What’s Around the Corner for Sales in 2022?
Keeping up with the sales tendencies is a must for everyone who’s into business. Being in trend can be turned into significant advantage for business owners in today’s ever-evolving and tech-driven economy. So what’s there in the future awaiting for us?
We have put together the hottest trends in sales, including social and hybrid selling, customer relationship marketing, AI, omnichannel approach and much more. Dive in to discover more, as the “best way to predict the future is to create it”. You can use these insights for your sales strategy planning or simply to know what to expect from the sales in your field.
Fortune Favors Audacious Sales Leaders
Two previous years (yes, 2020 and 2021) have put all businesses on an out-of-a-sudden hold, forcing them to go online and rapidly transition to a remote mode. Let’s admit it, it is was a total Hunger Games style survival mode. The attitude was typically to switch from offline to online as fast as possible and see how it will work out.
As you know, fortune often favors the brave, and those businesses who took their chances to invest in remote mode reaped the rewards in the end.
According to HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Report, 64% of businesses who switched to remote selling met or even exceeded their revenue targets, meaning that investments in remote work paid off. 57% of respondents also claimed that the sales model in their company is more likely to turn into a hybrid one in the coming year. At the same time, a LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021 states that 50% of consumers said that remote mode had made the buying process easier.
Organizations that want to stay afloat need to adapt, and thus reshape their processes, policies and approaches according to the rapidly changing environment.
Sales Trends: Smarketing
Times when sales and marketing were fully isolated from each other is over – now these departments cooperate and communicate to achieve their company’s goals. Smarketing is a new generation approach helps generate leads and increase revenues. Marketing teams communicate with the sales reps to create efficient sales funnels and transform their strategies to more down-to-earth and based on concrete real-life situations rather than on general marketing rules. Smarketing helps marketers remove the gaps and decide what’s the best way to generate leads.
Remote, Hybrid, and Social Selling
Hybrid or full remote models have become the new normal, and most businesses understand that the world is never going to be the same, including sales. It may sound weird, as you believe that there’s nothing more effective in selling something to someone than personal touch and tete-a-tete mode. 76% of sales leaders believe that remote sales interactions are as effective as traditional engagement.
Numbers say that remote sales teams can perform even more effectively provided they have favorable circumstances. For example, scheduling meetings with special link helps to cut down on endless phone calls and emails and allows users pick convenient empty time slots in the rep’s online calendar, and makes the entire appointment a five-minute issue. Overall, sales teams can often act more often efficiently and also sell on a global scale provided they’ve got necessary tools and the remote processes encourage autonomy and flexibility around working hours.
Over 90% of people carry our preliminary online research before buying something, and this tendency has made social selling an integral part of the overall sales process. Social media has become an important mediator that connects sellers with potential buyers, i.e., warm leads, who are interested in what you do. Social selling also helps to keep your brand top of mind and increase brand awareness of your potential buyers by actively engaging with people online. This means you get leads of higher quality that potentially increase your sales numbers.
Social selling enables businesses to shape better relationships with consumers, create trust and loyalty, pump up their interest, which will eventually decrease customer churn and translate to higher customer retention rates in the future.
The power of referrals
According to a Demand Generation Report, 70% of B2B companies claim that referrals convert better and close faster than other type of lead. At the same time, a warm referral increases the changes of your success up to four times, meaning businesses need to pay specific attention to their loyalty programs and engagement with existing customers. If your consumers are happy with what you are doing, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
The year 2021 proved that buying and selling processes are moving to the world of digital at the speed of light. A large percentage of the buyer’s journey is now independent due to huge Gigabytes of information available about the goods or services online, so it’s impossible to predict exactly when a buyer will enter the funnel – it can happen any time. On top of that, buyers are no longer tied to a single channel. 73% of customers check with different channels when searching for a product. Companies with multiple channel sales manage to keep 89% of their clients. Yes, people like the feeling when they have choice, so why not set up a wide-range of different channels to serve buyers so that they can choose. You need to ensure consistency of customer experience and provide the choice of switching different channels without losing any information for a seamless buying experience.
Salespeople should take this into account when developing their sales strategy for 2022. Different buyers have different preferences, which means they can’t expect the same approach to work for everybody. Millennials live through technology and are the most likely customer segment to try new technological features that you offer. 68% of Millennials prefer a more integrated shopping experience, and here’s where your omnichannel sales strategy comes into play. Offer them a seamless shopping experience that focuses on technology. At the same time, Generation Z now makes up 32% of the global population, and they have a collective $45 billion in spending power. They represent a huge sector of the consumer population, and they are spending more and more. They are digitally entrenched, with an affinity for content from sites like YouTube and Instagram.
AI is capable of performing 40% of sales tasks, so its massive impact on sales numbers is not underestimated by businesses today. AI solutions can help with processes and tasks automation of sales teams and is projected to be at 139% for the next three years. Besides, smart tech assists in collecting valuable data on customers that you will further use to create marketing strategies and increase your sales. AI robots can also offer suggestions to customers based on their recent transactions, improve customer satisfaction, predict trends in your sector to help you stay ahead of the game, identify leads with a higher chance of conversion, and boost your team’s productivity by automating repetitive tasks.
