Dawn of a new era?

At the end of 2021 we highlighted the 5 key trends that will define this year in B2B sales.

It feels like the dawn of a new era for Sales and Marketing.

Some are still finding their feet, others have embraced and adopted new ways of working and are now well into exploring how they can use automation and AI to minimise leakage, speed up processes and increase confidence in delivery.

With so much opportunity, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and can be difficult to find a starting point – but progress will be the key to success over the next year.

So, we thought it would be helpful to share our top 5 considerations for B2B sales strategies that we are already seeing on the commercial agenda and think will become more and more prominent over the next 12 months…

  1. The emergence of centrally owned prospecting programmes

Whether the programme is in-house or outsourced, it doesn’t matter. It will become more and more common for the end-to-end prospecting effort to be under one roof and feeding every level of the sales team.

No more prospecting for sales teams!? It sounds absurd! Nurture will become a new skill that salespeople will have to master in order to develop their pipeline and minimise wastage (at the end of last year, we shared 3 reasons you need to educate your sales team on lead nurture).

They will be responsible for managing a portfolio of opportunity assigned to them and working on breaking into the wider portfolio of existing business.

The entire acquisition prospecting effort will be contained so that leads are carefully monitored and qualified into the right team, the first time. And, the experience for the prospect will be catered to their requirements.

Rather than assigning leads to salespeople based on their patch – the opportunity will be handled by the person best matched to the prospects requirements.

  1. Digital-first nurture strategies

B2B buyers are more informed than ever before and have a higher expectation of CX. We are all consumers and we’re expecting more and more of the buying process.

Value-based, personalised selling makes us feel important. It’s part of our day-to-day lives now and their feels like a disconnect when we don’t experience the same at in our careers.

Successful marketers have a full-funnel view of their channels, campaigns, prospects, and customers – right from the first point of engagement.

How do they tie the whole thing together?

With content.

Instead of writing content for top-of-funnel only, successful marketers are mapping out the entire customer journey and crafting content based on the stages within that journey.

Developing a strategy that understands the importance for digital presence, human interaction (in the moments that matter) and connecting the dots with an ongoing, consistent strategy is a winning combination. Don’t just create content for the top of the funnel – it needs to run throughout!

  1. Social Selling

Social selling is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must if you really want to make sure you’re maximising your network and keeping your brand front of mind so that you don’t miss out on those ‘at need’ opportunities.

If you want to increase sales, you should be delicate and un-intrusive. Social selling as a concept has been in heavy rotation for a couple of years now. However, with the number of tools now at our disposal there’s an expectation that you should be seen regularly.

You shouldn’t always be ramming your product or service down your audiences’ throat but using your platform as a place to share engaging, relevant content that breathes life into your brand.

Instead of trying to sell your product right here and now, you should plant the idea into your prospects’ heads and keep developing it. Move into their heads by always being there for them, answering their questions, and showcasing expertise online.

When they’re looking for a product to buy, you should be the first business that comes to their mind.

If you’re not in control of your social media and not employing the correct strategies, social media activity can do more harm than good to sales – switching potential buyers off…

..If you’re not in front of your audience, you can almost guarantee, your competitors will be.

  1. Upskilling sales teams and optimising their toolkit with the use of automation and AI

Sales enablement tools will converge with sales tech e.g. Conversation Intelligence can help streamline sales enablement training and drive better sales results faster.

The right people, processes and tech stack can enhance coaching and free up countless hours managers and trainers spend listening to calls.

With AI, CI can record practice and live calls, provide transcriptions and recommend content based on call topics.

We’ll also see sales enablement accelerate knowledge preservation and reduce time spent on re-training.

With the introduction of videos, pre-recorded content and CI, businesses are becoming smarter by reducing the amount of time it takes to deliver templated sessions and recall information – deliver a session once, watch it back again later.

In addition, there’s now an overwhelming amount of sales automation tools that can streamline and control the sales environment so that sales people only engage in the moments that matter and, with the information that’s relevant to the decision making process.

Not all of them are relevant to every strategy but by enabling your team with complementary technology, you will make their lives less complicated and therefore allow them to focus on what they’re good at – selling.

With this however, comes a stark need for ongoing training and a clear understanding of how their toolkit can enable and strengthen their efforts.

If you’re not already, it’s time to revolutionise your sales efforts by taking your team into the era of sales 4.0.

  1. The rise of video in the sales cycle

Video is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination but when it comes to B2B selling, it is being adopted as a unique channel that cuts through the noise of other material.

If you don’t adopt this soon, it will soon become another ‘move-to-junk’ channel.

The automotive industry embraced video in the height of lockdown to send personalised videos to their prospects so that they could host direct walk arounds which can be watched back at a later date and shared with friends/family in order to get their opinions in a private setting without the pressure of having a sales rep asking them to sign on the dotted line.

Taking the time to reach out to high value targets with personalised video lands incredibly well – we’re seeing watch rates above 40% and reply rates above 35%.

If you’re using video – consider your prospect before sending one. Remember that every person is different.

You’re really leveraging the human element here – of course, generic videos can be used, but they have a place. Where you’ll see real success is in personalised recordings.

Understanding your audience before you hit record is pivotal to getting results. Think about your setting, what you’re wearing, your language and, your content.

Need support with optimising your 2022 sales strategy and transiting into the Sales 4.0 era?  Get in touch with Ampli today for a chat.