8 Most Important Sales Trends You Need to Follow in 2019
Organizations that keep up with the latest sales trends are likely to get better results.
After all, you can’t expect to thrive without moving at the same pace as your competition.
What worked a couple of years ago is probably considered archaic in the world of sales now. Say, for example, if your sales strategy primarily leans towards cold-calling rather than social selling, then you are certainly not moving with the rest of the world.
And mind you, no one will wait for you to catch up when you get left behind.
So, how will you keep up with the latest sales trends?
For starters, spend time accessing what’s new in technology, demographics, and how all this is affecting the market.
Don’t know how to identify the ways in which the world of sales is changing?
Today, we are going to discuss how sales trends are changing and how you can embrace these changing trends in 2019.
Here are some B2B sales trends to keep an eye on as we head into 2019.
1. Leveraging Big Data & Analytics
Big Data and Analytics!
These are one of those buzzwords we keep hearing today. However, despite the hype, not many sales professionals are leveraging the potential of big data.
After all, big data and analytics aren’t exactly new in the industry. We have been talking about them for a while now. That said, sales departments have access to larger amount of data today juxtaposed to four or five years ago.
However, one must remember that with Big Data, it is not about how much you have — it boils down to how you utilize it.
The biggest shift we see today is how big data and analytics are assessed. They are not only leveraged to identify ones target audience and close the final deal, but also to predict the risks and minimizing it.
To start with, you need to work on hiring the best sales team that includes skilled data scientists to mine the data and use it effectively. Otherwise, data is pretty much useless to salespeople.
We know that the investment seems to be a lot initially. However, the benefits trump the expenditure many times over.
Let’s take a real-life example:
American Express leverages big data and analytics to predict customer behavior. Over the years, the company has garnered a database of over a 100 million credit cards globally, that account for over $1 trillion in charge volume every year, American Express deals with vast quantities of data.
Now, how do they understand and predict customer behavior using big data and analytics?
They extract insights by tracking the historical transaction pattern of their customers. Leveraging this approach, the company now develops highly sophisticated predictive models which allow them to attract and retain customers. Also, looking at the profile of the previous customers, they now target the customers who are most likely to make the bigger purchase and stay loyal to the brand.
Big Data and Analytics account for countless contributions to sales, such as:
- Improving the quality of sales leads
- Improving the quality of sales leads data
- Helping build a better ideal customer profile
- Better decision-making strategies
- Improve customer loyalty by optimizing your customer service.
When you are empowered with data and analytics, your sales representatives have a prescient idea about the prospect. They get a hang of the things. For example, it is easy to discern when to contact the prospect, how to contact them, precisely what to say, and what to pitch.
2. Outsourcing Sales Functions
This is one of the most common sales trends in 2019. Not only can this prove to be vital for your company, but it’s also a cheaper and less complex endeavor than an in-house sales team.
New businesses and startups often fall behind their deadlines and expectations. This leads to massive stress, no wonder 45% of entrepreneurs say that they are stressed.
So, what’s the solution?
There are a number of solutions, and every solution is different for every entrepreneur. But one solution that is common to more and more businesses is to outsource their sales functions.
Different organizations outsource different parts of their sales funnel. For instance, a company might specifically need assistance for their lead nurturing process, while doing the rest of the sales functions on their own.
However, make sure that you take the baton in your hand when it comes to closing the final deal. It is suggested that the last part of the sales funnel must be done by the vendor itself and not a third party sales firm.
Why are we suggesting this solution for the businesses?
Well, the answer lies in the most common problems faced by the entrepreneurs. If this research report by Wasp Barcode Technologies is anything to go by, the five biggest challenges facing small businesses primarily center around hiring new employees.
So, outsourcing your functions, especially something like sales functions that includes multiple roles, can help you bypass these problems.
3. Explore Social Selling
An effective sales department needs to explore and embrace every avenue that can help them access their customer better. And what can be a better way than connecting with your prospects on social media?
Social Selling is one sales trend that companies can’t afford to ignore in 2019. Otherwise, your competitor might leave you far behind.
We also recently talked about how social selling is helping us generate more leads and traction than ever before.
Let us tell you again.
So, we regularly post some cool and informative stuff across our social media channels including statistics, infographics, and testimonials.
As a result, we are witnessing tremendous results in the form of good traction and leads.
Apart from this, social selling helps salespeople understand their prospects better, who is their target audience, who will make the final deal, who are the ultimate decision-makers — and what they think of your brand.
A lot can be discerned from the things people post online, and social platform allows you to engage with your prospects on a personal level, something which couldn’t have been possible otherwise.
