No doubt, the market for sales and marketing technology is changing at a rapid, and constant pace. This year alone, we’ve heard about well over 100 new sales technologies that have entered the market.

The end of the year is such a great time to pause and look ahead at what the future holds. It’s also a great time to look back at the year behind us.

In 2015, we held our very first Dream Lounge during the Dreamforce event in San Francisco. More than 500 people registered to hear 14 of the industry’s top sales strategists and to meet 6 of the top sales and marketing solution providers.

We had a blast. If you missed it, we recorded each individual talk which you can view here. You can see some of the moments from the event in this video.

I’m excited to say that we’ve already secured our venue for Dream Lounge 2016. We’re holding it at the luxury boutique Hotel Zetta in San Francisco – 1 block from the Marriot Marquis.

We’ve got some really cool things planned, like a “silent keynote streaming” party. If you’ve ever heard of a silent dance party where everyone gets their own high-def headphones to dance to crystal-clear music on what is an otherwise silent dance-floor—that’s what we’ll be doing, only minus the dance floor.

There might not be dancing, but we will be serving drinks so everyone can relax and enjoy the keynotes in a comfortable and private environment. And this year, we’re hosting a cocktail party with specialty mixed drinks, and hors d’oeuvres. And you can play the 30′ Plinko game.

If you want to get an exclusive early invite, just send me an email.

This year brought another first for Smart Selling Tools. It’s been a dream of mine to offer an easier way for people to find the right technology for their short-list. Last week, we went live with our brand new Solution Advisor. You can search for technology by solution or by user role. Soon, we’ll be adding the ability to search by “challenge.”

That means, you can search for specific technology to help you and your team do things better and faster. Want your team to make more calls or have better call-outcome? You’ll be able to find it with our Solution Advisor.

About this time of year, I also get a lot of people asking what trends I’m seeing—or predicting—for 2016. I’ll make a few predictions, but first, I’ll share a few from some of the folks we work with.

First up, a prediction by Doug Winter, CEO of Seismic.
“In 2016, there will be a greater emphasis on empowering sales reps with content that has been proven to win deals. Using content analytics, sales and marketing organizations will be able to identify sales materials used in successful deals and emulate that behavior in future sales interactions. By providing sales reps with predictive content, marketing teams will be able to analyze the overall success of content and quantify their contribution to revenue.”

Donal Daly, CEO and Founder of The TAS Group has another interesting take.
“Customer focus is going to be the key to success. As we move into 2016, we’ll realize it is the year of the customer – and more specifically, the customer activated enterprise. We’ll also begin to see improvements to AI. ‘Small’ AI will come of age – it won’t necessarily be ‘smart’ but it will serve a more tactical support role. On the analytics front, we’ll begin to see that projects that consume entire IT departments will deliver little value to businesses. Lastly, marketing will become more focused. Account Based Marketing and Account Planning will overtake all business development initiatives as the most effective marketing spend.”

And finally, Nick Hedges, President and CEO of Velocify, expects to see more agile sales organizations.
“2016 will be the year where sales leaders take back control of the sales process, accelerating their sales results by putting their process on rails. Sales acceleration solutions will become more widely adopted and more sophisticated, helping guide which prospects a sales team should engage with, what they should be doing, and when – essentially driving a personalized sales experience at scale.”

What do I think?

I think this will be the year sales leaders will insist on simplifying. They have an abundance of technology choices, they have an overwhelming amount of options, and they can only spend so much time assessing and evaluating their options. They’ll expect technologies to make things easier (on them and their salespeople) and that means simplifying rather than adding to the complexity that is their daily life.

Vendors are already responding. Seismic is empowering salespeople with predictive content served up at the moment of need. The TAS Group is simplifying the lives of sales leaders with “no analytics required” intelligence to improve performance across the board. And Velocify is paving the way for agile sales processes.

There’s no debate about this… 2016 will be another exciting year in the sales and marketing technology space. It’s not only okay but smart, to insist that any new technology you consider works for you rather than the other way around.