It’s fair to say the last few years have been turbulent for everyone. Not just in sales. Yet, we salespeople are still adjusting. Due to the pandemic, many are still struggling with their new reality. Whether that’s closing offices, going online, restructuring teams, or finding more digital-based ways of dealing with customers. All these changes have impacted B2B sales. So it’s crucial to stay ahead of changes and stay in the know. Discover the 13 biggest b2b sales trends you should keep up with this year below.
- The B2B Buying Process Explained: 9 Influencing Stages & Factors
- What is a Digital Sales Room? The Future of B2B Sales
- 7 Effective Sales Training Techniques All Managers Should Be Using
Top B2B Sales Trends to Watch | Table of Contents
- 1. Omnichannel is Everything
- 2. Customer-Driven Sales Process
- 3. Customer Success
- 4. Digital Self-Service Dominates
- 5. Increasing Use of Sales AI Personalisation For Better UX
- 6. Account-Based Marketing Boosts Sales & Keeps Costs Down
- 7. Regular Sales Coaching
- 8. Less Physical Locations
- 9. Social Selling is a Key Component
- 10. Efficient Video Conferencing Is Essential
- 11. More Virtual Sales Reps
- 12. Digital Sales Rooms Rise Up
- 13. Content is King
1. Omnichannel is Everything
Your buyers’ preferences are everything. Yet, with B2B Sales, keeping up with what your buyers want is tricky. That’s because, unlike in real life, your B2B client can enter the sales funnel at any point in the digital world.
To make it worse, they can also enter the funnel using any channels you are present on. For example, some customers prefer to view videos, while others are more interested in blog posts, ebooks, or visual presentations.
Overall, the average customer has become more unpredictable and uses various channels to research a solution. So you should respond by increasing the number of digital touchpoints with your prospects to catch them everywhere.
However, be warned. Another key B2B sales trend is that customers have become more impatient with customer service. About 90%* consider immediate responses to their questions a deciding factor when purchasing. So ensure you can reply quickly when customers do touch in with you!
Also read: How To Generate More Leads In Uncertain Times
2. Customer-Driven Sales Process
One significant B2B sales trend this year is adopting Customer-Centric Selling strategies. Especially suitable for companies that want to stay relevant, engaging and afloat. That’s why many are adopting approaches that personalise the customers’ journey at every pipeline stage.
3. Customer Success
You might already know that acquiring one new customer is often anywhere from 5x to 25x more expensive than retaining an existing one. With this fact alone, it’s easy to understand why B2B sales teams need to start viewing customer success from the lens of generating revenue. Instead of mistakenly considering it a costly, time-consuming expense. Especially when we know B2B sales cycles are usually long and involve multiple decision makers.
That’s where customer success comes in. While, sure, your company must have exceptional sales and marketing to be successful. It isn’t enough to sustain growth in a buyer-first, digital-forward world where customers have endless options and information at their fingertips.
Investing in customer success and having a genuine interest in helping customers succeed in every interaction. They will become your biggest advocates, helping reduce churn rates, improve renewal and satisfaction, and boost revenue.
4. Digital Self-Service Dominates
90% of B2B customers start their B2B buying journey with an online search. So it’s clear to say that, in this digital-first world, buyers prefer to self-serve. They want to research the solution to their problems online rather than having face-to-face interactions with sales reps.
More so, it’s predicted that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.* To compete and succeed with digital self-service, your customer portal must provide your customers with a personalised ordering process.
Alongside, having the ability to personalise offers, promotions, prices, and payment terms can help to up-sell and cross-sell products. As well as encourage product trials and increase basket size, which ultimately all adds up to more revenue.
5. Increasing Use of Sales AI Personalisation For Better UX
With many businesses now online and solely digital-only, increasing their online presence is becoming more critical. More so, they must respond to and improve customer expectations regarding their website usability, social media presence and the quality of the content they share.
Overall, if you want to remain relevant and just as engaging as your competitors, you’ll want to follow this B2B sales trend. To do so, ensure you have an easy-to-use website, streamlining its navigation to suit your users best.
6. Account-Based Marketing Boosts Sales & Keeps Costs Down
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a marketing tactic focusing primarily on a group of target accounts within a particular market. The purpose behind ABM is to plan and engage different accounts with personalised campaigns and messaging.
The key to making ABM successful is ensuring proper alignment between an organisation’s sales and marketing teams and ensuring that both teams align with common goals.
As the sales and marketing teams target the same prospects and send out the same messaging, closing deals will become much more manageable.
Account-based marketing is a B2B sales trend because most large target accounts involve several decision-makers. We all know this often slows down the sales process and makes the prospect less likely to convert. But with account-based marketing, your marketing team can immediately hone in on the primary decision-maker. Helping to significantly speed up the sales process and your overall chance of making a sale.
You must first target your marketing towards your target account list to achieve the benefits. A process involving implementing content strategies that help prospects move through the sales funnel. Again, this approach includes personalised messaging and data collection, which will ultimately help sales reps lead conversations to closed deals.
While this sounds like hard work, much of these tasks can be carried out automatically by connecting to your CRM.
7. Regular Sales Coaching
In general, B2B sales are advanced. Sales reps now have to understand, navigate and meet clients’ demands with complex products. At the same time, balancing the effects of the buying process is shifting its control towards customers.
As a result, now more than ever, reps need to be hitting the ground running, and the only way to do that is regular sales coaching.
