As sales for 2021 come to an end it is time to focus on the trends and best practices that can help you to grow in 2022 and beyond.
Sales continue to be a relationship, people-driven endeavor, even in the midst of our automation revolution and increasingly smart software world. However, how we start, nurture, and grow the relationship has changed forever. Also, people want to buy from organizations that can both solve a specific problem or "work to be done" by your solution and an organization that stands for something greater than their product or service. Almost every industry continues to be driven towards commoditization. The main question for your growth in 2022 is, how multi-dimensional & collaborative are your growth efforts?
As we start the new year, determine where your current growth strategy and tactics are on the 'Growth Synergy" grid. Aligning brand, messaging, team unity, and product or service mix for the right person, with the right message, in the right place, and at the right time is a difficult challenge for any organization. Where do you stand?
Decommoditize your brand. This is likely your best and only opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. If it has been a while since you have updated your brand's presence this may be a great time to start. Brand identity is increasingly important and fast becoming the only true differentiator. It is likely that your product or service is not unique and can be easily acquired from multiple sources. Why would someone buy from you? Is it knowledge, experience, price, location, speed of delivery, quality, your team, etc? Learn the answer to this and align your brand accordingly.
In 2022 sales will continue to become multi-dimensional. The days of outside sales and marketing teams living in a silo are gone. Prospecting is very much alive and more robust than ever, however, it looks significantly different than it did 5 years ago or even as recent as 2 years ago.
We now have a need for a robust Tech Stack, Inside Sales, Outside Sales, Sales Enablement, Marketing, Social Media Management and, Content Development.
In addition, the skills required to succeed in a sales leadership role are increasing. Sales leaders are now "organizational leaders" that can develop teams, develop & implement processes, build IT systems, coach, lead, manage, develop relationships with vendors, customers, prospects and, internal team members. Are you coaching your sales leaders accordingly? Explore HUMAN™ Sales Management Coaching.
Determine the daily activities that your team members work on and work with them to decide if this is where they should be spending their valuable time. Sales teams often spend significantly less time in front of customers and prospects than needed.
COACHING versus TRAINING
Training is a multi-billion dollar industry, yet how much of your training sticks and is implemented on a daily basis. I am an advocate for sales training, but, only if it is implemented on a consistent basis with follow-up and follow-through. I prefer to use the term "Coaching" versus "Training". Growth teams in 2022 will require more effective coaching. We currently have a skills gap in the sales industry that can be bridged by aligning the sales and marketing teams. We have tenured sales professionals that are struggling to understand the new world of digital prospecting and we have professionals entering the workforce that understand new tech but, need help with the art of selling. Coach both mindsets together to drive growth in 2022.
HUMAN™ SALES MANAGEMENT COACHING
One of the biggest challenges in 2022 will continue to be attracting, engaging and, retaining top growth talent. Coach your Sales Managers to provide HUMAN™ Sales Management. HUMAN™ Sales Management blends business science with human leadership skills.
H. HEALTH REVIEW - Inaccurate pipeline management is leaving production and operations in the dark for planning, inventory, and staffing needs. Harmony between sales and operations is a challenge. Think Growth Operations, not Sales & Operations. Develop the best practices to help your team to succeed.
U. UNCOVER INSIGHTS - Re-tool your team for modern prospecting. What happens in the field tends to stay in the field. Understand buying preferences & time spent between appointment setting, account management, business development activities, and non-growth functions. Prospecting has changed, is your team prepared.
M. MAXIMIZE OPPORTUNITIES - Your metrics are not motivating or creating results. You have set metrics, pipeline requirements, revenue goals, gross margin goals, number of visits per day, number of appointments per week, but some of the team (or all) is not hitting the defined goals.
A. ACHIEVE CLARITY - The team works independently and does not communicate or readily share information. There is not a sense of unity towards a common goal. Develop clarity to goals and expectations.
N. NURTURE GROWTH - The threat and cost of turnover are high. Consequently, leadership, management, and the team struggle to gain traction with internal, prospect/customer relationships and growth. Develop a pipeline for new team members hiring, onboarding and, ongoing engagement.
