The events of early last year (COVID-19), has left the world in a fragile and uncertain state. It has fundamentally rewired the way we live, work, and operate.
Pre-pandemic, we use to live in a primary and increasingly outward-focused culture, defined by in-person experiences, often in public, and shared with family, friends, and strangers. However today, we feel extremely vulnerable in public places and around people outside our immediate households.
This realignment of life isn’t going away anytime soon, so business needs to find ways to meet consumers where they are.
For B2B Sales leaders, this means paying attention to profound changes in consumer trends, values, attitudes and behavior, and adjusting brand strategies accordingly. Focusing on personalization, speed, and outcome from solving problems.
As we enter the age of personal commerce, the sales game is not the same as it used to be last year, and it will be a big help to get ahead of these transitions early on. Consumers today are the drives and want to co-curate their experiences with brands to reflect their preferences — sales teams need to recalibrate and retool to be more strategic, agile, and analytical.
To help you get there, we have put together some of the most pressing, prominent sales techniques for 2021 below:
Top 10 successful B2B Sales Techniques for 2021
Digital business pivots are slowly becoming permanent. Social media is fast emerging as a channel for purchase, instead of just discovery.
Virtual events started of necessity, are here to stay because of ROI and accessibility.
Inbound marketing with unified channels and customer service is more important than ever before. For customer success teams, being proactive is key. Digital transformation opportunities in crafting a B2B experience that’s human-centered, future-ready, and will help transform today’s sales organizations to better equip them in serving today’s customers.
- Social Media
- Quick Surveys
- Virtual Sales
- Authentic Relationships
- Setting Expectations
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) In Business
- GTM Alignment
- Being Human
Social Media A Point Of Sales
Video For Sales Outreach
For the past few years, we have seen video becoming a mainstay of sales outreach. From a good-to-have tool as a product for special circumstances to becoming a necessity — it is here to stay.
The prevalence of video as a sales outreach tool will continue beyond 2021. Salespeople who use video will connect at three times the rate of those who don't, reducing the inefficiency of the outreach process as a whole.
Several sales organizations survey prospects as a means to generate leads, engage with and qualify prospects, conduct research, and communicate with potential customers.
The practice will become even more popular in the coming year — with the increased use of shorter surveys — leading the charge. Using quick prospect surveys to get to the point quickly will be a trend. Most prospects hate long surveys however, almost everyone is okay filling out a three or four question survey to better assist a sales professional to drill into the right area of interest to make the most effective use of their time."
Chatbots are a valuable resource for both sales and service departments. Being able to reliably answer common questions and automatically point prospects and customers in the right direction can take the tremendous strain off real-life reps.
Everyone needs a chatbot on their website. As much as we love humans, we don't want them to answer transactional questions on order status, product availability, and shipping information. Chatbots work because we can get basic information quickly.
Virtual events started of necessity; they are here to stay because of ROI and accessibility. Businesses need strategic partners to create and drive engagement through tailored content, smart segmentation, and personalization.
It's no secret that businesses have been trending towards remote work. For many — if not most — businesses, it shifted from a novelty to a necessity in 2020. A study from Gartner found that an estimated 88% of companies mandated or encouraged their employees to work from home this past year.
That same study also found that roughly 97% of organizations have canceled work-related travel. So, what does this mean for salespeople? Well, as Zach Drollinger, Head of Sales at Coursedog, points out, "Onsite presentation will become a thing of the past."
Sales success in 2020 rested, in large part, on adaptability. Sales organizations had to shift their processes, strategies, and methodologies to fit a more remote, less immediate sales landscape.
That push away from in-person presentation probably won't reverse itself overnight. The onsite presentation was largely phased out of sales this past year, and you should expect that trend to continue.
AI In Business
The shift from highly analog decision making to automated, algorithm-based decision making, helping align sales process, channels, and seller capabilities around customers. Businesses can better segment their target audiences, achieve a higher level of engagement, and use dynamic content strategies to establish relationships with them on their terms.
The massive volume of sales outreach in 2020 has seasoned many prospects — they're hip to the tricks, tactics, and demeanors salespeople approach their interactions with.
According to Founding Partner of Eternal Works Tim Jones, "Stakeholders are getting very efficient at spotting people trying to 'fake it until they make it.'" He suggests that reps will "need to push past one or two conversations to build real rapport and trust in 2021, and building authentic relationships over time will be a requirement for all sales reps, going forward."
Establishing rapport and forming meaningful relationships with prospects should always be a priority for sales reps. But it's more important than ever under present circumstances and will continue to be as the new year comes.
Setting Right Expectations
Too often, businesses see the potential of advancements in technology has to offer but are unable to integrate it into their ecosystem.
Remote work comes with its share of challenges, roadblocks, and distractions. It can be harder for businesses and individual salespeople to remain on the same page and work efficiently.
So, going into 2021, sales organizations will need to do what they can to keep reps on track. Setting expectations with technology innovation & integration through OKRs and supporting those efforts with the right tools will be key.
Alysha Dominico, CEO of Tangible Words, says, "Big business has been managing Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for years and SMEs have just not had the capacity. But with remote work, OKRs are the ultimate way to see that the tasks you're doing each day and whether that work is 'busy work' or if that work is important to your overarching company goals.
"With remote work, companies are starting to use tools like Asana to see what everyone is doing. I believe with remote work that's the best way now to help your team work more productively. When the directives are clear, everyone can achieve more."
Aligning Go-To-Market Efforts
For a long time now, businesses have understood the importance of aligning sales and marketing teams. However, to accelerate revenues, now, they’re required to align all GTM teams around the customer, including sales, marketing, product management, and customer success.
Being Human Will Be Key
People buy from people (yes, even in B2B), and yet, so many businesses still struggle to put all of this knowledge into action. They don’t take the time to implement, that’s a big miss because this is more than a trend. This is a shift in how people interact.
Empathy should always have a place in sales, but given the events of this past year, it's become vital.
With businesses closing at an unprecedented pace and many prospects sustaining significant personal trauma in 2020, incorporating empathy into your sales process became mandatory. You had to care — You had become as much of a consultant as a seller.
"Even as COVID becomes less of a factor, empathy will still be important — and coming months will be defined by reality-based fear selling. And as ominous as that might sound, it doesn't imply anything bad or evil.
"It means salespeople will have to focus on the things that a business owner should be scared of, including their competitors, lost time, and changing buyer psychology."
The sales game isn't the same as it was a year before, and it will be a big help to get ahead of these transitions early on. Strategic planning processes and enabling capabilities to break down silos and enable connected planning between customer segmentation, sales coverage, territory management, quota planning, incentive design, and sales forecasting. Building stronger capabilities in data management, data science, machine learning, and agile product development.
The business landscape has changed — and will continue to change — no matter what. The sellers that win in the future will be up to date with the challenges their prospects face, empathetically articulate those challenges to their prospects, and present meaningful solutions for creating and sustaining growth.