Sales trends and the sales models of the future have never been more difficult to predict. Will inbound lead generation be enough to power growth, will organizations have to rethink or even retool their sales strategies, what does the sales force of the next five years look like. These and other questions are now top of mind for many sales leaders.
Sales Trends with Examples.
Unite the Customer Experience.
A disjointed sales process that clashes with internal procedures can cause major obstacles in the buyer’s journey. The knock on effect is a lack of any seamless customer experience that buyers now demand. Sales organizations will have to unite the sales process to match what their buyers expect. A Revenue Operations team consisting of sales, marketing, product, customer success and delivery should be installed. The goals for revenue operations is to remove internal roadblocks and get everyone focused on 1 single thing- revenue.
Revenue is driven by the value and the amount of customer purchases. By having everyone unite behind the customer experience brings clarity to all actions and sales insights. Implement clear processes that are supported by data, shared insights, feedback loops and communication that deliver on the customer experience that buyers now expect.
Sales Expertize at Hybrid Selling
Salespeople and the sales organization have to be tooled and have sales training on multi-channel or hybrid selling. They are masters at selling remotely, via email, in person, on the phone and on social media. To reach and communicate with the target audience, salespeople will have to adopt this multi-channel approach. We know that customers are more empowered than ever due to freely available information from multiple sources. The reality is that sales leaders need to plan for a future where their customers are empowered to make buying decisions on their terms, not the companies.
Any potential buyer has many avenues of sales insights into the workings or pricing of a company. They research products and companies, they seek out reviews, sales trends, compare pricing, and decide who they will engage with and who to buy it from. All of this can be completed without ever having to speak with a salesperson. Which begs the question – what is the role of a salesperson in this new reality?
The modern buyer is increasingly moving away from the traditional sales channels and moving towards the digital channels for B2B purchases. Business organizations forecast that 59% of their annual purchases will be enacted through websites and other online channels by the end of 2023. This means that every sales leader will have to assess how effective the sales force is at using the social channels and technology to connect with the customer. It will take a mindset change from one of pushing products to a mindset of bringing value to potential customers that puts there priorities first and centre.
Sales Trends and Value Based Selling
Value based selling is one of the sales trends that is really taken hold across future thinking sales organizations. A simplistic meaning for value based selling is that is sales methodology that focuses on the total value a prospect or customer will receive from the product, instead of focusing on the narrower benefits of the product. This method of selling works on the premise that rather than selling a result of a product or service will give to a customer, a value-based sales strategy will instead focus on the bigger picture by outlining the value beyond the price the customer pays, value such as cost reduction, profitability, and other business implications the product offers.
Value selling is about salespeople taking a personalized approach to each and every sale based on information about that customers particular needs and wants. When the buyer can visualize the future value for the product or service, they gain a deeper understanding of the solution without the need to push features or specifications. Value based selling is about communication, business rather than product value, what it does for the buyer and their role. So, value selling requires personalized research, be the signal not the noise, avoid leading with sales pitches, have meaning value conversations, bring insights and unconsidered needs, focus on how buyers buys and not the sales process, be credible and genuine.
Focus on the Person, Not the Product
Buyers want personalized buying experiences. Sales trends show us that the world is moving away from selling products to selling experiences or a bundle of values. Over 80 percent of buyers are more likely to engage with a vendor if they are offered a highly personalized experience.
Just to clarify, this is not to say the product or service being offered is not important, rather to open up to the consideration that the product should not be the focal point of the sales activity. In a world where companies can struggle to clearly outline the uniqueness of a product, salespeople who can deliver personalized, positive experiences will be a major competitive advantage. last We’ve talked a bit about this before, but truly unique products are rare nowadays. Focusing on the person and not the product is a more subtle sales approach than product based selling. Research is showing that it pays off with higher repeat customers and referrals.
Score with Soft Sales Skills
In the modern sales process, regardless of how advanced the sales teams technical and hard selling skills are, they need soft sales skills too. Because what the modern buyer expects from salespeople is largely linked to emotional intelligence, communication, and critical thinking. Unfortunately, many salespeople often fail to recognize that buyers are mentally questioning them with back of the mind questions. Or, if salespeople do realize that buyers have these doubts, many try (too hard) to compensate with smooth-talking, product lead charm offensives. Too many salespeople try to replace buyer doubts with features or benefits or with a case study.
It is often said that hard sales skills will get you in front of a customer, but you need soft sales skills to win over and keep the customer. In fact, sales trends research shows that salespeople tend to exaggerate most customers’ needs and misjudge the importance of other important selection criteria. This can lead to tone-deaf sales messages and missed new business opportunities.
Having salespeople with strong soft skills will become more important than ever as a way for businesses to connect with customers. The salesperson will be called on to combine digital literacy with essential human skills such as communication and problem solving. Globalisation and digital disruption have lowered the barriers to entry for business, meaning that today the real competition is often in the quality of the customer experience. Businesses are finding that customers are looking for service, not just low prices.
Social Selling will come of Age
The value of social selling has often been disputed. In the rising tide that WAS inbound marketing, using social media was seen as a nice bolt on in the sales process. Now as times get leaner, leads harder to generate, buyers reluctant to engage, many sales organizations will have to seriously commit to social selling. Social selling is not about selling a product, it is the activity of selling your company socially. It is a sales technique that uses the social channels to find, engage, attract, nurture relationships and yes, when appropriate to connect. All the time, every message, every share, every piece of content is focused on providing value.
According to LinkedIn, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make buying decisions
There is no doubt that communication methods and sales trends to reach customers will continue to evolve and change. Blending multiple methods to reach potential customers in both B2B and B2C markets is the dominant sales tactic. Cold calling and sales prospecting results benefits hugely from the use of social media to draw attention to any organizations value proposition. Extend your companies brand and reach with content, videos, and data to actively engage with prospects and develop a connection with them with social selling.
Video will be one of the top sales trends
Video use and consumption is everywhere. Now it’s time to bring sales video into the sales process. Well crafted, bite sized video messages or promos is now a proven tactic to engage prospects and customers. Salespeople should be using video to differentiate themselves and add personalized messaging to what would likely have been emailed.
When it comes to creating value, you want your prospects to feel something. That’s why video is a great way to get attention and dispense information quickly. It’s one thing for your prospects to read about your company or products, but it’s far more compelling to see motion and insights via the medium we are all now most familiar with. We live in a time poor, distracted world, so it’s important that sales messaging is unique and personalized from the myriad of other messages fighting for buyers attention. Video is an excellent way to do this, as it can help you create a unique, human, and personal impression that will resonate with customers.