Sales roles may be some of the oldest positions in business, but that doesn’t mean sales techniques have remained the same. Over the years a number of innovations have come and gone, some destined to remain brief fads while others have ingrained themselves into the fabric of a sales professional’s process. When evaluating which sales industry trends to adopt, pay special attention to these four that are already energizing sales careers everywhere.
Social Selling Increases
These days, prospects can be reached in many different ways through a number of various channels. However, social media has emerged as one of the most effective sales tools in a sales rep’s arsenal. Studies show that 73% of salespeople who used social as part of their selling process outperformed their peers who did not. The reason for this high rate of success comes down to modern buying patterns that rely increasingly on mobile and digital channels. In fact, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now conducted digitally.
Utilizing social as part of the selling process means you meet prospects where they are to foster a relationship in a lower-pressure environment. In order to harness the full power of social, it’s necessary to always keep customer service top of mind. One negative exchange could create massive ripple effects if that person voices their distaste across your social channels. It takes effort to be personable and properly research a prospect before engaging with them, but focusing on these aspects instead of trying to close a sale as fast as possible will help to reap more rewards from your effort.
Sales and Marketing Lines Blur
The increasing importance of social selling underscores an adjacent trend that sees the lines between sales and marketing departments blur. Working in sales, you’re ideally connected to an organization that supports you with various marketing initiatives such as content marketing and Search Engine Optimization that can draw prospective clients to you. When only 33% of your time as a sales professional is actually spent selling, marketing can help your productivity by allowing you to focus on what you do best instead of chasing uncertain leads.
74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. This is why 57% of sales and marketing executives say high-quality content is a top driver of sales. When sales and marketing communicate appropriately, a salesperson will already know a great amount about a lead such as what specific ads or campaigns they’ve seen from the company. This background information sets up a sales pro to make a more informed and effective initial contact, whether it be through email, phone, or LinkedIn message.
Data and Analytics Bolster Effectiveness
Every call, email, and interaction with a prospect produces a great amount of raw data that, when appropriately analyzed, can be tremendously effective in closing more deals. Metrics such as voicemail return rate and dials-to-appointments ratios can provide insight to adapt subsequent messaging when making calls. Further, predictive analytics are being put in place in many sales processes, allowing for accurate sales forecasting and decreased uncertainty. Data analysis can uncover buyer purchasing habits and allow a sales professional to know the best way to reach a prospect or the most probable time that they are available. And there’s potential for much more.
Specialization and Adaptation Become Critical
When they’re considering a sales proposition, prospective clients are responding less and less to one-size-fits-all approaches. Their business is in a certain industry, and they’re producing a specific kind a product or providing a particular service. A business will respond more strongly to a salesperson who is focused on selling in their exact industry or sector, instead of a generalist. Sales approaches that are customized to the prospect’s environment position a salesperson as an industry peer, building a trust that is essential to closing any deal.
Buyers are more educated on their options than ever, and therefore, they are more empowered. They are running their own analytics and researching your competitors. For a sales rep, there is a strong need to stand out and provide a specialized experience for that potential client. Providing extra value by understanding an organization’s pain points and how they can be solved before you even reach out to that prospect is key in fostering a unique experience. Finally, it’s often necessary to adapt to the prospect at various points in the sales journey. After all, their buying process may not align with your typical sales funnel.
Sales Industry Trends Impacting Your Career
Change is never easy, and can sometimes feel like a disrupter for the sales pro who is in a groove. But you didn’t become successful in this industry by settling for the status quo. Current sales industry trends hold the power to take your numbers and career to the next level, especially when you sell for an experienced firm at the top of their game.