Emerging Sales Strategies and How to Use Them to Close the Deal
Sales has gone through a rapid and deep evolution in the past 50 years. A few short years ago, it was the norm for salespeople to reach out to potential buyers without knowing anything about them. It was difficult to find the decision makers and get past the gatekeepers, and with very little knowledge about possible buyers, we often struggled with what to say or do to make an impression.
Today, a simple search on a company’s website or third-party platform like LinkedIn will provide sales teams with information like leadership, employees, mission statements, and milestones. We have access to the data we need to do a lot of homework about the people we’re selling to.
In turn, this shift has influenced expectations of the sales process. Potential buyers expect salespeople to have done their homework, and they expect a level of human connection that goes beyond first and last name. They’ve also learned to temper their expectations. The pandemic removed the possibility of face-to-face conversations, and buyers are adapting to Zoom-based relationships just as sales teams are.
As an outcome of the global health crisis, the way we communicate with customers isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Over the past two years, sales teams have pivoted to new products and services to combat revenue loss, market share loss, and longer and less predictable sales cycles. Buyer behavior has also changed. For example, B2B buyers now conduct most of their research before speaking to sales teams.
The Evolution of Sales: What Can We Learn From the ‘2022 State of Sales’ Report?
A new study into the world of sales in small and medium-sized businesses has a lot to show us about how virtual selling is changing our industry.
For the “2022 State of Sales,” we asked businesses earning between $3 million and $100 million in revenue about the current state of their sales. One of our biggest findings is that most teams (88%) are struggling with strategy. COVID-driven confusion and a lack of competitive understanding are partially to blame.
Companies are also unsure about their methodologies right now. Ninety-two percent struggle with mapping knowledge onto results and implementing the right tools — like CRM and sales dashboards — to aid their methods. An uncertain analysis follows: The study found that while teams are experimenting with hybrid approaches, they still lack the ability to make progress on their goals by tracking metrics and incentives.
In conclusion, the study uncovered major areas of development — like focusing performance metrics on leading indicators, aligning sales processes with buyers’ journeys, and setting goals to create clear expectations — that the vast majority of sales teams must consider now.
How Does Remote Work Change the Game?
Remote work has emerged from the pandemic as a new way of life. It began as a temporary coping strategy, but many companies are continuing with a remote or hybrid way of working and don’t plan to go “back to the office.”
This change is impacting both buyers and salespeople. Companies have gained some advantages, like lower travel costs, greater employee satisfaction in some areas of work thanks to more time at home, and greater efficiency. Meetings are easier to hold at short notice and quicker to reschedule — the whole process can be a bit nimbler.
But there are disadvantages, too. Salespeople are missing a key part of the puzzle in their workflows. They are finding it harder to build good customer relationships without a face-to-face component. Buyers are less engaged and more distracted.
On top of these factors, sales teams are unsure of what to expect from the future. Will permanent remote sales strategies emerge as best practices? With COVID and its restrictions still present in some parts of the world, the status quo is shaky. Face-to-face meetings and traveling in sales jobs could return, but will we have migrated to a hybrid sales process by then?
What Top Trends Will Shape the Future of Sales?
From a craving for human connection to a penchant for marketing automation, emerging sales trends tell us how buyers are feeling and acting now and how the market is shifting to make room for these new impulses. Trends also alert us to what’s possible in sales right now, considering the vast amount of new technology available.
Here are five of the most important trends affecting sales in 2022:
Value-Based Selling Rises to the Top
Sales teams will see the need for more value-based selling, and it will become a new norm. Because of buyers’ increased expectations for efficiency and personalization, we will need to communicate directly, based on specific problems and pain points that our products can solve.
Generic communication won’t work; salespeople need to learn and understand unique value propositions, have strong body language, and present ideas in an engaging way online to be effective.
Sales Will Integrate CRM
Marketing automation will be an important factor in building sales strategies. Keeping communication threads organized via an AI-driven platform will mean that the customer experience is as streamlined and personal as possible. Sales teams can illuminate conversations with data points taken from the CRM, allowing them to work closely with marketing and offer a customer experience that is deeply engaging and helpful.
AI Will Increase Efficiency
Companies that want their sales processes to stand the test of time will need to tap into the powers of artificial intelligence to make their jobs easier and smarter. Leveraging AI in the sales process will increase efficiency and help sales teams determine when a sale is likely, add insight to each stage of the funnel, and help buyers relax and trust the product. AI-driven tools can even help your team predict which leads will be most fruitful so you can focus your energies on the right places.
Hiring Quality Talent Will Be More Challenging
Emerging sales strategies will need to help us with hiring. In our current economic climate, where everyone is adapting to new goals and ways of working, we’re looking at an increase in sales roles but fewer great hires.
We’ll need to recruit and fill sales roles by ensuring that compensation rewards the business goals and values we’re looking for. Incentives, perks, understanding, flexibility — all these qualities will help employers stand out.
Outsourcing Sales and Sales Leadership Might Become the Norm
Outsourcing isn’t the taboo or the mystery it used to be. In the sales world, outsourcing can offer companies the opportunity to gain more knowledge at less cost. You can save your organization the stress of spreading your budget too thin while minimizing the costs of healthcare, training, office space, and other bits and bobs that go into hiring full-time staff.
How Can Sales Xceleration Help?
Sales Xceleration Advisors have a proven track record of helping companies evolve their sales processes with tools, talent, and an eye for emerging trends. This kind of evolution is essential in the rapidly shifting, unsteady world we find ourselves in today. We can help your company navigate these new changes and develop new sales strategies to help weather storms now and in the future.
You can find more information about these tools in our website’s Resources/Sales Tools section. For sales leadership guidance and tips, check out our Certified Sales Leadership training. This training will help your sales leaders learn the key components of effective leadership to drive consistent growth.