There are a number of substantial ways in which sales methodologies have changed in recent years and, by all estimations, this trend will continue on into the coming decade. As new technologies are integrated into business systems and society gradually adapts to larger innovations, it’s inevitable that sales strategies will shift.
If you own a business or manage revenue for one, it’s important to have a grasp of these changing tides in the sales industry. In this kind of environment, you have to make decisions with your head on a swivel, relying on as much hard data and research as you can.
The following are a few of the ways in which sales are changing right now:
New approaches research and training
To tap into the consumer power of modern buyers, you need a research-based approach, which may require rethinking your entire business model and investing in sales training. This should not be viewed as slight against your current sales team. In fact, by equipping your sales force with new tools and methodologies, you’re ultimately treating them with the utmost professional respect.
The data is clear: behavioral change improves long-term sales performance. This is why you need to explore customized strategies for performance improvement that will actually substantially boost your return on investment (ROI). To do this, you need to uplevel your and your team’s sales skills, including teleselling, prospecting, trade shows, account planning, sales negotiations, and virtual sales.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is one of those buzz phrases along with machine learning, neural nets, deep learning, and others. In the past, science fiction stories predicted a very different kind of AI reality, but the year is 2020 and the reality is that AI is not Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey but rather a ubiquitous form of algorithmic technology with incredible and wide-ranging ramifications for business.
Every time you search for something on Google, you’re using AI. Every time you use an Uber or virtually any location-based app, you’re tapping into a form of AI. In other words, we’re using AI every day without really thinking about it. But if you’re in the sales business, you need to think about it. Your company’s future depends on it.
AI has huge ramifications for price optimization, forecasting data, upselling and cross-selling, and even lead generation. Put simply, AI can gather and analyze incredible amounts of data so much more quickly than humans can that it would just be absurd to not use it in business sales.
At the very least, begin learning the basics of how AI and machine learning algorithms can enhance your sales pipeline.
Content marketing is relatively new but has seen a dramatic rise due to social media. Content marketing is an example of digital touch point technology and allows consumers to research products before purchasing.
Content marketing is not based on direct sales but rather on creating a strong presentation of authority and content that bolsters your brand and increases sales indirectly. These days, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and others provide powerful opportunities to utilize content marketing.
If you’re not upscaling your company’s social media game, content marketing is reason enough to do so. The most successful brands today use content marketing to create ongoing conversations and relationships with consumers about products and services.
There are a number of other important trends in sales that are changing the business landscape. Individualization, Authentic Selling, and inside sales models are all hot right now and can be expected to grow in popularity in the coming years.
While advertising and marketing budgets may be altered dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’d be wise to look into these trends and try to integrate them into your business model.