We want you to be more deal closer than sales poser in 2022, someone with the skills and knowhow to keep up with the wave of change that’s washed over the industry in the past two years.
2020 and 2021 haven’t just affected how and where sales teams work, they’ve influenced what buyers expect from us and their preferences when it comes to signing on the dotted line. And they’re also behind these five sales trends you should know as we enter 2022.
1. Adopting a hybrid or fully remote sales model
The vast majority of 2020 and 2021 sent sales teams into survival mode. The attitude was typically to move our offline efforts online in the short term and see how it all pans out. However, fortune often favours the brave, and those who took the plunge to invest in remote working reaped the rewards.
According to HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, investing in remote work paid off for sales leaders. 64% who transitioned to remote selling met or exceeded their revenue targets, while the number was just 50% in those who didn’t.
And so it’s time for everyone else to catch up, to shape their policies and processes around hybrid or remote working, rather than shoehorning the offline model into this new format. 57% of respondents in the survey said their organisation’s sales model would be a hybrid one in the coming year.
Why? It’s a fair question. There are plenty of ways in which remote sales reps can perform more effectively if the right structure is in place. Take organising meetings, for example, using a scheduling link allows prospects to find empty slots in the rep’s calendar, cutting down on the phone calls and follow up emails required for manual meetings.
Without a face-to-face focus, they can often act more time efficiently and also sell on a global scale. However, this is far more helpful if they’ve got tools that help manage time differences or if your remote processes encourage flexibility around working hours when it comes to closing those global deals. Autonomy is a big part of that, you need to give them control over how and when they work – but that also requires some guardrails and best practices that you can set out through remote sales processes, playbooks and policies.
It’s not just remote leaders or reps who benefit from moving towards remote models. The LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021 revealed that 50% of buyers believed remote working had made the purchasing process easier too.
2. Sales reps need to start personalising for and understanding their customer
Think about all those great public speakers you admire. They get the audience, they’re clear and confident in how they communicate about themselves, and they read the situation perfectly. And that’s how you need to approach sales in 2022.
LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2021 revealed the three behaviours that are hammering the nail into deal coffins, according to buyers:
- 48%, delivering misleading information about a product, its price, etc.
- 44%, not understanding my company and its needs.
- 43%, not understanding their own product or service.
So if you want to be more deal closer than deal killer, what’s the solution? A mix of research and personalisation might help. While a good sales rep can read body language in person, you should also look at digital cues and their behaviour data. Which pages did an inbound lead view before they completed your contact form? When are they opening and replying to emails? Are there tools that can tell you when they’re engaging with your site and communications in real-time?
All of these help you provide a more personal experience, especially if you’re researching the company and the contact at the same time. In fact, personalisation is so important that Forbes managed to compile a staggering 50 statistics on its influence, here are a few to whet your appetite:
- 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 personalised messaging.
- 66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalised would stop them from making a purchase.
- 98% of marketers say personalisation advances customer relationships.
- 80% of companies report seeing an uplift since implementing personalisation.
Given the typical number of touchpoints for sales reps, personalisation could really make a difference. For example, reps typically follow up just two or three times after that first meeting, yet 50% of sales happen after the fifth attempt.
3. Social selling while avoiding spam and shortcuts
If you can’t chat about your software over champagne or mingle with potential prospects at an event as you tuck into canapes, how are you going to break the ice?
How about using your social media profiles!? After all, they offer a path to relationship building that cold email simply cannot. You identify a lead on LinkedIn, start off by liking a few posts, move into the comments and when you feel a relationship’s been established, then you might hit them with a direct message.
74% of sellers state they’ll be aiming to expand their social media presence and LinkedIn network in 2021, and you can expect that to continue in 2022. But where you might steal ahead is by viewing it as a separate channel that requires a unique approach. Too often, you’ll receive a message or connection request from someone, and before you’ve even had a chance to reply, they’ve spammed you four or five times. In reality, a slow and steady process that builds over time is likely to be more effective.
31% of B2B professionals say that social selling has allowed them to build deeper relationships with clients. And when those people are ready to move into or through the sales funnel, you’ve skipped the small talk stage and can communicate more effectively around their needs.
There’s also the other side of the social selling coin – building your own profile and making yourself more visible to prospective clients. If you establish yourself as a thought leader, you’re more appealing to prospects! In fact, 92% of B2B buyers would engage with sales professionals who are known industry thought leaders.
4. Showing salespeople some love (right now they feel underappreciated)
It sounds strange to say that salespeople are happy and proud in their roles but feel underappreciated at the same time – they feel like they should be conflicting ideas…
According to Pipedrive’s State of Sales Report 2020-2021, 59% of respondents feel like they became more successful in 2020, 49% feel happier in their role, and a staggering 91% are proud to call themselves a salesperson.
However, 61% feel salespeople are underappreciated in the business world, and the response rate was above 60% in all four regions they surveyed (English, German, Portuguese and Spanish-speaking).
So, what we can assume is that the pandemic gave sales reps an opportunity to flourish and demonstrate their value to businesses, yet they weren’t given sufficient kudos as they reached new heights.
59% believed they’d become more successful at sales during the past 12 months, but the challenge is rewarding that progress. Doing so in 2022 can give your salespeople even more incentive to succeed, it could set you apart as a desirable employer and then help you attract disenchanted reps who choose to leave their current roles.
5. Embracing sales technology trends and changes
It might well link back to our remote workers and just how much time we’ve spent behind laptop screens at home over the last year or two, but buyers have now developed a preference for digital. 41% of sales leaders say their customers now want to communicate digitally more and 38% that their customers want to buy online.
That’s according to Zendesk’s Sales Trends Report 2021, which credits the generational shift and growing roles or responsibilities for Millennials and Gen Z in adding digital savviness to the buying process. Which makes for a far more digital environment!
From a buyer perspective, that may well mean relying more on live chat tools or platforms where questions can be posed and answered on demand. But it also speaks to wider technology sales trends in 2022, such as automation’s growing role in reducing the time spent on manual tasks or giving your reps more tools to drive efficiency and productivity.
In our sweet spot between remote selling, communicating better and embracing technology, we’ve got learning and development within your teams. Sales is arguably one of the departments that benefits most from social learning, from being in an office together and tapping on shoulders to ask for advice from people who’ve been there and done it.
Working remotely makes it more tricky to do so, and that’s why it’s important to use a tool like HowNow to capture insights from your internal experts. Our all-in-one learning platform empowers your people to upload their knowledge alongside all of your sales resources and playbooks, helping reps find the knowledge they need, when they need it most. And given that we integrate with your CRM and other sales tools, they can do it in the flow of work, as they interact with prospects.
We’ll gladly show you where sales enablement meets learning and development with a quick demo of HowNow!