Definitive and Powerful Sales Techniques – 2009 vs 2019


The global industry is witnessing an exponential increase across sectors with a direct rise in opportunities. The contemporary industry sector is sifting through a mode of being an economy based to innovative business systems. Organizations have recognized the need for a constant change – digitization is rapidly changing industry sectors. Companies are looking for valuable potential everywhere. With growing digitization, newer digital players are emerging and are keen to create a niche for themselves. Customers are given access to comforts that exceeds the expectations of their growing demands.

Marketers’ focus has shifted from products to customers…

While a competitive environment is paving way for newer possibilities, companies are implementing a sales strategy where the risks are low, are easy to implement and have low impact on other processes. Leaders are accelerating their sales strategies which largely aligns to the purpose of identifying, engaging and nurturing opportunities.

Sales Strategy between 2000 – 2019

The need for a diverse sales strategy has only emerged after the great recession in 2008. The focus was on SMEs, opportunities across the global industry, investing in R&D. All these efforts have been paid off since 2011. Businesses have taken up “building sales strategies” as a project or as a service provided to various product companies. They are shaping sales pitch using sales techniques that have proven well and data from their CRM that help identify customer target groups.

sales strategy 1995-2019

Unique and Compelling Selling Techniques

With the rise in technology, there are evident selling strategies that have changed with time. The buying culture has given rise to customer segmentation.

Earlier sales strategy was all about protecting existing competitive advantage but currently, it is about finding continuous advantages that address business realities of tomorrow. The change we see is a result of non-linear shift that helps retain customers.

Business leaders are still recovering from their conservative ideas on sales. Sales strategies require almost constant reinvention because old propositions are no longer valid. The ‘right product’ with a mix of marketing and brand strategy can increase sales efficiency.

Since 2003, organizations have created a value proposition for selling their unique services. However, there is a paradigm shift in the objectives, selling techniques, channel mix and other trends. Organizations are constantly innovating ways to change sales approach.

Read our latest blog – Most important sales trends you need to follow in 2019

Here is a preview of some of the top-selling techniques that have perceived a change in the last 19 years:

Selling TechniquesUntil 20092009 onwards
Inbound Marketing Focus was on creating branded products that has a unique value proposition. Traditional marketing was extensive. Digital marketing accounted to 10-15% of marketing effortsFocus was on creating products that meets customer need and has a competitive advantage. Branding took a whole new meaning – customer reviews largely accounted for a brand value. Digital marketing accounted to 85-90% of marketing efforts
Automated MarketingTraditional video ads and digital marketing medium ads were similar. The objective was to drive customers to the company’s website or physical storeDigital marketing ads are very different from traditional medium ads. This is because companies’ need to lure customers from different segments. The objective is customer retention largely
Email MarketingEmail marketing was a personalized sales email sent to prospective customersEmail marketing is still a reigning trend among B2C customers. However, email marketing is being slowly replaced by sales notifications and chatbot marketing
Social Media MarketingUntil 2009, social Media had not seen an all-embracing marketing way.2009 onwards social media started the trend of creative content building, content sharing and customer reviews
Customer segmentationOnline ads, Video ads and/or traditional medium ads were common. Marketing channels were not differentiated. Customer profiling was not a practice followed by most companies’Video ads or a display ad is particularly targeted to a certain channel based on different customer segments. It is interesting to see how companies have uniquely targeted their product ads on traditional medium as opposed to digital medium
Customer opinionWord of mouth was the ultimate customer review that most companies relied onOnline customer reviews, ratings and surveys have been important to companies’ – to uniquely position, create innovative content and market it to prospective customers
Integral FocusProducts were the integral focus. The focus was on providing products that are 10x better than the competition – “what you sell” was key to every companyCustomer experience has been the integral focus. Companies have been focusing on giving organizations a better experience with time – “how you sell” is the key
TechnologyOrganizations have maintained a file system, worksheet to keep an account of customers and their buying trendsA well-managed CRM is a part of every organization for easy process integration and customer profiling
Customers purchase behaviorCustomers relied on a brand with few buying points. Their purchase depended on a few features that met their needsCustomers are very cautious. Their path to making a purchase relies on brand, reviews on several websites and information from sales executives
Customer awarenessCustomers were not aware of what they want. They were given a choice of what they could possibly wantCustomers are aware because of multiple channel access and can choose between several products/ services that are available across channels
Selling Benefits vs building a relationshipSelling has always been about offering benefits. However, earlier B2B sales strategy was all about directly providing a solution and its benefitsThe art of B2B sales strategy is now to make sure there is a vision to build a pipeline of deals. Sales team focuses on building the interaction by discovering the need for the product/service, build on the product and provide its features and thereby earning the trust of the customer – building a relationship
Elevator PitchOrganizations relied on one or a couple of sales pitches that worked well for them. These sales pitches probably answered the questions – what, how and whyOrganizations believe in building trust of customers. They let a natural conversation flow in. The objective is to connect with the customers and not to just try and make a sale
Creating value propositionA B2B sales strategy included a clever value proposition. Earlier, value proposition meant offering a product/ service value that is different from your competitorWhile value proposition still says, “why you should buy from us and not our competitors?”, it is also important to choose the right channel to exhibit your USP:
For example the best way for a mobile phone brand to display its USP would be to use the e-commerce channel through which users can compare product features with that of its competition

