The Top 3 B2B Sales Trends of 2018
Keeping pace with the pulse of developments in B2B sales can be a challenge for managers and reps alike, but it’s critical to operating at full potential. The way technology affects our communication habits has strong sales implications, and successful outreach reflects shifts in how we share and consume information.
Trends that continue to gain momentum and demand consideration include personalized outreach, social selling and marketing alignment. Making an effort to understand those strategies and tap their potential can mean the difference between appearing stale or savvy to customers. To help you get started or test your progress, here’s a quick digest:
Personalized Sales Outreach
In a world where communication is fast, frequent and constant, recycled messages have become painfully obvious as such. To stand out in the sea of digital chatter, messages should be tailored to their target audience at some level. While you can choose to personalize in varying degrees, it’s important to show prospects that you know exactly who they are and what’s important to them. Cutting and pasting your value prop while inserting different names shows buyers you don’t value their potential business enough to pursue it beyond a shotgun email approach.
It’s easy to find useful information about your prospects from a quick Google or social media search that can help you break the ice. Before listing facts that prove your solution is a fit, comment on a common educational background you may have or a hobby or passion you might share. Building a rapport humanizes yourself in the clutter, but text can only take you so far. The most personal way to reach out is through video, where even a canned message feels more genuine when delivered with a sales rep’s unique body language and voice inflection. Delivering personalized content via video is much more powerful and as close to a live presence as possible over email.
Since social media networks command heavy traffic daily, it’s tough to outperform your peers without tapping into its strong sales potential. You might feel that the obvious approach to reaching buyers is sending your standard pitch in a direct message, but social selling isn’t simply email outreach on a different platform. In fact, a cold impersonal text pitch can feel even more invasive and off-putting in a social channel where people turn to engage family, friends and close business contacts.
Instead, you’ll want to gradually build credibility by establishing yourself as an expert in your field and posting content that demonstrates a high level of thought leadership. Whether you create the content yourself or curate existing material for your followers, approach each post as an opportunity to solve problems and start a meaningful conversation.
With enough frequency and quality, prospects will look to your channel as a resource and give weight to your input when they need a solution. Sharing your thoughts as video commentary increases the chances that others will consume and engage – video posts receive three times the number of engagement as text posts, according to LinkedIn.
Along with managing your own posts, make sure to react thoughtfully to prospects’ posts and add valuable input to their conversations (without treating it as just another opportunity to push your product.)
Sales and Marketing Alignment
While a close relationship between sales and marketing teams has far-reaching potential, too often it’s weak or nonexistent in many companies. Through regular content creation and campaigns, marketers are accustomed to communicating your value prop in a powerful way – one that sales reps would be smart to employ in their outreach. Likewise, hearing the struggles and victories that reps encounter helps marketers identify opportunities to generate demand with relevant content. For those reasons, neither side should be working independently of the other.
Scheduling regular meetings is ideal for brainstorming and information-sharing but can be tough to coordinate – especially for remote companies where employees are spread across different time zones. Using a video creation tool that allows marketers to develop scripts, curate assets, and distribute them among teams ensures that all reps are aligned on messaging and have equal access.
By carefully considering personalized outreach, social selling, and sales and marketing alignment, you can keep your competitive edge as sharp as possible.
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Posted on July 6, 2018