Sales and marketing methods are evolving and changing rapidly. Many experts suggest that processes around both sales and marketing will change more over the next ten years than in the past 50 years. Here are some sales process changes you can expect to see soon.
Why are sales processes changing? Today, leaders are facing an inflection point fueled by organizational changes.
An inflection point can be defined as a critical event that changes the trajectory of a business, industry, or economy. This event will bring change, with either positive or negative results.
Compared to day-to-day progress, the impact of inflection point events is more widespread and dramatic. For example, the introduction of new technology, social selling, changes in your industry, and shifts within the world all lead to overall changes for the future of your sales process.
Outreach surveyed over 600 people, and "70 percent of them said they believed their organization would experience long-lasting change as a result of COVID-19."
Many sales leaders knew they needed to change their sales structure. Events like a pandemic, economic shifts, and even mergers can create urgency to make necessary changes to adapt.
The internet is one of the biggest things to happen to your sales process.
As hard as it is to think of the time before Wi-Fi, pre-internet-era customers often took calls from salespeople to learn about a new product or service. Now, a customer just has to do a quick Google search, and boom, they know everything about a product or service. According to Think With Google, "more than six out of every ten shopping journeys begin online." That means the majority of people are no longer willing to take calls from salespeople; they’d rather learn on their own.
The growth of online buying continues to increase year after year and doesn't seem to show signs of slowing. The pandemic escalated it immensely. Whether you're an online customer or an online seller, this is good news. Oberlo states that "As of 2020, there are roughly 7.8 billion people worldwide. And just over a quarter (26.28 percent) of them are online shoppers."
Social media is a force to be reckoned with when buying a product or service. Utilizing social media helps build authentic relationships with your customers. According to Forbes, "81% of consumers' purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends' social media posts." As a result, social media has influenced sales organizations like crazy.
Nurturing relationships with prospects and customers has never been more straightforward than social selling. However, if you're not engaging with people through social media, you're not taking advantage of all the tools at your disposal. Therefore, it's invaluable and imperative to incorporate social media into the future of your sales process.
Customers are inspired to purchase from companies they follow or interact with on social media. Another Forbes article states that, "78% of consumers say companies' social media posts impact their purchases.” The use of social media has altered customer behaviors and modified the future of your sales process.
Regarding B2B, social media has opened a new lens to customer interaction. In a global Salesforce study of B2B organizations, "30% of respondents said their companies generated more than half their revenue through digital channels in 2020. And 55% expect digital channels to account for at least half of their business by 2023."
Solution selling is a type of sales and selling methodology. Solution selling is when a salesperson or sales team uses a problem-led sales process rather than a product-led one. This approach then determines if and how a change in a product or service could bring specific improvements that a prospect desires.
Solution selling isn't a strategy that will suit every sales team, but it's on the rise and impacting the future of your sales process. It is most effective when salespeople can sell insights encouraging customers to purchase. Solution selling is one of the best ways salespeople can sell with empathy. It also takes critical thought and a firm grasp of a prospect's business needs and pain points.
Virtual meetings are one of the most significant changes to the future of the sales process.
During the pandemic, people could no longer meet face-to-face. Nothing irritates salespeople more than when they can't meet someone in person to read the room and the body language. So, building that trust and relationship with the customer became a new obstacle.
Enter the virtual domain.
Ensuring salespeople could at least get the prospect on screen would help build that trust. So most went online. The shift to digital and remote engagement has been embraced by companies in all countries around the globe.
According to McKinsey, "more than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions—a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after lockdowns have ended."
B2B sales leaders and customers have now moved from being "forced" to adopt digital environments in widespread shutdowns to a growing conviction that digital is the way to go.
The future of your sales process has changed recently and will continue to do so. With the advancement of technology, social media, and global and economic events, your organization grows and changes, and your sales process may never look the same.