What is the fastest growing sales trend today? It is actually a combination of approaches utilising a renewed strategic focus, new tools, and continuous training.
A More Strategic Approach
It is no longer “smiling and dialing” for business. Today’s sales teams focus on a strategic plan with clear objectives and steps to drive customers through the sales funnel.
Inbound marketing is a strategic approach to the marketing efforts to make sure your company is found when prospects are looking for your products or services. That includes websites and landing pages. It means paying attention to search engine optimisation (SEO) and tools to drive people to your website. It also means creating engaging content that gets discovered by the right people and helps them see your company as a trusted business.
Outbound marketing can mean driving brand identity through traditional advertising or digital campaigns to generate sales leads. While inbound marketing works to position your company in the proper light when people are looking for what you have to offer, outbound marketing works to capture their attention and get them to connect.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
More attention is being paid to driving customers through the middle of the sales funnel. Account Based Marketing, or ABM, takes sales leads and nurtures relationships in a strategic way. It’s a targeted approach that identifies key prospects and customises messages to high-value accounts.
This allows for consistent – and strategic – touchpoints to move customers throughout the funnel. Using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and automation, sales teams are keeping prospects warm and informed through each step in the buying journey.
A Personalised Approach
Mass emails, mailers, and sales letters no longer capture potential customers’ attention in the sales industry. In order to connect with economic decision-makers, you need to customise your approach.
Big Data and AI can play an important role here by analysing trends and providing ways to customise sales presentations and approaches based on customer interactions.
AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Automation, And Blockchain
Artificial intelligence and Big Data can help sales teams optimise their efforts.
AI on platforms like Amazon recommends products to shoppers based on browsing histories and past purchases. Netflix’s recommendation engine helps users to find new content. In both cases, AI helps target the right content for the right user. AI can do the same for sales.
AI can also automate the more mundane tasks which help sales teams focus on more important work.
Machine Learning can take data and continuously optimise sales efforts, approaches, and marketing. There’s been a lot of hype about blockchain as a sales trend and how it’s set to disrupt business. While that hasn’t happened yet, blockchain is on the horison.
In 2017, Millennials became the largest generation in the labor force, passing of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Now, marketers are starting to focus on the next generation of consumers that are emerging: Generation Z.
Born in the mid-90s to mid-2000s, Gen Z is projected to be the biggest generation of consumers by 2020.
This group is different than previous generations. They have only known a world with high tech, smartphones, online shopping, and social media. Sales industry professionals need to adapt their approach to align with the way Gen Z communicates.
A Commitment To Training
Smart marketers are making a recommitment to training their sales teams. This includes formal sales training for managers and account reps as well as individualised training and in-field coaching
Training can help individual and teams realise their full potential by being better equipped to tackle the challenges facing sales teams today. Whether it is the latest sales trends or tried-and-true solutions, training provides a focus and way to lift team performance.
New sales professionals need to be armed with the tools they need to be successful. Experienced sellers need to learn new sales trends and be reminded of the things that have made them successful in the past.
Your customers seamlessly move between multiple modes of communication, including email, phone, text, social media, and chat. Most sales teams, however, aren’t set up to handle these multi-channel pathways. Being able to communicate with potential buyers in whatever form they choose has become essential.
Research shows that 91% of the companies that implement omnichannel strategies achieve higher retention rates.
It’s also important to respond quickly to inquiries. In today’s connected world, people now expect nearly instant answers to their questions. A study of more than 2,000 companies revealed that sales teams that responded to lead within the first hour were nearly seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited more than an hour.
Successful marketers are learning the power of marketing on social platforms. In fact, several industries now attribute more than 50% of revenue to social selling. For B2B buyers, platforms such as LinkedIn allow for direct connections to decision makers. They are also being utilised by sales pros to:
- Build sales pipelines
- Prospect and qualify potential customers
- Content marketing and education
- Customer feedback
Referrals are a particularly powerful sales tool. Harvard Business Review reports that 84% of B2B buyers are starting their purchasing process with referrals. In addition, peer recommendations are playing a significant role in more than 90% of buying decisions.
Implementing Sales Trends
We can talk about selling trends all day long. In the end, however, it’s more about the training to use these selling trends and the application that will make a difference in your sales organisation. A relentless focus on meeting strategic goals will almost always outperform a great plan that isn’t practiced consistently. This takes training and it takes practice.
Great sales organisations understand this and are willing to invest in the tools and training their sales teams need to be successful.