4. Aligning Sales with Marketing
Sales and marketing departments are inextricably linked and must work hand in glove with each other. That said, in reality, most marketing and sales department often share a contentious relationship.
More often than not, marketers are busy generating leads in one corner. In the other corner of the room, sales leaders are making phone calls and sending emails to desperately convert leads into final sales.
And this is where the problems arise: these two corners rarely come together.
Sales growth is achieved when these two departments come together and join forces. With the changing trend in the market, this sales trend is also in its transition phase.
More and more companies are emphasizing the importance of aligning sales with marketing.
If this mere talk word-of-mouth doesn’t convince you, then have a look at the following statistics:
Moreover, companies with unified sales and marketing teams generate 208% more revenue from marketing.
A tightly aligned sales and marketing department allow a better understanding of the target audience and their buying journey. Once the datasets of both the teams collaborate, both the team leaders can envision a more accurate picture of the entire selling process.
5. Embrace Automation in Sales
There are no two ways about the fact that the complete sales cycle can be super lengthy. From connecting with the prospects to closing the final deal, everything in between can be tedious.
Not just tedious, all the sales activities are time-consuming as well.
But did you know that you don’t have to do everything manually by yourself? Majority of these tasks can be easily automated.
Lead nurturing is a great example. Even with tools and strategies in place, 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy.
Marketing professionals and salespeople spend multiple resources, money and time to acquire these leads. However, the stats show that these leads wither away at the last moment.
These abysmal outcomes can be turned around by introducing automation in your sales strategies. This sales trend should be adopted by sales leaders as soon as possible. From following up with the prospects, to engaging them, every stage in the lead nurturing process can be automated using various tools and chatbots.
The result? Your sales team can now spend more time doing something indispensable, something that is impossible by human intervention.
6. Focusing on Different Generations (Especially Millennials and Generation Z)
Times are changing, so is your target audience.
No offense, but those days are long gone when salespeople only had to target old men in stuffy suits.
And this is one sales trend in 2019 which is likely to barge out in full swing: emerge of millennials and z generation as the consumer powerhouse.
In fact, Gen-Z is expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers by 2020.
That’s why many businesses are now adapting themselves to chase millennial and Gen Z. The rise in social selling is one of the reasons for this new sales trend.
Social media is the territory that is perfect by Gen Z and millennials, and that’s why they are steadily becoming the target audience for sales leaders. This new generation is not only helming important decision-making positions, but they are also turning out to be a great source of social influencing.
7. Investing in Building The Brand & Loyalty
We still remember how salespeople used to work earlier. Most of them had a penchant of blaming their prospects for their lack of loyalty.
But due to the upcoming sales trends, they can’t afford to do so now.
More than anything, companies are now investing a huge amount of time and resources in building their brand and customer loyalty.
Thankfully, in this age of social media and easy communication channels, establishing your brand and customer loyalty isn’t as arduous as it was in the pre-social era.
All you have to do is to find your voice.
Have a look at how Taco Bell nails this:
Now, this may seem like something redundant at first. However, this builds a great impression of your brand amid your audience.
Apart from this, it sets you apart from the competition, build trust, and most importantly this narrative can be used to influence and persuade your prospects.
8. Sales Reps Must Turn into Educators
This is an extension of the previous point. You can also exact customer loyalty by educating them.
Today, selling your product isn’t easy without connecting with your customer on a personal basis. Now you can’t get away with blandly marketing your product. The aim is to educate them.
Say, for example, you are reading this blog. Therefore, in a way, we are educating you. So, indulge your audience with multiple valuable and informative blog posts, podcasts, webinars and forms of content. For one, this will create a huge connection between you and your customers. Secondly, when you provide your guidance and demonstrate your skills, the customer would be less cynical to make the final purchase.
Here’s what Ryan Estis, a sales and leadership expert, has to say about educating your customers:
“In 2020, the most successful salespeople will be the teachers. The ones who can help clients think differently about the future of their business.” “Teaching is a gateway into a credible relationship built on trust. Look for every opportunity to contribute value and provide expert guidance up front.”
These sales trends are still in their growing stage.
The coming years will see their culmination. Therefore, it is advisable to adopt these sales trends as early as possible. Unless you work towards quickly adapting these changing sales trends, your competition may get an edge over you.
Each time these sales trends roll out, try to be among the first to adopt them.
Take advantage of automation, but don’t forget to still oversee everything yourself.
Which sales trends are you using for your company’s sales growth in 2019?