2020 has already been a wild ride. It’s been a year of challenges, changes, and a test in adapting quickly to new ways of life.
In this article, we cover 5 of the top sales trends we are seeing this year. Some of these are the product of the immediate, new landscape we all find ourselves in. Others are the result of our continuously changing profession of sales.
1. Relationship Building
With the advent of the internet, email, and social media, we saw a rise in the use of mass marketing as a tool for increasing sales. Practically, this meant generic emails being sent to mass contact lists, social media ads targeting vast audiences, and a general approach of ‘more is more’.
Over the last few years, we have seen a backlash against this trend, as customers demand to be treated more as human beings rather than being viewed as part of a mass audience.
Customer demand has resulted in a trend that takes sales back to a more traditional form, focusing on building strong personal relationships with customers, often on a one-to-one basis. Although more traditional in its approach, modern tools are being applied to increase efficiency and improve communication.
Generally, customers are not as loyal to brands as they once were, however as they increasingly demand a more personalized experience, this could change in the coming years. There is a focus on increasing the immediate and lifetime value of each customer in order to facilitate the effort and resources needed to build more personal relationships.
Building better relationships with customers will require personalization, both in communications and in the products and services you offer.
Artificial intelligence is already being used widely by technologically advanced businesses to create products and services that better achieve their objectives and therefore are considerably easier to sell.
For example, Facebook uses AI and machine learning to better understand users and then offers advertisers the ability to reach those who are most likely to purchase or engage in their product or service.
Technologies are also being applied to great effect by allowing sales and marketing professionals to personalize their communication with customers. For example, conversational marketing tools such as Drift are being used to personalize customers’ online experience, helping them find the right product, service, or solution for them. Ultimately, this level of personalization leads to higher quality leads and better-educated customers, making sales professionals jobs easier.
3. Attention on Social Media
In 2020, social media continues to grab our attention in a way never seen before. As social platform algorithms become better at serving us the content we want, need, and enjoy, these platforms are earning more of our attention on a daily basis.
Although some businesses can benefit directly from an established presence on social media platforms such as those in the fast-moving consumer goods space (FMCG) using Facebook and Instagram, sales professionals in other industries are starting to adopt social selling as a key part of their sales toolbox.
Social selling allows you to tap into the attention that social media has developed, allowing for great avenues of communication and the development of better relationships. In 2020 we are seeing more sales professionals from the B2B space also tapping into this trend.
4. Integration & Collaboration with Marketing
Although many businesses still maintain stand-alone marketing and sales teams, the areas between them are becoming increasingly blurred.
For many businesses, this grey area has caused some conflict over the years, especially when it comes to which part of the sales and marketing process each team is responsible for delivering. In 2020 we are seeing sales and marketing teams integrate more fully, sharing responsibilities and working together to the greater benefit of the business.
Sales teams are seeing a great benefit from working with marketing more closely. A solid sales and marketing partnership facilitates better sharing of insights into market trends, customer wants and needs, leading to better quality leads and higher revenues.
“Top-performing salespeople believe they receive better leads from marketing. Almost all (94%) of the top performers surveyed in the LinkedIn study called the marketing leads they receive either “excellent” or “good” – LinkedIn, 2020
With high levels of personalization also taking place in marketing, many activities are now considered both a sales and marketing activity. For example, email marketing can now be so heavily personalized that the difference between a marketing and sales email is practically invisible.
5. Remote Selling
Global events, trends, and shifts in focus have made meeting person-to-person more difficult in 2020. With everything from limiting business for environmental purposes to international pandemics restricting our movement and ability to meet face-to-face.
The international and all-encompassing nature of some of these events has created a huge opportunity for the businesses that facilitate remote working and help professionals increase efficiency from their desk, leading to some significant advances in the technologies available from Zoom’s video conferencing to our own text expansion tool.
This year sales professionals have been faced with the new challenges of building multiple, profitable relationships in a new, digitally focused way.
Top Sales Trends
Technology is helping the sales professional advance at an ever-increasing rate. Although these tools can increase productivity, develop better communication, and facilitate more and bigger sales, the fundamentals of selling remain the same.
How have you changed how you sell in 2020?
Wondering whether any of these trends are contributing to your growth? Find out how to calculate your company sales growth rate.