The Crystal Ball: Trends and Predictions for the Year Ahead

2017 Top Business Trends that Can Drive Success for You

Let’s take out our crystal ball and delve deep into its center for 2017 top business trends that you can leverage to drive your business success. I always keep an eye out for different perspectives and points of view on identifying, assembling, and analyzing trends that can help my clients achieve. Ian Altman, CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC, is a speaker on sales and business development. I highly respect his thinking and experience.  A common New Zealand term is that “I have a lot of time for Ian.” He was recently published in and discussed his perspective on the top business trends in 2017 that will drive success.

I firmly believe that the true scarcity in business today isn’t knowledge or different growth options or even good intention – it’s CLARITY. And clarity on trends that can help your business is imperative. Here is one view on the key trends that can help drive your business. Be sure to read the full article on

The three trends that I resonate with are:

  • Narrow Segments Attract Attention
  • Sales and Content Marketing Become Fully Integrated
  • Recurring Revenue

It’s your turn now. Check out Ian Altman’s top trends and leave a comment on which resonate with you – or what is missing and needs consideration? Here are his top Business Trends to plan for in 2017:

1. Subject Matter Experts Become the New Rainmakers
Subject matter experts who understand and can help guide the sales process drive growth in top performing B2B companies. Most organizations have a stable of SMEs who currently do not play a role in growing revenue. The best organizations offer integrity-based sales training to build a sales culture within the organization and empower the SMEs as keys to growth.

Check out my previous blogs, How Much Do You Know About Sales 2.0? and The Case of the Disappearing Sales Process for additional perspectives on this trend.

2. Crowdfunding Validates New Products
To the surprise of many, globally crowdfunding is trending to surpass venture capital by the end of this year. According to crowdfunding and marketing expert Clay Hebert, “Smart companies are using crowdfunding to not only raise capital, but to validate products before making substantial investments in product development.” As Hebert often reminds companies and startups, “The best focus group in the world is the market itself.”

3. Sales And Content Marketing Become Fully Integrated
As customers and buyers continue to do more online research, top performing organizations continue to integrate sales and content marketing. The goal is to ensure that when customers search for risks, challenges, and implementation strategies associated with your solutions, they will find your content to address their questions.

Again, check out How Much Do You Know About Sales 2.0?

4. Video Becomes Essential
According to a recent Forbes study, video is becoming a critical source of information for executives. Hubspot’s Consumer Behavior Survey confirms this trend. Over half (55%) of users say they consume an entire video, compared to 29% for blogs and 33% for interactive articles. If you want your entire message to be consumed, video tends to be the preferred medium.

5. New Collaboration Tools Require Rethinking Email
Collaborative tools like Slack are replacing email for internal communication. Started in 2013, Slack surpassed 4 million daily users in October 2016. Though this does not mean that companies will abandon email all together, it does change how you need to think of email. So, how do you reach your B2B audience if they are not paying attention to email? Smart companies will use precision targeting with Facebook and other social media tools to capture the attention of potential customers.

6. Brick and Mortar Stores Without Expertise Disappear
Brick and mortar stores that merely offer merchandise without expertise or curation will continue to suffer. Brick and mortar retailers that let you find things on your own will continue to lose market share to Amazon and others. If you have to discover the products on your own, it’s easier to do so online.

From my perspective, this is the profound transformation in customer behavior. Today’s buyers are enabled by the Internet, empowered by the enormous choice in every market, and possess the ability to compare real-time competitive prices. They have, in essence, taken control of the purchase process.

7. Subject Matter Experts Get Sales Support
With a shift in subject matter experts (SMEs) to grow revenue (Trend #1), organizations understand that SMEs might not have the ideal professional or interpersonal skills to drive the buying steps for customers. Without proper support and training, SMEs could miss opportunities. However, customers still prefer to work with SMEs over traditional salespeople.

8. Narrow Segments Capture Attention
In his bestselling book, Ask, Ryan Levesque illustrates how companies across industries have followed his approach to grow their businesses at incredible rates with narrowly defined segments. Levesque says, “One of the biggest fears I hear entrepreneurs express in segmenting their market is that their different market segments are too small to be worth addressing individually. So they rely on ‘one-size-fits-all’ products and messaging. But the reality is when you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to nobody. Companies, both big and small, that are adopting a segmented strategy are thriving more than ever in today’s marketplace.”

9. Recurring Revenue
Companies continue to shift from single, up-front payments for products to recurring revenue for a service. Financial markets reward predictable, recurring revenue. High renewal rates become an incredible marketing message. If you give your client the choice to renew or leave every month, then you’ll have your finger on the pulse of your market.

10. Millennials Groomed For Leadership
Millennials now represent the largest segment of the U.S. population, according to Pew Research. Top performing companies will work to magnify their strengths and build systems to compensate for their perceived deficiencies. Of special note is how millennials are more inclined to embrace fractional or shared usage versus purchasing. Over 55% said that they either had no plans to purchase a vehicle or were indifferent. Many feel that using services like Zipcar or Uber when they need transportation is more convenient. This notion aligns well with the shift to recurring revenue models for businesses going forward (Trend #9).

It’s Your Turn
So what do you think? Check out Ian Altman’s top trends and leave a comment on which resonate with you – or what is missing and needs consideration? Contact me to discuss how you can embrace these trends in your business.

Ian Altman, CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC, is a speaker on sales and business development. Check out his article at

© 2017-2020 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.

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