Here’s what sales leaders need to know about the 2021 trends!
Some of the most impactful trends have already emerged this year – we believe they will continue to accelerate.
Businesses should make decisions based on reliable data sources and take a genuinely buyer-first approach to sales in order to succeed in 2021 and beyond.
1. Virtual selling is here to stay.
In 2020, companies of all sizes, across industries, proved that virtual selling isn’t just for early adopters or digitally native businesses. Now, these companies are finding opportunities in new markets, growing more global businesses and finding new ways to connect with clients and buyers.
While 2020 brought a lot of experimentation and trial by fire, when it came to virtual selling, this year I think we’ll see advancements and new tactics emerge that even more sales reps are familiar with and are using technology to succeed. Sales leaders and customers may be more skeptical about the ROI of in-person meetings now that they’ve seen how effective virtual selling can be.
Sales organizations should lean in, refining their go-to-market strategies, workflows and engagement best practices for a world where “meeting” most often means a video call. We could also see customers more reluctant to take in-person meetings when a virtual meeting can be just as effective. We’ll need to think about how this impacts conversion rates, deal size and so on. In some cases, the impact will be neutral. In others, we could see accelerating deal cycles. These trends will be important for sales leaders to factor into planning.
2. Reliable data and up-to-date insights can make – or break – sales success.
Data is essential for making business decisions, especially after a year of pivoting, scenario planning and adapting to change. Even in 2019, a Deloitte survey found that 70% of respondents believed business analytics would be more important in the next three years. Now in 2021, we’re confident that sales and sales ops leaders will rely more heavily on real-time, people-driven insights to spot new pockets of growth and optimize their teams’ resources.
Look at job trends across sectors and geographies to build territories and guide your team toward new growth opportunities.
Sales organizations will need to become more savvy about where their data comes from, who has permission to use it and whether it is reliable.
3. Focusing on speed and volume could backfire.
Empathy and relationship-building came to the forefront in 2020 as sales reps engage more intentionally and thoughtfully with buyers.
Give your team the technology and insights they need to personalize their outreach and speak to an individual buyer’s pain points and needs. This will help sellers engage their key stakeholders and buyers with relevant data and more intentional solutions.
4. Sales reps will need to elevate their game.
The sales rep’s role is changing along with the B2B sales process. This shift presents an opportunity for sales reps who rise to the occasion. They can become trusted consultants to buyers by solving their business challenges and sharing insights — not selling products.
In 2021, a sales team will need to focus on building trust and rapport in an increasingly digital world while becoming intimately familiar with a buyers’ goals and pain points. This will mean becoming more educated on the market, elevating business acumen and understanding the broad landscape — all of which will enable reps to add value and perspective beyond just being able to talk about the value proposition of the product they’re selling.
While we can’t predict the future (of 2021), we all know that change can be a positive force that brings new ideas forward and accelerates macro shifts.
This year brings us opportunity to look at change less like an upheaval and more like a catalyst that pushes us to grow as professionals and evolve as an industry.