If the past ten years prove anything, it’s that sales and marketing methods are evolving rapidly. In fact, experts suggest that processes around sales and marketing will change more over the next 15 years than they have in the past 50.
If that’s the case, then what’s going to change? Here are my predictions for 7 sales process changes we can expect to see in the future.
#1 Retention Focused Selling
My first big sales prediction is that this trend of overpromising and under delivering will soon become less common. There are several reasons why this is bound to happen:
- Access to free pilots and user reviews are becoming easier by the minute, and salespeople are realizing more and more that they run the risk of getting clawbacks when they oversell their product
- Category creators from 5 years ago have several competitors fighting for a piece of the pie. Selling a lie isn’t going to work anymore, since the consumer has so many options.
- Companies are already focusing on the flywheel over the funnel, and selling to bad-fit prospects goes directly against this strategy.
Ryan might have started the fire, but he wasn’t wrong in telling Michael Scott that acquiring a customer can cost ten times more than retaining an existing customer.
And it’s true too! According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring customers can be five to twenty-five times (!) more expensive for businesses than retaining them.
#2 Inside Sales, More and More
This one’s a no-brainer. 2020 has changed people’s perceptions of Inside Sales, and has pushed the limits of what people thought Inside Sales teams can achieve. Businesses have started realizing that getting prospects to sign even million-dollar contracts while working remotely is possible (tips on how to go about it here).
While there are conflicting opinions on whether “field sales will die”, the fact of the matter is that Inside Sales is a cheaper, easier model to adopt for teams that are selling to other regions and countries. Even before the pandemic, the Inside Sales-Outside Sales split in companies was growing in favor of the former, and I see no signs of this trend changing anytime soon, especially after recent events.
#3 Intent-Based Selling
Companies are recognizing that sales intelligence and insights are key to a successful sales strategy, and with the way the industry is moving, there’s no doubt that the future of selling will hinge on a company’s ability to determine the buying intent of a prospect.
Why is it important? Because no matter how large your Total Addressable Market is, 90% of your TAM isn’t buying at any given point in time. It’s imperative that marketers and salespeople recognize this and sell to the 10% of high-intent buyers in their target market every month to maximize opportunity and deal conversion rates.
Spraying and praying is an ineffective strategy to sell, and is also wasteful. Lean companies that want to improve revenue while being scrappy will have to adopt intent-based marketing and selling, or perish trying to hold on to archaic sales processes and practices.
#4 Adapting to Gen-Z Decision Makers
By 2030, 34% of the workforce will consist of Gen-Zers, more than Millennials or Baby Boomers.
In other words, Gen-Zers will soon become decision-makers in companies, especially ones whose ICPs are sub-40-year-olds. This will alter the way companies market, sell, and position their products and services, and in a way, this is already happening.
Gen-Z is the most digital generation of them all today, and reports suggest they make more purchases from digital ads than any other generation. Prepare to pivot to newer channels, media, and messaging!
#5 Artificial Intelligence - The Real Deal?
Is it just a buzzword, or does it really impact your sales? Well, top companies in the world believe that AI has the power to change your sales processes for the better. AI adoption is projected to increase by a whopping 139% over the next three years, and research shows that about 40% of sales tasks can already be performed by AI in today’s landscape.
Surveys also suggest that about 27% of financial leaders want to deploy AI/ML in their organization, and various other types of predictive analysis/automation in their tech stacks. AI is here to stay, and it will change the sales and marketing landscape in the years to come.
#6 Value > Features
87% of high-growth companies employ value-based selling to maximize profits, in comparison with 45% of enterprises that have negative growth and do not have the same sales strategy. The market is currently flooded with low-cost competitors, so using deals and pricing to attract more customers are no longer going to cut it.
What will work, however, is value-based selling. The strength of a product and a company lies in the unique value proposition that they’re able to deliver to their prospects. The only way to justify price tags going forward will be to innovate on the product while simultaneously educating prospects about the value of it on the sales and marketing fronts.
This includes the value that existing customers derive from your product, and how happy they are in using it. Why? Because people talk. They write public reviews of you online, too.
Prospects spend a great deal of time researching your product both online and offline, and if you’re able to make them realize how much value you can add to their business, then you’ve already won the deal. Expect this to happen more and more over the course of the next few years, with leading sales strategists focusing on teaching their teams to sell the value and not the product.
#7 Stronger Training Programs
Recent studies have shown that new sales reps need about 10 weeks of training for ramping up in a new role. However, 26% of reps say that the training they receive is insufficient. But why does this matter? Well, it should matter to you, because it matters to your buyers.
Buyers are becoming increasingly unwilling to make a purchase from sales representatives who aren’t well trained. Sales training impacts how much prospects trust a company, and the lesser training your reps receive, the more likely you are to lose deals. Thankfully, big companies have been quick to realize this.
Compare the amount of time the average salesperson spends on training every month today with five years ago, and you can see that the number is much more than ever before. Solid sales training processes will directly impact deal outcomes, and making sure your team gets it is in your company’s best interest.
Next order of business?
How are these insights and predictions going to change your sales processes and plans? Let us know by tagging us on social media or interacting with me on the RevGenius Slack community!