Here’s the thing- creating an excellent sales plan with the best practices and information from the veterans in the company is entirely acceptable. But not considering the latest sales trends for your sales plan can be unhealthy for the sales army you’ve built.
What do you do next?
Start with reading the latest trends in the market and then establish which ones are closest to your industry and apt for your company.
Once you finish the exercise, start creating a definite sale plan for the next quarter.
So, let’s get started with the eight sales trends penetrating your customer's life and giving an edge to your competition.
Today, we’ll be looking at:
So, let’s get started.
1. Artificial intelligence
Gartner reports, 75% of business-to-business (B2B) sales organizations are willing to choose artificial intelligence (AI)-based selling by 2025. Source
Sales teams are seeing massive adoption of AI-based technology. Its fastest and most evident impact is visible in automating several processes and menial tasks.
As an added advantage, AI has benefitted sales and marketing teams in extracting valuable information about customers and their industries. This data is further used in offering enhanced customer experience to prospects and existing customers.
AI is pushing sales teams a notch higher by tracking and predicting future trends. These trends will play a vital role in sales strategy and planning.
“Any business, in general, wants to find new ways to grow their revenue & increase efficiency across their sales cycle–that’s where AI comes in handy. Beyond being the fancy word, the right kind of AI solution, when applied to the right kind of process/problem, can bring transparency, uncover issues & suggest solutions to improve.” - Ashish Santhalia
2. Personalized experience
In the US, 90% of consumers like the idea of personalization. Source
There’s a popular notion in the market that buyers tend to make an impulse purchase if they receive a personalized experience.
Clearly, customers are getting accustomed to personalization, and more and more companies are making an effort in that direction.
Customers are more than ever willing to share personal data to receive a tailored buying experience. But this exchange comes with the condition of receiving a personalized shopping experience on the website or app.
Providing a unique and tailored experince can bring more business in the long term.
"I was reluctant to use video since the only videos I received were fake personalizations. Fake personalization is plugging in a person's name, hitting send on an utterly generic message, and pretending it's personalized. Using a person's name isn't enough to get the attention of the modern B2B buyer.” - Leslie Venetz
3. Social selling
Social selling leaders have a 51% chance of achieving their sales quota. Source
Relationship-building is being performed on various levels and platforms.
However, in the current remote working environment, the focus is on digital channels and utilizing social media platforms like Linkedin.
Social selling strategies complement the cold-call and email strategies and prospecting activities. All this is possible through social media platforms.
Social selling is explained most simply by Carson Heady.
This sales plan has a higher chance of conversion because channels like Twitter and Linkedin connect sellers to clients who already show interest in the vendor’s product. Just having them as an audience is a significant advantage.
Social selling is a brilliant way to nurture onboarded customers and keep them engaged.
Brand visibility, the chance of referrals, and new business opportunities are the few advantages sellers are exploiting in the market.
“Social Selling is all about how you create relationships with people and diligently add value to others related to you, both in your organization and the new prospects. Deals are a product of making strong relationships. So don’t focus on cracking deals; focus on creating lasting relationships.”- Carson Heady.
4. Omnichannel selling
Compared to companies with weak omnichannel strategies showing a 3.4% rise, omnichannel engagement companies will see a 9.5% rise in revenue. Source
Customers are looking for a shopping experience in multiple online and offline channels. They want to choose how they want to purchase and where they want to start.
Companies are making efforts to be visible on as many channels as possible. This effort creates brand awareness and keeps the brand on top of customers' minds.
Sales plans can’t omit the omnichannel structure. Without consideration of channel strategy, sellers won’t reach their customers before the competition.
“So many people say cold calling is dead and nobody wants a phone call, it’s social selling only—unequivocally false fact. The first piece is that you need to build out your sequences or cadences, the pattern of outreach in a way that does incorporate LinkedIn touchpoints, maybe other social touchpoints along with phone calls and emails.” - Leslie Venetz
5. Value-based selling
According to ValueSelling Associates, the value-based approach is the preferred selling style in 87% of fast-growing companies, compared to 45% of poor-performing companies. Source
Today, customers are no longer falling prey to marketing and sales gimmicks.
Moreover, customers are learned and can immediately catch misleading information.
Sellers are moving forward by choosing benefits over features. They avoid talking about features unless the time is right or the prospect is ready.
Presenting solutions with benefits helps reach the finish line faster in the sales cycle.
“When we give a demo to someone who will need to present our solution to a manager or may have to approve a budget request, I do a 5-minute "sizzle reel" video that shows the 1-2 key value drivers to help them get sign-off quickly. Basically, just answering: why does this matter? Why is this a win for the business?”- Grant Oyston (Ada)
6. Outsource sales
Outsourcing reduces costs for 59% of companies. Source
Outsourced sales teams are usually the choice of small companies and startups, but lately, it’s popular in all companies.
Companies are investing in agencies laser-focused on lead prospecting, segmentation, research, presentation, demo, etc. While there are hidden challenges, companies save a massive amount of money and get sales expertise without investing in sales coaching or training.
Highly recommended: How to ensure you get the correct result from outsourced sales?
As Donald Kelly says, outsourcing can be the best way to scale a business and then establish an internal team for small businesses.
A liaison from the company plays a major in outsourcing sales.
“If you outsource sales, you will have to make sure that you have a lot of communication with the agency to be on the same page.” - Donald Kelly
7. Sales task automation
According to Salesforce, sellers spend around 34% of their time on selling, and the rest is spent on administrative tasks. Source
Lately, several companies have invested in CRM, email automation engines, call recording software, task assignment, scheduling tools, etc.
The idea behind employing automation software is to reduce sales admin work and focus more on the phone and video calls.
A few organizations are also employing sales analytics software to receive timely sales insights to reach customers on time.
“Sales automation tools have become nearly as important as calendars and phones to organizations that need to sell something. Based on experience, businesses would find it painfully difficult to keep competition at bay.”- Gaetano
8. Target audience: Millennials & the fast-growing Gen Z
Millenials have witnessed technology and automation grow. They have lived through the inconvenience and traveled to a state of ease in everything they do. They are the preferred generation for purchasing.
We discussed omnichannel presence earlier in this blog. The millennials, around 1.8 billion millennials, prefer multiple channels of communication.
Gen Z has also just come of age and started spending heavily. One thing to note is that Gen Z is earning early and hefty amounts. They are making money through the online world and digital media. This generation comprises more than 30% of the population.
Sellers are taking advantage of the millennial generation and not overlooking the Gen Z. Generation Z is the future, so establishing a market now will be profitable in the future. We hope these sales trends resonate with you and your sales team.
If it does, then the next quarter’s sales plan or amendment should definitely account for the trends.
Start spending time perfecting your sales plan. If you are new to the concept and want to sharpen your concepts, here’s what you can jump into.
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