If there is one department in business whose importance cannot be overlooked, it is sales. They are vital to both sales organizations and sales leaders alike because they are a function of the revenue equation, and profitability provides a path to accelerate growth and help establish customer loyalty. As a result, most companies invest heavily in their sales departments in terms of training B2B sales leaders and financing.
No doubt, the sales industry has evolved over the past few years, particularly due to the pandemic that has wreaked havoc over economies and new sales technologies across the globe. The change in circumstances has necessitated adjustments in the manner of doing business, especially on the part of B2B sales, if companies are to remain relevant and afloat in 2022. It has led to massive adoption of emerging trends, such as hybrid working, video prospecting, virtual events, etc.
It is now more important than ever for B2B sales leaders to be familiar with issues such as sales talent, sales forecasting, sales efficiency, sales enablement, and sales resources. With that in mind, there are several aspects that B2B sales leaders should prioritize in 2022 if they are to obtain the best results out of their sales efforts. These are discussed below.
One thing for sure is that the pre-pandemic days of selling will never return. Any hope of them doing so can only be categorized as wishful thinking. The events of the past few years have simply accelerated where the B2B sales industry has always been headed all along.
If business leaders are to ensure that their organizations remain relevant in 2022, there is no doubt that one of the areas they should focus their energies on is hybrid selling. It is a blend of both in-person and virtual selling.
According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report, 48% of sales personnel closed deals of $500,000 and above without having to meet the buyer in person. In addition, 50% of B2B buyers also reported that remote work made the purchasing process easier for them. These statistics make it clear that hybrid selling is gradually taking a central role in the world of business.
Proponents of hybrid selling recommend that business organizations combine the best of in-person and virtual selling and customize the experience to suit your client’s needs. To guarantee success in hybrid selling, sales leaders should understand that the strategy is not only about where the sales team works but their operational efficiency as well. Some key concepts that B2B sales leaders should incorporate into their hybrid selling models for the best results are described as follows.
As part of their hybrid selling efforts, B2B sales leaders should focus on strengthening their relationships with clients. With business going global due to digital transformation, there is a need to ensure that you meet and engage with your existing customers in more places than previously. Relationships that are more than just transactional should be at the core of their hybrid selling strategy. They should be meaningful and long-term.
Have a clear lead prioritization policy
It is also paramount to have a clear lead prioritization policy in the sales department if you pursue a hybrid selling strategy. In the absence of the latter, confusion might arise among the sales team: to prioritize in-person or virtual sales leads. While either of the two will do, depending on the nature of your business, establishing a clear work path is always best for success.
Alignment of all of your touchpoints
Sales managers should also synchronize all the touchpoints in line with their hybrid selling solutions. This means that their internal systems, websites, marketing, lead generation strategy, and other top priorities should be aligned in such a manner that the business’s prospects of closing sales either in person or virtually are impressively high.
Equip your team with the right tools
There is also a need to ensure that your sales teams are fully equipped to carry out their day-to-day tasks and guide clients through the sales process off-site. Failure to put an efficient operations model in place that will support the hybrid selling efforts will hinder the business’ capabilities to get maximum results.
No doubt, as with any other business aspect, B2B sales leaders should have an open feedback loop to encourage stakeholders to report their assessments of the company’s selling strategy. Such a move will enable the business to quickly identify areas that require optimization. It is also paramount to highlight that the feedback channels should cater to both in-person and virtual customers.
New sales tech
As mentioned before, the sales industry is rapidly evolving. Therefore, there is a need for sales executives to harness the trending B2B sales tools that have been developed over the years if they are to further oil their revenue engine. There are several sales technologies that decision-makers should consider for use in 2022, and these are explained below.
Real-time sales tech
Business leaders should be on the lookout for real-time sales tech in 2022. The future of selling is definitely focused on customer interactions with live support. The emergence of conversational intelligence has proved to be a powerful tool in enhancing customer experience.
Real-time interaction should be among the strategies at the top of the list when it comes to connecting with prospective customers.
Use of artificial intelligence in sales
Companies should also embrace artificial intelligence as part of their efforts to incorporate sales tech solutions. This technology is augmenting numerous time-consuming sales processes, enabling your team to have adequate time to focus on other crucial aspects of the business. In general, some of the advantages of using artificial intelligence in sales include increasing your lead volume and close rate and boosting your team’s performance.
With most business aspects going digital, leaders can utilize customer data to power their sales intelligence efforts. This includes using software that analyzes troves of data, such as calls, videos, and emails, to identify sales opportunities. It is an effective tool in business lead generation and should be embraced by a sales organization that values an insights-driven selling system.
If you are a B2B sales leader and you haven't incorporated social selling into your strategy, it is the perfect time to do so. Brand influencers, who mainly thrive on social media platforms, have become invaluable aspects of the revenue-generating engine. While it is a successful strategy to engage popular personalities to help your company drive sales, it is also crucial for managers to encourage and empower their teams to leverage their social media presence and build strong personal brands across the platforms.
However, organizations should not overlook the importance of properly training their teams if they are to have effective social selling campaigns. This will help them avoid common mistakes and get the best out of their efforts.
In the sales process, it’s the buyers who decide whether or not to proceed with the purchase decision. For this reason, influential research on intent data is gradually taking up an increasingly important role in the sales process. To close sales, marketing teams should go beyond interaction with customers on social media platforms to delving into other complex aspects, such as behavioral data. It will avail them of the much-needed insights that will help them personalize their outreach efforts.
Making salespeople more effective
B2B sales leaders should also prioritize making their teams more effective in 2022. A haphazard approach where there are no metrics to measure performance should be discarded with the contempt it deserves in favor of a result-oriented one. Business leaders should ensure effectiveness by assessing their seller productivity against a clear set of targets or goals. It will also involve making the tough decisions of letting go of non-performers if it’s in the organization's best interest. There are also organizations such as Belkins that can assist in making your salespeople more effective in quest of the much-needed results.
B2B sales leaders strategy options
No doubt, there is a need for B2B sales leaders to come up with strategies of how to function if they are to get the best results in 2022. There are various pathways that every forward-looking sales organization should explore in the year. These include hybrid selling, the new sales tech, intent data, sales intelligence, and making your marketing team more effective.
Incorporating these strategies will go a long way in that the business thrives financially. However, it is paramount to highlight that for the best outcome, the strategies should not be implemented singularly but using a concerted approach.