Despite AI being so helpful for modern sales teams, it’s crucial to keep the balance between human workers and intelligent robots, not to follow the scenario of Skynet in Terminator 2.
Implementation of artificial intelligence solutions is able to uncover new opportunities in terms of sales and marketing. Data-analytics strategy and machine learning helps to mine behavioral data from sales and marketing, enabling businesses to survey large numbers of individual deals and sales rep interactions (emails, phone calls, meetings, for example).
Data-powered approach allows companies to find specific and effective patterns in their deals and generate insights on which behaviors can help win deals and increase customer satisfaction. These data-driven insights can then help sales leaders to steer and coach their sales force in a way that will drive both top-and bottom-line growth.
Modern Sales Tech Stack
Progressive businesses are actively fortifying their sales tech stacks to stay afloat in today’s competitive sales environment by deploying technologies that cover the entire end-to-end sales process. Improper that you use for sales do not only throw you back to the Stone Age, but significantly interfere with the sales processes making them too slow, outdated and ineffective, sometimes ending up in losing warm leads or even loyal customers. Your call center reps do not just make calls with a regular phone, but are using digital call center solution, right?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Using Word Docs or notebooks for customer management today is like trying to start Tesla with a Flintstone mode (with bare feet). Most businesses today have switched to tool-driven customer management enabling them to faster and more effective customer relationship management. CRM makes it easy to access all the necessary data in a centralized system, for example HubSpot, Pipedrive or Zendesk. As it also stores customer data, so CRM can suggest products based on the purchase history and improve your relationships with customers by giving you a complete understanding of their pains and preferences.
Remote Coaching Tools for Sales Teams
It’s continuous improvement that drives the world, isn’t it? You need to educate your sales people, whether on new tools you’re introducing or on new sales strategies that you’re incorporating or simply regularly train them on tricky situations that may occur with clients.
While cold calls are still in the top as the one of the most effective sales approach, business do not ignore an opportunity to increase expertise of their sales teams by providing efficient remote coaching.
With Ring.io you can not only coach sales reps by listening in on live sales calls, but instantly help them during the call without interrupting the conversation. Ring.io also automatically records inbound and outbound calls and makes them easily accessible in Salesforce.
Video for Sales
The rise of remote interactions during the past two years has elevated the power of video as a way to connect with customers: digital interactions have increased by 41% since the pandemic began. International lockdowns have sent the world into a global video-mode: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, YouTube, Google Meet, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Videos and Screencasts
An image is worth a thousand words. The standard for videos is 24 frames per second, so you can imagine how much information a short video clip can communicate. The year 2021 witnessed video stepping into the world of sales, and it’s here to stay, so it’s highly recommended to incorporate videos into your sales process.
Podcasts and Webinars
Webinars and podcasts have seen such an huge rise in popularity in 2021. This trend is expected to grow further in 2022. A single webinar can generate over 500 leads, and nearly 73% of B2B marketers say those leads are high-quality. Generate more leads with a topic that prospects find interesting, and one that you have expertise in. An effective approach to webinar-aided lead generation is to include native promotion of your product in them. Avoid focusing webinars entirely on your products, but you can still present your product as a solution.
Today’s consumer is not after super discounts, but seeking a more meaningful connection with businesses. Companies should align with the strategies that will foster human connections rather than just B2B or B2C aspects. Brands are now being personalized and consumers like to see such human traits in them as reliability, honesty, empathy, humility, and compassion. People want brands to demonstrate more genuine care and stand for more than just turning a certain revenue.
TOP-5 of Forbes’ statistics on personalization influence on sales:
- 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.
- 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.
- 66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalized would stop them from making a purchase.
- 98% of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships.
- 80% of companies report seeing an uplift since implementing personalization.
When your potential consumers receive a proper personalized experience, they are more likely to do business with you (nearly half of all buyers), as they feel that you care. As long as you can offer them convenience, speed, helpfulness, and friendly service, getting personal can take you a long way.
At the same time, it’s crucial to avoid brand loyalty killers, outlined in the LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2021. There are three behaviors that will kill their brand loyalty, such as:
- misleading information about a product – 48%;
- not understanding my company and its needs – 44%;
- not understanding their own product or service – 43%.
Data shows that 87% of high-growth companies use the value-based approach by showing customers the direct benefits or personal value they can get from using products or services.
Value-based selling overcomes the problem of prospects refusing to buy because of higher prices. Remember that advanced sales reps sell not the features or services, they sell customer experiences and the great outcomes their product creates for the buyer.
You can’t travel to the future to find out what’s the next big thing in sales, then go back in time and pull the rug from under your competition. What you can do is take to heart the hottest sales trends today and use them to your advantage in the future.