Cold calling has changed, instead of knocking on doors to collect business cards we now have contact databases and email automation. Email marketing can be an effective method to gain new leads and grow general brand awareness. However, it is very important to develop content that resonates with your prospects. Develop target personas and content that would resonate with the appropriate audience before beginning an email strategy.
SMS texting is growing in popularity. If you decide to explore this method of marketing or customer communication make sure that it fits within the appropriate place in your sale process. SMS has a 98% open rate, but, only if the recipient is opted in to receive text messages. Consider these statistics from SMS Statistics 2021:
- 3.8 billion is the number of people that own smartphones in 2021.
- 75% of clients want to receive offers via SMS.
- The CTR rate for offer messages is higher by 9.18% compared to any other digital channel.
- SMS has a 98% open rate compared to email marketing.
Of course, social media continues to play a critical role in any organization's growth strategy. This space is continually evolving. Consistency and meaningful content (relative to your audience), is a key to a successful social strategy. Consider these social media trends in 2022 from HubSpot:
- TikTok will dominate the social media space.
- Reaching new audiences will become the number one social media goal for businesses.
- Companies will make more dedicated social media hires.
- Augmented Reality will become consumers' preferred way to try-on products and interact with brands.
- Businesses in the B2B space will increase their investments in Instagram and Twitter.
- Influencer marketing will mature in 2022.
- Social advertising will become more sophisticated.
- Businesses will invest in more long-form and short-form content, as well as live audio chat rooms.
- Social selling demands will grow.
- Consumers will crave snackable content.
HubSpot Social Media Trends in 2022
With all of the tech, content tools, CRM's, and databases that we have at our disposal sometimes the best tool that we have was invented in 1876. The telephone can be a very effective tool in today's world when we reach out at the right time in the sales process. When specific gates have been passed it may make sense to reach out to a customer or prospect to listen to their need in more detail. The key is to listen without offering a solution unless asked. Or simply reaching out to say thank you can go a long way towards building your relationship. 92% of call customer interactions happen over the phone. Just make sure that your calls are timely and informed.
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS
30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. We all know that prospects have researched every angle online before reaching out to you. Referring back to the brand section, why you? And how responsive were you in reaching out to them? Develop a system and process to reply to prospects and customers at light speed. Nothing says I want to earn your business more than a polite and timely response. Do you think that the pace of business will slow down in 2022? I don't.
THINK BEYOND CRM
In today's world, basic CRM is not enough. A sales CRM is a great place to start, but make sure that you have the ability in integrating multiple platforms and that the marketing & customer services tools are built-in. Ask us about HubSpot. You owe yourself and your team a system that combines sales functions, marketing, and customer service tools. The technology has advanced and the pricing is favorable for all organizations to leverage these tools. If your CRM and marketing are not integrated into your website you are behind. You need to know who goes to your website, what they view, and develop a process to engage them quickly and politely.
BUILD WARMTH THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Growing sales is about building trusted relationships. However, in 2022 and beyond how we develop those relationships will continue to evolve. Human behavior continues to step towards more interactive digital media. Building a trusted brand message and building a sense of warmth will be critical. Build a sense of human interaction in your digital media.
Many organizations grow business through referrals. This is great, but, develop a process in 2022 to capture referrals. Inevitably, most referral-only businesses stall due to a lack of prospecting processes. With a referral process in place, this can be a very effective strategy for growth but, only when combined with an effective prospecting process.
- 65% of new business comes from referrals - New York Times
- People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend - Nielsen
- 83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience-yet only 29% actually do. - Texas Tech
Automation continues to grow within the sales and marketing discipline. Think of automation as a tool to help your team to become more efficient. Automation can take the mundane and repetitive aspects of sales and marketing away to free up time to spend with customers and prospects.
- Automate emails.
- Build targeted workflows for internal and external efficiency.
- Automate task creation.
- Meeting creation.
- Rotate leads.
- Trigger internal notifications.
In conclusion, sales in 2022 will continue to evolve as a multi-dimensional discipline for organizations. Differentiating your brand's unique promise is critical, new skills and the appropriate coaching for your team will be required, build warmth through technology, and most importantly be proactive. Future-Proof Your Organization.
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