Definitive Selling Techniques – B2B and B2C Organizations

Since 2009 companies are constantly struggling to carve a niche for themselves, make a digital presence, adapt to the latest trends that boost their growth and reach out to new customers. Some sales tips have worked in the past and continue to work irrespective of the industry and time.

There is a marginal difference in B2B sales approach as compared to B2C’s. While B2B sales orders take longer time to convert; the need for customer engagement mostly depends on ‘in-person meetings’ and ‘telephone sales.’ Whereas B2C sales orders may not be as complex as B2Bs and so B2Cs mostly depend on ‘social media techniques’ and ‘online channels’ to make a sale.

Common sales techniques that continue to help meet sales objectives for B2B and B2C industry sectors are:

Sales TechniquesB2BB2C
Online Sales (email, website sales)While most B2B customers may not be benefited by online selling, they still largely depend on email marketing to engage prospects.Organizations selling directly to customers are largely benefitted by online sales
Telephone SalesOrganizations intending to sell services to a niche target group (other companies) must use inside sales – telephone sales method largelyTelephone sales may or may not benefit B2C customers (depending on the industry sectors)
Customer MeetingsB2B and B2C businesses can profit from in-person customer meetings. Meeting the customers have always proven advantageous for any business
Social Media SalesIt is important for B2B organizations to rely on social media to build a network for their organization and/or productsIt is compulsory for B2C businesses to rely on social media to sell their products. Social media is a great channel to market their products
Referral SalesWord of mouth, customer reviews are a definitive sales method. It is a well-established and a powerful sales technique

While the differences in sales strategies of the year 2000 as compared to the year 2019 is very evident, there are some selling objectives that are never looking for a change. Some of the basic selling techniques being – make an impression, be sincere, address the need, build a relationship and provide support.

Some other key features that remain unchanged even with the advent of newer technologies and strategies:

  1. Inbound Marketing: Pull strategy – develop winning content, blogs, videos and displays that create brand awareness and attract customers.
  2. Go-To-Market sales strategy: Once a product hits the market, there is a clear understanding of the product goals and value proposition. A sales team is always on the lookout for a clear selling proposition of any product.
  3. Market Research for a clear sales roadmap: Product marketing plans – detailed market analysis and competition study is conducted to create a sales roadmap for the product to be successful over its lifetime.
  4. Brand sales: Creating a brand is the only way to increase brand recall value. Over the years, successful companies have been creating brand names that sell by itself.
  5. Focus on USP: While a single product can carry several features, it is of no use if the product does not have a clear USP. Over the years, many organizations that have survived challenges including recession have created quality products that can add value to its buyer.

On the way forward…

Organizations are committed to newer sales ideas. They are keeping a close eye on the changing sales technology landscape, the rise of B2B influencers, marketing channel mix, newer channel growth, innovative content and trends that can turn into opportunities for their line of services. Some of the marketing strategies that have been the trends in 2019 – chatbot marketing, video marketing and growth hacking. These marketing automation strategies is going to influence customer growth in 2019.