7 Essential Facts B2B Salespeople Should Know in 2020
Being a sales professional has changed drastically over the years.
From product focused selling and limited buyer touch points to solution-based selling and personalized buying journeys, the sales landscape has evolved.
What does that mean for salespeople in 2020 and beyond?
It means that sales professionals must become agile and adaptable.
It’s not enough to have effective selling skills.
Sales pros need the ability to assess a sales situation and then apply the right skill, at the right time, with the right decision-maker.
On top of that, sales professionals must have the ability to seamlessly transition from one skill to another.
For example, the decision-making process has become increasingly complex. That means you must engage with a variety of stakeholders who have differing opinions, perspectives, and motivations about their challenges and how they would approach solving those challenges.
Your ability to be agile and adaptable is what drives sales momentum and creates deal flow.
All that being said, there are certain things that salespeople need to know as we enter another new year with more big changes on the horizon.
We’ve identified seven high-level considerations all sales pros should keep in mind. Each of the seven are supported by a few additional facts and figures that take a closer look at why these are important.
1. The best sales reps know they need to be where the buyer is.
- 92% of B2B buyers are using social media platforms specifically to engage with thought leaders in their industry.
- 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by social media when making a purchasing decision.
- 31% of B2B professionals said that social selling allowed them to build deeper relationships with their clients.
- Reps that incorporate social media into their sales process exceed quota 23% more often.
Bottom line: Be an omni-channel seller. Identify where your prospects and customers are talking about their business. Join that community, whether it’s a social media network or an in-person networking group. Then, work towards connecting with your audience and building relationships.
2. Buyers are coming into the sales process not only knowing more about your product but also about how others are using it.
- 94%of B2B buyers conduct some degree of research online before making a business purchase.
- 60%of B2B buyers are only ready to talk to a salesperson once they’ve done their own research and are well into their buyer’s journey.
- 70% of the decision-making process is made up of researching digital content and utilizing social channels like LinkedIn to get access to key information.
Bottom line: Be a valuable resource to your prospects and customers. Focus on helping them through their buying journey by answering their questions and sharing helpful information. Work with your marketing team to help them create content with the information that your buyers want and need to know while they are considering and comparing your product, service, or solution.
3. Sellers need to embrace new tools, technology, and training.
- Top salespeople are 24% more likely to attribute their success to sales technology: 82% percent of top salespeople cite sales tools as ‘critical’ to their ability to close deals, compared with 66% overall.
- Top salespeople are more likely to use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, productivity apps, social selling tools, sales intelligence tools and by the widest margin: Email tracking tools.
- For every dollar a company invests in training, it receives about $4.53 in return – which is equivalent to a 353% ROI.
Bottom line: This is where being open, agile, and adaptable plays a critical role in your success as a sales professional. Leveraging new tools, technology, and training to help you accelerate your sales momentum is the only way you can gain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced selling environment. Don’t make selling harder than it has to be. Automated menial tasks. Track your emails so you know what’s working and what’s not. Use your CRM to organize and prioritize your prospects and opportunities. Commit to learning and training.
4. The sales operations and sales enablement teams will become increasingly important to the success of the sales team.
- Companies with a sales enablement team are 52% more likely to have a sales process that’s tightly aligned with the buyer’s journey.
- The largest gap between top performing companies and under-achievers (57% vs. 40%) lies in integrating sales intelligence and the CRM platform.
- Companies with a dedicated sales enablement function improved their sales training effectiveness by 29%. [SMA]
Bottom line: The sales operations and sales enablement teams directly impact what the sales team does. This means communication between all teams is essential. Sales ops and enablement must deeply understand the daily challenges and goals of the sales team, and the sales team must be open-minded to changes and suggestions about the sales process, pipeline, and procedures in place while also providing honest feedback for the sales ops team to take action on.
5. The number one thing clients want from salespeople is to be educated on new ideas and perspectives.
- Buyers feel salespeople are most likely to earn their trust by demonstrating high levels of knowledge about their products and services (74%) and the buyer’s organization (52%).
- One of the key reasons buyers connect with vendors is for insight on the use of products or services to solve business problems.
Bottom line: Sales professionals who take a stance and form a unique perspective or point-of-view about a particular issue in their industry will win every time. This is what your buyers are looking for. They want an expert and thought leader who is willing to share insights and ideas. Buyers don’t want a salesperson who is simply there to take an order. They want a highly specialized professional who can support, guide, and advise them about their business.
6. Superior customer experience is a top priority.
- 71%of B2B businesses think that a simple-to-use website is one of their most valuable selling features.
- By the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
- 73% of B2B executives say they want a personalized, B2C-like customer experience.
- More than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from only 36% in 2010!
- 62% of companies will now invest to meet the changing needs of customers.
Bottom line: As the sales landscape changes, your success as a sales professional is driven by your ability to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Your responsibilities may start with generating qualified opportunities and making sales, but they end with delivering the right solution and retaining customers. And that comes down to whether the customer had a good or bad experience with you specifically, but your company in general.
7. Data-driven sales provides a competitive advantage.
- Companies that inject data into their sales are 5-6% more profitable than their competitors.
- 40% of organizations indicate that scattered information and limited visibility into data impair their sales organization. Even more concerning, 56% of sales executives are dissatisfied with their ability to offer valuable, data-driven insights.
- Analytics is well-suited to improving the accuracy of lead generation and automating pre-sales processes as companies use rich data sets to identify the right customer at the right time.
Bottom line: Sales teams can no longer rely on intuition to guide them through the sales process. As data continues to power nearly every aspect of businesses today, it’s also becoming an indispensable asset when it comes to sales. For instance, in terms of lead generation data allows you to know more about your prospects. You can use your data to improve your efforts by increasing your ability to personalize your outreach, prioritize the most qualified leads, and identify patterns of what’s working or what’s not working in your outreach efforts.
Your prospects and customers are different.
They have higher expectations when it comes to the user experience and information available to them throughout the buying process.
That means you can’t keep using the same sales techniques and tactics.
If you want to deliver unique, consultative, high-value experience to each and every buyer, you need to be agile and adaptable to every different situation and every type of buyer and every type of client need.
Speaking of being agile and adaptable, download our playbook for more ideas and strategies to help you accelerate your business growth.
About Molly D Protosow
Molly Protosow is the COO and Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.