Sales trends have always been directly influenced by changes in factors such as technology and economy, but never more so than in the past 2 years. Whilst we spent 2020 finding ways to adapt and survive – 2021 offered the much-awaited opportunity to actually thrive.
Taking on the learnings gained throughout 2020, successful sales people have evolved to reach their prospects in new ways. Here are 5 of the biggest sales lessons from 2021:
A Hybrid Approach to Sales is the Way to Go
For a while we all thought that customers, post-COVID, would welcome the return to face to face sales interactions, in the same way that sales people yearned for their return. The reality is that the business world realised that they could conduct their meetings just as effectively (and with a huge saving in time and money) by continuing to carry out the majority of their meetings virtually. And so, the temporary move to video calls became a permanent one – at least for the most part. Sales people are back out ‘on the road’ visiting customers, but much of what was done face to face is now down virtually. This has required sales people to develop a new skill set that enables them to develop and nurture relationships in a way that doesn’t rely on in-person rapport.
Social Selling is Now the Default Approach to Selling
Those sales people who had embraced social selling prior to COVID were at a distinct advantage when the pandemic hit. When the opportunities to physically get in front of prospects and customers disappeared, social selling went from being preferable to essential. Social selling facilitates the preference of now the majority of buyers; to be able to complete a large chunk of the buying process online, without speaking to a sales person. The problem with this for sales people lies in how to get the attention of, and be front of mind with, those prospects when they are ready to make a purchase. Social Selling allows the sales person to demonstrate knowledge and experience and to build trust and credibility with prospects using social platforms, ensuring their position as the ‘go to’ resource when the prospect has a problem they need a solution for.
‘Poor Fit’ Leads Can (and Should) be More Quickly Identified
Long-gone are the days of driving half way across the country, only to determine that a lead is actually a poor fit for your product/service. Research from SalesInsightsLab identified that at least 50% of prospects are actually not a good fit for what the sales person is selling. When we consider the impact of these findings on pre-Covid ways of selling, we get a nasty shock, as we realise that what is now a 15 minute phone call was once a 4-5 hour round trip! Sales people have gained back an incredible amount of time, qualifying leads more efficiently using refined questioning skills.
Referrals are More Important than Ever
Arguably the quickest way to get in front of a prospect is through a referral. A referral is worth its weight in gold, because it doesn’t just act as an introduction, but it accelerates you through elements of the buying cycle. A referral demonstrates to the prospect that you have experience, knowledge and credibility AND that you are someone that can be trusted. (For more on how and why you should ask for referrals, see ‘The Key to Asking for Referrals‘.) Given the increased challenges around getting in front of prospects, referrals have become even more valuable than ever.
Sales Coaching is the Tool that Separates Good from Great
What continues to separate good sales teams from great sales teams is coaching. Organisations with a formal sales coaching framework achieve win rates that are 28% higher than those that don’t. Coaching is the platform that enables sales managers and leaders to directly address gaps in capability, set and regularly monitor goals and embed new sales skills and techniques. Over the past 2 years, whilst sales people have been more isolated than ever, those receiving regular coaching from their sales manager have been more quickly able to adapt and evolve to new ways of working.
As a sales training company, we have seen a huge increase in the number of organisations looking to ready their sales people for this new world we find ourselves in. Companies have recognised that their sales people need to be more agile, more resilient and more effective in their sales activities if they are to achieve any kind of growth. If you’d like to talk to Salestrong about how we could help your sales people arm themselves for a successful 2022, give us a call on 01778 382733 or email us at email@example.com.