#1 SALES TREND: KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

In 2021, buyer-centric B2B companies will have the advantage. It’s no longer enough to simply present the features of your product. The trend is to make them directly relevant to the buyer. This means you have to know your buyer really well.

Many B2B companies mistakenly believe that the features of their product will be enough to delight the buyer. It is more powerful to lead with the benefits that will satisfy the buyers’ needs, pain points and business drivers.

What do buyers REALLY want?

Buyers must predict what their experience is going to be like using your company’s products and services. Before making a purchase decision, they look for evidence of the pros and cons of your products. They even explore your company culture. A buyer-centric company will anticipate this. It could mean adjusting their brand storytelling to satisfy the needs of specific buyers.

To get a clear picture of your buyers, it is useful to compile personas. These are graphic depictions of all the data and insights that you have about the buyer. This process will help you to more accurately target your messaging. When included in the persona development process, sales teams develop a whole new understanding of their customers. They naturally become more customer-centric.

Sales Trend 2019 Know your buyer to deliver targeted messaging

What if you don’t deliver?

B2B companies who don’t take the time to define their target personas run the risk of investing in marketing messaging that buyers will ignore or discard because it is meaningless to them.

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Messaging based on buyer personas is more powerful – using both research and the valuable insights from your sales team creates a persona of the buyer that includes criteria like their industry; size of company; job title; responsibilities; challenges; and preferred ways of interaction. Download a  Buyer Persona Template

#2 SALES TREND: GO BACK TO BRANDING

B2B companies are starting to realise that a logo, tagline and brochure-type website are not enough to make them to stand out in the crowd. As with B2C, it’s the brand experience (complete with a distinct brand story, visual identity and compelling value proposition) that will differentiate your company’s position in a crowded marketplace.

5 Things that make a B2B brand memorable

  1. Authenticity
    Brands that come from the heart are more powerful because they are perceived to be authentic and honest, giving the buyer peace of mind. They know the brands that make and keep their promises. Not only does branding differentiate your company and products, it also builds trust in the marketplace.
  2. Brand Story
    A consciously designed brand personality that runs through all your offerings and is delivered by all your employees, encourages buyers to deal with anyone in your company instead of the sales person alone. This elevates your company to a productive sales organisation, rather than placing the responsibility for sales and the admin thereof on the salesperson’s shoulders.
  3. Engagement
    Brands are experiences that come with a story. The buyer’s attention is a scarce commodity. It takes more than a competitive price to get your buyers to pay attention long enough to make a sale. How the personality of your brand is experienced by the buyer goes a long way to making them comfortable enough to engage with your company. Your brand story is what they will share , and we all know that word of mouth is the best endorsement.
  4. Higher Perceived Value
    Buyers are more likely to pay a premium branded products than unbranded alternatives because they are perceived to have more value.
  5. Security
    Brands give buyers a sense of security because they know what kind of experience they can expect from the company. Unbranded products, in comparison, are often unknown and require a leap of faith.

Sales Trend 2019 Personas for powerful targeted marketing

What if you don’t deliver?
Your offering runs the risk of being overlooked or forgotten in a world that is motivated to purchase through relationships with clearly defined brands.

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To be competitive in 2021, revisit your brand purpose, brand promise and brand personality. Your brand building efforts should be augmented by client perception studies and competitive analysis. This will necessitate allocating increased budgets and resources to branding.

#3 SALES TREND: WORK YOUR NETWORK

Which buyer are you more likely to lead to conversion, a random decision-maker who stumbles across your marketing content now and again or the prospect from your contact database who is nurtured through regular, targeted contact? B2B brands that exercise their contact database will make the most of their prospect-nurturing process. These companies will enjoy the benefits of serving carefully curated content directly to buyers and decision makers.

The trend is multi-platform, regular and highly targeted messaging to prospects and current customers alike. Your most valuable asset is an ever-growing and up-to-date contact database.

What if you don’t deliver?
The companies that will lose out are those that ignore opportunities to regularly engage with prospects at multiple touch points in a way that nudges them towards making a purchase decision.

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Your contact database is your most valuable asset – build it through platforms like LinkedIn. A sales co-ordinator dedicated to researching and connecting with promising prospects will make your valuable contact database grow quickly.

#4 SALES TREND: MARKETING MATTERS

We are seeing increasing collaboration between sales and marketing. B2B firms are realising the value of marketing in contributing to bottom-line success. It’s no longer a case of marketers updating sales people. It’s about the cultivation of a close relationship between departments. Sales teams will drive account-based initiatives based on brand values. Formalising the buyer experience means a cross-functional approach, where sales and marketing must align communication efforts

Sales Trend develop your brandWhat if you don’t deliver?
Sales teams lose momentum through lack of buy-in into top down marketing campaigns, and marketing campaigns are meaningless when not informed by sales insights. Bottom line success will be increased by working together for a common goal.

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Task sales and marketing to collaborate on creating an aligned buyer experience, where the promises that are made (marketing) are the promises that are kept (sales).

#5 SALES TREND: BUILD A FLOW-BASED SALES ORGANISATION

Brand relationships are becoming more valuable than individual relationships. Instant contact is demanded by buyers. Because everything is real-time, B2B companies can no longer rely on a sales person as the only point of contact. A transparent, efficient, flow-based sales organisation ensures a positive buyer experience, from first contact right through to after-sales service.

Sales is a team effort

If the responsibility for sales stops with your sales people, your business will lose its competitive edge to B2B companies where sales is a team effort. Aligned business functions and systems have become increasingly important. A flow-based sales organisation means that sales become everyone’s responsibility, not just that of the sales team.

Support from other business functions translates into increased time for your sales team to spend in direct contact with buyers; improved productivity will result in more sales. Changing to a synchronised, flow-based sales system can result in your company doubling the growth of your previous year’s sales in just six months.

Sales Trend Flocution Flow-based Sales SolutionWhat if you don’t deliver?
It’s not true that if you continue to do things in the way you have always done them, then you will continue to get the same results. The reality is that your results will decline. Your company will fall behind other B2B companies that are taking advantage of new processes to meet consumer demands.

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Change your sales-driven company to a buyer-focused organisation by enabling all business functions to contribute to and support the sales cycle.

SALES TRENDS 2021 HIGHLIGHTS

Here’s a handy summary of the B2B Sales Trends for 2019:

Sales Trend #1

By understanding the pain points and business drivers of your buyers, your messaging can present your offer as the ideal solution to their challenges.

Sales Trend #2

Build trust in the marketplace with a consciously-created, authentic brand story.

Sales Trend #3

Develop promising B2B relationships by sending regular, multi-platform and engaging branded content to your database of valued contacts.

Sales Trend #4

Combine the insights and talents of both sales and marketing to create a powerful buyer experience.

Sales Trend #5

Support your sales process by implementing a flow-based sales organisation that synchronises and harnesses the skills of the entire company.

How will you implement these sales trends to achieve real Sales Success this year?

Ask rene.coetzee@opslogik.com