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The trends you’ll see in 2020—and the hurdles that might keep you from joining them

Kelli Blystone

January 02, 2020

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We’ve been taught since we were young that the future is a mystery — unknown until we step into it. But what if you were so in tune with your organization’s daily operations that you knew where those trends and next steps were headed before you took them?

We talked to seven such individuals who have already mapped out what 2020 might look like for them. For some, it’s as simple as growing their team or changing processes. For others, the future is a little more nebulous and, what’s more, they might face some hurdles to get there.

All look to respond to changing trends quickly and efficiently. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to projections, but these experts might just inspire you to take a look at your own team as a new decade begins.

Eboni Blake is the Lead Systems Business Analyst/Salesforce Administrator at Ibotta, an app that helps you earn cash back every time you shop. For Eboni, it’s all about managing change in a fast-paced environment.

“We can truly scale smarter, faster, and grow if we really double down and make sure our internal operations and infrastructure's toolings are set in a place that will enable us to scale at a very mature rate, but still with high-growth opportunity,” she said.

Eboni Blake, Ibotta

But change isn’t easy, and Ibotta is such a fast-paced, high-volume organization, Eboni knows that getting everyone on her team aligned will be one big step for 2020. 

“I think we will be able to spearhead and not just implement, but really see that high adoption, high investment as these changes occur. Change is the one thing that's constant in the world, but I think it's still something that’s hard for all of us—myself included—even though I'm in this space. But it's necessary at the same time so we can continue to be disruptive and innovative and, at the end of the day, really grow the business for not only our clients, but the millions of savers that we support in our communities every day.”

Steve Stessman is the Vice President of National Retail Sales at Tuff Shed, a company that has been providing building solutions like sheds and garages since 1981. His focus in 2020 will be on the relationship with Tuff Shed’s customers. 

“I have all this amazing technology. You name it,” Steve said. “But the technology can get in the way of the relationship with the customer. So our big bet is that instead of focusing on how many times we call the customer, it's more of: how do we measure the quality of the communication, did we have a consultative sales approach, and how does that consultative sales approach tie into the technology?”

Steve Stessman, Tuff Shed

A good connection with a customer or potential customer affects so much of the business, Steve said. His big bets for the organization in the new year will focus on that connection—he wants each team member to walk away from an interaction with a customer knowing they provided the level of service that could lead to a great social media review, or even a recommendation to a potential new customer.

“So I'm going away from making 30 calls a day to focusing on whatever you did with a customer: was it great? Do you really understand what the customer needs?” he said.

“And that's a pretty radical shift for traditional sales management.”

Kristen Jenson, Senior Systems Strategist with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is excited about the lofty goal of digitizing everything they do.

“Our big bet for the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development in 2020 is to have ALL of our programs in Salesforce. Being ‘in Salesforce’ specifically means that the full lifecycle is accounted for and performance measures are shared on a live dashboard, soup to nuts,” she said. 

They’re prepping for a different type of massive change in 2020, too: a new governor in office.

“We'll have a new governor in a year, so 2020 is our chance to prove our value to the next administration. My team is energized by such an ambitious goal and we're having a lot of fun with the challenge!”

Steve Aitken is CEO of Sapient i7, a platinum Salesforce consulting partner, who’s looking at branching out into other industries.

“We'll probably pick up three new industries, and as a result of that, we hope to see about 50 percent additional growth,” Steve said. 

Steve Aitken, Sapient i7

With growth comes an expansion of the technologies the team at Sapient i7 is exposed to, as well as expanding into commerce.

“We’ll look to pick up commerce as a capability and leverage our partners to grow into that space. And as a result of those things, we're going to be hiring again and we expect to see associated growth and headcount as well, so probably another 20 or 30 people added to the business next year.”

Carl Harkness is a Contracts Administrator at Nimbus Therapeutics, a company that uses advanced technologies to design breakthrough medicines and transform drug development. He’s looking forwarding to Nimbus spending more time with patients than behind the scenes.

“2020 is going to be a very exciting time for Nimbus,” Carl said.

Carl Harkness, Nimbus

He’s looking forward to moving out of the laboratory to working straight with patients. Despite their success, this is one area they don’t have much experience in. Carl plans to leverage the power of the Conga Suite, as well as the combined expertise of the teams at Conga and Nimbus to enable this new clinical program.

“I'm excited to march forward as quickly as possible so that we can bring successful and novel therapeutics to patients who need them,” he said.

Heidi Modrusan is the Contract Administration Program Manager at the WD-40 Company and is expecting that better visualizing data and analytics can create a more agile environment.

Making better informed, data-driven decisions is Heidi Modrusan’s main 2020 goal at the WD-40 Company. She’s hoping to transform all of the contract data currently living in their database into analytics they can use for better business decisions. 

Heidi Modrusan, WD-40

“Reporting better analytics will lead to better conclusions so we can transform the way we do business.” 

Carolyn Jungclas, Director of Procurement and Vendor Management at First Citizens Bank, has plans to automate her processes to cut back on the number of emails her team sends out — and therefore save time for more important things. 

“One of the things that we've spent a bit of time on in 2019 is updating all of our business owners, the contract owners,” Carolyn said.

Carolyn Jungclas, First Citizens Bank

Right now, the winding road of renewal communications traveled by Carolyn’s team is a long one. But she’s looking forward to automating that road in 2020. She plans to send a communication directly to the contract owner with a copy of the contract and clear instructions on what’s expected of the owner. This new process is estimated to save Carolyn’s analysts from sending almost 500 emails, freeing them up to focus on contract creation and review rather than administrative work.

“One of our growth strategies is acquiring other banks,” she said. “This allows us to make room for supporting that really important growth strategy by freeing up the analysts and the sourcing team to do this higher level work.”

Driving change in 2020

As we head into the new year, we’ll continue to uncover the trends other agents of change are exploring in their organizations. Tune in to our podcast to hear their stories firsthand, and you just may walk away with actionable insights for your own team. 

Kelli Blystone

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