Sales efforts transformed in 2021 due to the global pandemic. Emerging trends included an increased reliance on sales by video conferencing, new automations in sales processes through workflows built into popular CRM tools, the rise of artificial intelligence algorithms and more. We’re well into 2022 and just like last year, sales techniques continue to transform. Buyers are increasingly working remotely, online sales have increased dramatically and the pandemic has left companies fighting for an edge over their competition.
If businesses want to ensure they stay ahead of the curve, there are three critical sales trends that will help revamp corporate sales strategy and keep businesses on the path to achieving their objectives and key results.
To increase sales revenue, management will need to be more informed than ever about buyer behaviour and recent trends in selling at the dawn of the post pandemic era.
The three most important sales trends that businesses can’t ignore in 2022 are as follows:
Online research dominates consumer buying behavior
Over 90 percent of consumers research products online before purchasing, reading reviews and comparing options. The priorities of sales reps need to shift to keep up. Daniel West, Head of MidMarket Sales at ActZero, reports that “Buyers already know the “what” about your product and company. What they need from the sales rep is the “why” and the “how”. Since there is so much choice in today’s market, the buyer understands why they should buy from you and how you’ll be able to deliver on your differentiator, whatever that might be.”
According to a study by Forrester Research, only 15% of clients said yes when asked if they valued conversations with sales representatives. Buyers are expecting you to know about their business, their pain points, and to offer them products and bundles that solve their problems. As West, a top sales executive who has built sales processes and playbooks throughout his career puts it, “Buyers are doing their research, and they expect you to do yours. You need to meet your customers where they are, versus where you are.” It’s time for companies to start looking at what they can do for a buyer, rather than how much revenue they can extract.
Companies make purchasing decisions in teams
The sales team alone cannot reliably achieve high dollar sales without the support of other internal teams. Customer Success has to support sales with case studies and referrals, product must deliver on customers’ expectations and the sales team must manager their pipeline with automation, artificial intelligence predictors and closely managed customer relationships. Marketing helps support the customer through the journey from advertising, content, events, website, and remarketing based on specific behaviors. Mr West, winner of the IntelliGO CEO Award for Top Achievement, has helped refine and optimise “Go-To-Market” strategies across many successful startups and based on his years of experience notes that “the collaboration between marketing and sales is critical to elicit buyer interest. One channel alone won’t get the job done. The interplay between the two channels boost conversion rates through multiple touchpoints. It’s critical to share information between the marketing and sales department through a CRM (like Hubspot or Salesforce) & regular feedback loops to make sure that all internal salespeople have access to relevant information about leads and what is needed to move forward across the funnel.”
Customer expectations are higher
Companies need to be accessible, personable, and technologically up to date in order to compete successfully. 86 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. West says that “in 2022, corporate reputations and revenue depend on CX. In order to be successful, the two areas of focus are personalization and conversational sales/social selling.” Forbes Research reiterates this point as “98% of markets say personalization advances customer relationships & 91% of buyers are more likely to shop with brands that engage with them“. These numbers prove that focusing on sales aspects beyond the products themselves is invaluable to any sales strategy, from B2C in-store sales to major B2B sales. Buyers shouldn’t need to struggle over price because they’ll be satisfied with the product and experience.
Competition drives innovation, but so does the aftermath of a world-wide crisis. Companies are bearing witness to Herculean sized changes in the way business is done and it’s up to individual sales agents to implement new strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Companies don’t have to adopt every sales trend but opt for the trends that work best for business based on testing together with measurable and quantifiable results. Companies can then enjoy the benefits of creating a cutting-edge business with out-sized profit margins.