afterword:  Back to December 30, 2017.  Nothing seems to have changed in the past year.  However, I’ve become more interested in the concept of micro-improvements.  Little improvements made every day.  I’ve written a couple of articles about this in the past couple of weeks:   Plateauing and The Importance Of Small Changes In Improving Performance.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been using myself as the guinea pig for looking at this micro-improvements.  While it’s way to early to see the cumulative impact, I’m seeing enough positive.

Best wishes for 2018!  I’ll meet you here, one year from now, hopefully, we’ll find at least one new thing to talk about.


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