The increasing role of technology and digitalisation impacts sales people and processes in a very competitive B2B sales landscape. This transformation is triggering businesses to adapt and evolve alongside customer expectations. It’s this fast pace of change in today’s digital world – digital transformation in both products and processes – which leads us to ask what B2B sales will be like in the future.
A survey by HubSpot of leading, innovative figures in industry revealed their visions of where sales will be in a few years.
Here is a glimpse of 5 key B2B selling developments to look forward to in the not too distant future.
- Data sharing
The increased availability of data including buyer or marketing personas (demographics, location, motivation, consumer purchase behaviour and timeline) brings about a more intelligent and sophisticated assessment of prospects. The exploration of different personas means that cold calling could become a thing of the past.
The opportunity for the once conflicting sales and marketing teams to work together and share data will influence personalisation, thereby enabling greater collaboration to customise how sales reps engage in selling.
- Automation, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence
The increased use of automation means a reduction in manual tasks. Investment in sales technology will result in saving time and increased productivity – working towards goals more quickly, including higher lead generation rates and conversions.
The use of advanced analytics will be to review strategic matters including lead generation in order to build accounts, products and customer profiles. Detailed customer profiles can then be referred to by sales teams for targeting, contacting and conversion purposes. Executives can get a better picture of the sales opportunities which should be captured, the resources to attribute and the factors influence sales growth.
The use of AI can be ascribed to the maximisation of efficiency. As part of a day-to-day strategy and sales tools utilisation, greater application of artificial intelligence will influence productivity. Ways in which it can help sales reps include data analysis and insight, providing recommendations and predict future results. Although it is seen to ultimately replace sales people, AI’s role is to reduce the workload of manual and tedious tasks so that they can focus on meeting customer needs and delivering a better customer experience.
- Sales strategy and social media
New approaches to selling have encouraged sales professionals to undertake omnichannel selling. Traditionally, sales reps have made pitches on the telephone or by meeting prospects face-to-face. An integrated sales approach including mobile selling and social selling will determine future results.
Exploring prospective customers will be conducted on social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), mobile as well as via email. Mobile and social media tools will also encourage customers to communicate with sales reps – raising queries, asking for advice and recommendations and share feedback. By identifying the channels and platforms used by potential customers and collaborating with the marketing department, sales can provide an integrated sales and marketing experience.
The social and mobile vehicles make it easier and accessible for customers around the world to keep in contact with the sales teams and maintain their relationship without the need to meet in person. As a result, these channels will build up customer engagement.
How sales people sell to prospects will be focused on the prospective buyer by specifically addressing their needs. As a key component of engaging user experience, personalisation, although not new, is becoming a popular means of attracting attention. Tailored interactions and personalised offerings are what the sales people will deliver to address the potential customer’s needs.
This will involve data analysis and in-depth research. Buyers will expect personalisation and so businesses which fail to personalise may find that they are losing sales to the competition.
- Changing roles
The role of the sales executive will become less traditional and instead more specialised, with a greater focus on functions involved in the customisation of solutions, project management and social media channels.
The functions will change due to the impact of digital and mobile factors. This means a change in sales approaches, i.e. prospecting and so meeting fewer people.
Although there are businesses already adopting AI to improve productivity, more firms will look to taking up AI and machine learning to become more automated. The importance of client development, successful deals and achieving the sales targets will remain. However, sales will evolve to become more innovative, productive, specialised and integrated with marketing. Collaboration of sales with marketing will form one revenue generator with the prospect’s journey fundamental to the new combined function.
With business development teams increasingly being encouraged to do ‘social selling’, these top social media tips for regulated firms gives a good grounding on the dos and don’ts. You can read a copy here.
How can we help!
At LS Consultancy, we offer a complete solution with a range of cost effective, regulatory compliance and marketing products/solutions including Bespoke Copy Advice which is uniquely suited to supporting firms.