As part of their ongoing visioning activities, members of our advisory boards recently told us the big issues on their radar for 2019. Below are the top five responses from our Sales Advisory Board, with a representative quote for each one. Read the issues that our Marketing Advisory Board spotlighted here, and that our Revenue Management Advisory Board shared here.
1. Customer behavior: “We get frustrated that our customers are avoiding interfacing with our sales teams, but what are we doing to evolve to how they want to buy? I consider this a disrupter because as a generation they are using technology for most aspects of their life, yet we still want to cold-call them in the office (what office? they will work out of a coffeeshop) and come tour the hotel (virtual reality will become mainstream). Do we keep forcing them to buy on our desired path (which we know is highly valuable from a relationship buy), or do we evolve to accommodate both? How do we interchange them and not just double acquisition costs?”
2. Replacements for salespeople: “The sales discipline is at risk if we don’t continue to advocate for the need for personal relationships and proactive sales efforts. Technology, automation, and revenue management are all disrupters yet can support the sales effort as long as the discipline is still respected and appreciated.”
3. Asset management: “Asset managers are getting more involved in hotel operations and planning decisions, which makes it difficult to manage time and messaging. This ties in with owners not understanding the sales process — many times asset managers do not have this background but are making crucial decisions.”
4. Infighting: “Revenue managers are given too much leeway to control inventory and rates without consulting with sales.”
5. Distribution: “Marketing automation should change the behaviors of salespeople.”
The Sales Advisory Board will explore these and other issues in 2019. Look for some of their insights as part of HSMAI events, content, and other programs throughout the year.
-- Juli Jones, CAE, Vice President, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)