It’s almost the end of a decade - can you believe it? Seriously, ten years have flown by. Think about how much has changed in your own life in just ten short years. Relationships, children, career changes, hobbies and interests…your smartphone...everything has most likely changed or at least evolved.
Now think about where sales development was 10 years ago. If we could put it in three words, they would probably be: manual, relationship-driven, and guerilla. (Ok, that’s four words.) Honestly - for a flashback to the past, just check out this article published in Forbes published in January 2010. The top tip for sales tactics included never give up, serve a guerilla lunch, and...flirting.
Heck, Outreach was only founded in 2011. Take a second to let that blow your mind.
Today? Data-driven, multi-touch, multi-point sequences based in email with calling and social outreach mixed in, built on a stack of technology and automation tools. The industry has fundamentally shifted and we could spend another whole blog discussing this.
But for the time being, let’s just chat for a few minutes about next year and your strategies for growth.
2020 is right around the corner. Are you paying attention to the future trends that will help grow your B2B business next year and beyond? We’re sharing our top 6 picks for sales (and marketing too!) trends that we think will be key strategy drivers for growth.
Outsourcing highly-repetitive labor-intensive tasks
One of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition in 2020 is to outsource those tasks that are highly repetitive in nature and very labor intensive. As mentioned above, technology has enabled a tsunami of efficiency for sales teams.
We aren’t talking about replacing sales executives for bots. Sales still needs humans, building relationships with humans, to make deals happen. We’re just talking about the back-end tasks that can in no time dominate an entire day - lead data gathering, database cleaning / enriching, CRM updating, email content writing and segmentation, etc.
Now would be a good time for you to really take a look at your business processes and how your employees spend their day-to-day life in the workplace. Most businesses will find that they are making inefficient use of their workforce because their staff members are spending time on tasks that do not make the best use of their abilities. By outsourcing these tasks, you ensure that your employees are able to focus on what they do best, which will relate to your core business activities and ultimately your bottom line.
Download our guide: In-House vs. Outsourced Sales Development The Costs You Should Consider
Embrace value selling
Another trend we are going to see more and more of in 2020 is value selling. There are a lot of industries that have experienced a big shift from selling based on transactions to selling based on value. Up until the past couple of years, a lot of the relationships between individual sellers and companies’ brands were enough to generate sales and sustain them.
The buyers would be attracted to the product, and the relationships would be fostered by sellers, taking orders whenever the purchase was initiated by the buyer. Sales developed when a seller was reactive.
However, there has been a big shift in the sales climate. Competition is fierce. There are copycats out there that are quickly replicating service and product innovations. It is becoming more of a challenge than ever before for small B2B businesses to differentiate themselves.
The number one factor today when separating winners from second-place finishers is bringing new perspectives and ideas to buyers. This is the value you need to deliver. This is especially the case considering buyers have reported that more than half of their meetings with sellers do not bring value. This is a big opportunity for you.
Build relationships with current customers
From lead generation to appointment setting, there are many ways you can leverage Leadium to help you get new customers in 2020. But the importance of building strong relationships with your current customers cannot be ignored. Did you know that between 45 and 50 percent of companies lose their customers every five years? This is according to B2B International. This can devastate a company and why you need to place emphasis on nurturing the customers relationships you already have.
How? Hopefully you have now heard of the Customer Success team. And if you haven’t, this is your PSA: you need to have a customer success team to build solid relationships with both your new and current customers, reduce churn, and increase upsell opportunities.
They are responsible for everything from on-boarding new customers, client support on issues / problems with your product or service, proactive communication to them about your company updates, product releases, and team / culture highlights, being a voice of the customer back to your team, developing self-serve knowledge base programs for your customers, and more.
In other words - they fulfill (and exceed) on all the promises that you made during the sales process and create value for your product or service.
Don't be afraid of "Omnichannel"
This one may be a little more for our friends in the B2B eCommerce space, but still has a ton of truth for all of us to pay attention to. Plain and simple, we as humans have gotten used to getting whatever we want, wherever we want it delivered, at the click of a button. B2B sellers are now challenged to deliver the same streamlined customer experiences at different customer touchpoints.
They search for items on their mobile phones, then send RFQs on an eCommerce portal, and negotiate prices in person on a call. They expect matching buying experience on every sales channel and this is why having a strong B2B omnichannel strategy is such a vital foundation for each company’s customer-focused eCommerce.
Delivering Omnichannel Customer Experiences in B2B eCommerce
For example, if you begin a conversation over text, which results in a lead. This customer should then be able to move the conversation to a different device in a different setting without there being any hassle or any time wasted.
Understanding (& selling to) Generation Z
It’s estimated that by 2020, Generation Z will account for 40% of all buyers. Aside from the suggestions that have already been mentioned, SMBs also need to understand Generation Z and how to sell to them. This relates to the current generation, which has been familiar with the web from a very young age and will be reaching adulthood in 2020.
One of the ways that you can do this is through using video. You only need to look at statistics to see that this is the case. While mobile Internet use is very popular today, there is no denying that a lot of transactions still happen via desktop in a B2B environment. Despite this, 48 per cent of B2B buyers will use their smartphones to watch videos.
A few more tips about the way they interact within our current sales environment:
- Generation Z multitasks on five screens, not just one or two. As a result, Gen Z’ers have an attention span of about seven seconds. They experience F.O.M.O., which is a Fear Of Missing Out. Think about this when writing your outbound content.
- Generation Z wants to know that brands financially support the same causes they do. They love to know that their purchases are making a real difference. And if Gen Z’ers can help produce or create the marketing message, they will be more responsive to it.
- Millennials are spenders, whereas Generation Z are much more cost-conscious. They want to “touch and feel” your product or service and will require multiple touchpoints of your brand before making a decision. They want to make sure that they’re buying something high-quality.
B2B marketing and sales catches up with B2C
The final growth hacking and B2B sales trend we are going to take a look at is that of B2B marketing catching up with B2C marketing. Most experts predict that 2020 is the year whereby B2B marketing will finally catch up with the other side of the playing field.
Why? It’s all about personalization. Admit it, we’re all entrenched in personalization when it comes to being individual consumers. Our favorite sites deliver spot-on recommendations “just for you,” the ads that are delivered in your social channels and sidebars are (sometimes creepily) exactly what you are looking for or need at that moment, and the emails you receive are incredibly personalized to the clicks and purchases that you make.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that B2B buyers also expect a more personalized, omnichannel experience (as we have mentioned already).
Mirroring the strategies used when making consumer purchases, B2B buyers are increasingly turning to social media, peer recommendations and mobile apps to gain control of the buying process and gather insights from colleagues.
There are three factors as to why B2B is jumping on the B2C bandwagon:
- Buyers depend on their networks to make decisions. They aren’t buying alone in a siloh. They are looking at customer reviews and case studies in the places they trust and asking for opinions on their online communities.
- Tech, tech, tech. It’s changing buyer and user expectations. They want information immediately and at their fingertips. And they are expecting their B2B interactions to be modern and digital.
- Business is changing from local to global. We are no longer landlocked to the vendors / services / products within a day’s drive or in-person meeting. We are all a click or Zoom away.
We’ve covered a ton and there are likely many more trends to include. The bottom line being that B2B selling and marketing has changed drastically over the past 10 years and will continue to evolve - fast - in the coming decade. Are you ready?