When you provide effective sales coaching, team members become more autonomous and self-sufficient—ultimately empowering the individual to take ownership of the necessary actions. This approach makes them more likely to do it and be happy with the result. After all, no one likes to be told what to do.
Overall, regular coaching using one of the most popular coaching models is one of the most powerful tools managers have at their disposal in 2022.
8. Less Physical Locations
Unpredictable and successive covid restrictions and subsequent lockdowns have made many realise they can still function without a physical work location.
9. Social Selling is a Key Component
Social Selling isn’t new by any means. Yet, if your company still isn’t online, engaging with customers and generally inhabiting the market. Customers won’t recognise you as a brand they can trust. When they come to purchase a similar product or service, they won’t choose your company.
So for this B2B sales trend, you must remember that proper brand awareness and recognition go a long way. To achieve this, ensure you’re applying Social Selling best practices and gradually warm up your prospects. Always post valuable content, showcase your expertise in online groups, and answer people’s burning questions.
10. Efficient Video Conferencing Is Essential
With the rise of remote and virtual selling, video conferencing has become a key tool for success. So much so that 3 out of 4 B2B buyers prefer online video meetings over audio or phone. That’s because sales presentations, customer support, and account management need an alternative to traditional face-to-face interactions.
As such, in 2022, businesses should be working towards developing intimate, personalised interactions by using video conferencing software effectively.
Just remember, the little things will make you look much more professional on your next video call. Here are our top tips to look great on video calls. Whether’s a virtual meeting with a prospect, a team meeting, delivering virtual training, or doing a video interview:
11. More Virtual Sales Reps
With buyers rapidly adapting to their new normal, the need for sales reps to adapt also increases. More so, the acceleration of omnichannel interactions has seen the need for virtual sales reps who can liaise with customers wherever they are. For example, with the help of phone, chatbot apps, and video conferencing.
Why does this matter? Well, if we consider a recent study from a big group of B2B buyers. It shows that 73% of participants who make the last decision are millennials, and more than half of them are sole B2B Decision-Makers. (HBR)
So while in-person sales will likely not disappear, you need to be able to meet customer expectations wherever they are and make remote interactions as intimate as in-person experiences to be successful.
12. Digital Sales Rooms Rise Up
Digital Sales Rooms (DSRs) are secure, shared online customer-facing content portals where sellers display essential sales collateral to enhance their interactions with prospects and stakeholders. In simple terms, a shared virtual space where sellers and buyers can meet, communicate and make sales with remote customers. The DSR works as a living, interactive resource, creating a streamlined and convenient purchasing experience within a secure microsite.
The future of B2B sales is buyer-centric and becoming increasingly remote. According to research by McKinsey, 70% of business decision-makers are open to self-serve or making remote purchases over $50,000. At the same time, 27% would spend more than $500,000. A stance solidified by the fact that in most cases, a buyer has already had 27 information-gathering interactions before talking to a salesperson.
As a result, only about 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales. What does this mean for sales teams? Well, now, more than ever, we have to change how we sell to suit buyers’ needs. Taking this approach to improving sales engagement with a digital sales room has several key benefits.
13. Content is King
If you didn’t know by now, content is everything when it comes to sales enablement. That’s because, on average, 41% of B2B buyers always read at least 3 pieces of content before contacting a salesperson. More so, while customers are busy researching the solution to their problems, 70% of these B2B buyers state that they find and digest content directly from a vendor’s website before buying. (99 Firms)
So ultimately, you must create a wide range of content for your users. Otherwise, you’ll miss out. But, rather than aiming for sheer quantity, you should focus on quality content that’s interesting, useful and original. Remember, the purpose of sales enablement content is to arm your sales team with the tools, data, and content they need to enhance their sales process while growing your brand recognition and authority.
Here are some of the best types of sales enablement to start creating today if you haven’t already:
Blog posts are invaluable for every stage of the sales process. Especially considering they have a long shelf life when constructed well. However, they do not replace your sales team’s expert advice.
As such, you should perceive them as an additional tool that prospects and customers can access anywhere and anytime.
Overall, long-form blog posts are necessary for educating prospects. They are often crafted collaboratively by salespeople, product specialists, and technical service experts.
White Papers are an excellent tool for early prospects to use as gated content. They’re deeply rooted in research, analysis, and statistics that are useful and easy to understand. Overall, they’re instrumental in advancing the prospect through the sales cycle.
Here are a few tips to accelerate the sales process using content:
- Include videos in product pages to help explain what the product is all about. More so, how it can find a solution for the customers’ pain points.
- Share content on social media platforms like LinkedIn, where many B2B decision-makers are actively present. It is also an easy way to increase brand recognition and pursue prospects.
Salespeople need reputable references to share with prospects, so Case Studies of past customers are essential. Preferably in the format of video testimonials or written documents. Overall, they should outline the benefits customers will gain from using your company’s products and services.
For example, an ideal case study structure would be:
- Explain the customer’s particular challenge.
- Question how your team would have handled this situation.
- The positive result.
Social Media Posts
Social Media is a central communication tool for everyone around the globe. So if you share the right content with their connections (particularly long-form blog posts and videos), you’ll help prospects engage and understand your offering.
Develop B2B Sales Skills Virtually to Increase Sales
Get the Team Certified in SOCO Selling
Sales is a skill that needs to be learnt, practised and mastered. In our 5 course Sales Accelerator pack, we include the skills all sales professionals and small business owners need to master to be effective in sales. Learn more about our Sales Accelerator pack here.