The B2B sales trends of 2021 will essentially be a direct consequence of the events of the last year.
The following are 9 predictions for what the sales landscape will look like in the coming year and what that will mean for companies trying to close deals:
B2B Sales Trends #1: Customer-Centric Approach
Customer experience has always had a large presence within the sales realm.
In 2021 though, the customer-centric approach will need to be spread across the various departments. Businesses are moving towards making customers a priority in every sense. Customers are what bring value and without them, there is no business.
This means, not only does your customer service team have to understand your brand position, but your sales team needs to analyze the customer journey to your company.
Create a simple but easy to understand customer journey map, such as the one below, that will help your sales team position the customer’s needs first:
By following the journey from start to finish, you will be better able to understand the roadblocks customers could face.
This will help sales teams determine areas of improvement and communicate that to other departments such as marketing, operations, etc. so you can attract more customers.
B2B Sales Trends #2: Act on Customer Feedback
To improve customer experience, companies should get customer feedback and actively initiate discussions based on it.
Set up measures to routinely get feedback on services, processes, and the product you are selling, using tools like Typeform.
These surveys shouldn’t be too long — if you exhaust the customer, they may get overwhelmed and not want to return to your brand.
Receiving feedback is only one step of the process—you also need to analyze what areas require improvement and which are functioning well.
Like the example below, you can create a report that visualizes feedback received and points your team in the right direction:
Finally, you need to act on the feedback. If multiple customers are getting stuck during a step in the service process, make a change.
If you can’t make certain changes, let your customers know by updating your FAQ page or incorporating it into your customer service communications.
B2B Sales Trends #3: Omnichannel Sales Pitches
According to research, B2B companies have been steadily moving towards an omnichannel approach to pitching prospects.
With the current state of the world and most businesses being conducted online, an omnichannel approach has become necessary and preferable.
In-person interactions are being overtaken by video conferencing calls.
Popular B2C practices are also making their way into the B2B sphere—social media will be an essential tool for attracting prospects and improving customer retention rates.
Self-service software such as chatbots is another area to consider—brands can create chat windows on websites or WhatsApp bots that respond to customers immediately. These strategies allow companies to engage customers in various time zones, as well.
An omnichannel approach will be the way to go in 2021 and future years as it is simply much more convenient for all parties considered.
Personalization is a buzzword in B2C marketing, but it’s quickly becoming a B2B sales trend to prepare for. Using a one-size-fits-all approach won’t help companies attain qualified leads—it’s more likely to send prospects to competitors.
Examine your B2B target audience and segment them according to their specific needs and relationship with your company.
You should aim to target your messaging to your segmented markets. Then, pair that messaging with landing pages that deliver on your promise and convert.
The data you collect through these online interactions will help you conduct meetings that appeal directly to your customers, which will boost your sales and customer loyalty.
B2B Sales Trends #5: Moving Beyond the Sales Cycle
SEO management has been a marketing technique for a while, but in 2021, this will become the method to adopt for all successful B2B sales teams.
Customers—both B2C and B2B—use search engines widely to find solutions to their existing problems.
With the global situation making online search engines more popular, this has become a crucial avenue for businesses to explore.
Creating content that is optimized for search engine traffic will improve organic search. Companies can also achieve higher SERPs by improving their domain authority by getting backlinks from reputable sites.
Paid advertising is also an option but it can get expensive—especially if companies want to bid on competitive keywords.
B2B Sales Trends #6: Bolster Lead Generation Strategies
B2B sales trends have steadily been encompassing inbound marketing strategies and this is particularly true with regards to lead generation.
Companies can generate qualified leads regularly by creating content and setting up cold outreach practices. Emails are a great way to reach prospects but they need to offer some value if you’re going to get a response.
Offering in-depth studies and documents, like, eBooks, webinars, white papers, and the checklist below, makes for compelling material that will encourage prospects to click your CTA.
Even companies that have kept their stores open will continue to implement social distancing and hygiene practices.
Investing in software like CRM tools will help companies maintain better customer relationships and respond to customer queries quickly.
Creating digital experiences for customers will also help them feel more engaged with your brand. Setting up automated customer services will also become important as that will free up your team to focus their efforts on customer retention.
B2B Sales Trends #9: Educational Focus
Customers don’t want to be sold to, even when they are searching for products or services. The hard-sell approach is uncomfortable at the best of times—even more so when there’s so much competition.
In 2021, create content that is designed not only to creatively sell to your customers but to educate them. Place yourself as a thought leader in your industry aimed at spreading information.
Conduct interviews, research trends, share case studies, and customer testimonials to show prospects why they should pick you over your competitors.
Key Takeaways: Customers are Front and Center in the B2B Sales Trends of 2021
As mentioned, the B2B sales trends of 2021 have been impacted by all of this year’s events, and brands will need to adapt accordingly to keep gaining customers.
These will be the 2021 B2B sales trends companies should start adjusting to to maintain success:
Take a customer-centric approach to sales
Act on customer feedback
Create omnichannel sales pitches
Create a personalized client experience
Move beyond the sales cycle
Bolster lead generation strategies
Implement sales risk management
Understand the post-pandemic impact
Create educational-focused content
These trends are unlike what the sales world has seen in the past. But the world isn’t the same anymore. To keep up with the market, companies that will see success are the ones who utilize change for growth.
About the author: Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about marketing, sales, and small businesses.