The future of sales is happening right now. Learn what trends are the hottest at the moment.
Ever since the pandemic, the world of B2B has shifted dramatically, opening new opportunities and posing new challenges for sales leaders and CEOs.
This means that sales approaches have shifted towards the digital environment and, as a consequence, new trends emerged.
In this article, we will bring forward the most important transformations that have happened in B2B sales in the post-pandemic world and are still influencing the way businesses offer customer services. Additionally, we will shed some light on the future of sales strategies and what sales leaders should be on the lookout for.
Transformative B2B Sales Trends
The future of sales is adaptive. This means that with each shift in business orientation, sales adapts strategies and approaches to cater to ever-involving audiences.
Over the years, we have observed a swift shift from seller-centric to buyer-centric strategies in B2B sales and the implementation of automation to replace outdated analog sales processes.
These changes, in their turn, triggered more complex industry transformations and trends that are going to impact the way we used to serve B2B clients.
The most obvious, and one of the most important changes that we currently observe, is the change in buyer personas.
Gen Xers are no longer the predominant decision-makers in firms. According to the Gartner report on the future of sales, millennials have taken over the crucial positions in companies and are now responsible for purchasing decisions.
With this change, we can observe new important trends in how millennials handle buying:
- Millennials prefer tech-savvy sales representatives who are comfortable navigating complex technological terms and can deliver a high-quality product demo remotely.
- They care about diversity and sustainability. Millennials would place their bet on a seller who can meet high quality and sustainability standards.
- They also prefer a problem-solving approach to sales, where sales reps can actually show the value and the impact of their solution on current and pressing business problems.
- Millennials would also base their choice of provider on the research they conduct through their preferred channels. This means that sellers should work on establishing a consistent and informative online presence (web pages, social media, white papers, reports, etc). and good reputation through customer reviews and testimonials.
On the other hand, Gen Xers still control larger budgets. According to Forrester, 25% of Gen X respondents disclosed having signing authority for $1 million or more, while only 11% of millennials confirmed the same.
Together with the generational changes come the shifts in the ways B2B companies provide their services.
With B2C companies offering seamless and high-quality services through digital channels, new standards have emerged for B2B as well.
Buyers are now looking for sellers who can provide the same level of quality and personalization as in B2C.
What’s more, they prefer remote handling of buying decisions, which means that sales leaders should now focus on creating comprehensive remote selling strategies for various industries.
Hyperautomation and Artificial Intelligence
Hyperautomation is yet another trend emerging in B2B tech sales.
Hyperautomation is the term that describes the implementation of various complementary tools that facilitate and boost sales processes and help salespeople be more efficient in executing daily tasks.
The Sales Mastery survey (2022) found that salespeople devote only 32% of their time to selling—another 68% are spent on activities that don't directly impact the revenue.
That's why implementing sales automation promotes better productivity and revenue generation.
At the moment, the major players in the tech market are tools that leverage artificial intelligence. With its help, sales platforms are able to reuse the information collected about the buyer to promote data-driven insights and improve buyer-seller interactions.
More and more B2B sales teams implement AI-powered sales tools in their standard sales processes, which helps them improve customer experience and data quality, automate routine tasks, align sales processes, and even predict future revenue based on the current sales pipeline.
One of the changes in the buyer journey that can be observed today, is the way decision-makers handle purchasing decisions and establish buying processes.
There are a few changes that every sales leader should pay attention to:
- Since sales processes are now almost fully digitalized and buyers became more tech-savvy, their engagement preferences changed. This means that potential customers bring more stakeholders into the evaluation processes and expect more touchpoints from the seller.
- With more people taking part in both selling and buying, the average sales cycle has increased in duration. 75% of responders reported a dramatic increase of their sales cycles in 2021.
Increased digital buying and selling have led to more data processing. Consequently, the increase in digital activity and information storage poses a new challenge - data protection.
To handle the issue, new data regulations emerged to enforce more responsible data handling and processing. In regards to this, sellers must comply with new data regulations to be able to serve clients and stay competitive in the current market environment.
CSOs responsible for mapping out the sales techniques for their teams should invest more resources into AI-based tech solutions. It should be used together with automation software to supercharge sales and help them make educated, data-driven decisions in client communication and negotiations.
Another important step towards a comprehensive tech roadmap is equipping sales with a reliable and high-quality video and audio software and hardware that facilitates client interactions.
According to Gartner within five years, applications, sales processes, data, and analytics will all merge into one crucial concept: AI for sales.
Collaboration is yet another important aspect that is currently in the stage of transformation. Nowadays, buyers expect an increased level of collaboration with sellers.
They prefer the process to be defined by the seller, but also, they would like to determine the timing and next steps themselves.
Go With The Flow
Everything about sales is highly fluid. Often, you can see CSOs spending a tremendous amount of time introducing new playbooks, sales methodologies, and strategies to their sales teams, only to completely shift their priorities and focus in a couple of months. This is all due to fast changes in both business and the world economy.
That’s why to stay highly efficient and profitable, sales teams need to be fast at adapting to industry trends and transformations.
These days, the B2B’s main focus is on new technology and on equipping teams with adequate tools that will facilitate their sales processes.
That’s why Unique always stays in tune with new trends and industry changes to help salespeople achieve their goals and hit the quota faster.
Check out Unique’s capabilities by following the link, or book a demo to start levering AI-fed data right away!