Experts Answer: Best B2B Sales Development Opportunities in The Near Future
We’ve been thinking and talking about the future of B2B sales a lot, especially through the lens of Sales Enablement. We wanted different perspectives on the subject, so we contacted a group of sales enablement & b2b selling experts and asked them. Here’s what they had to say.
What are the best B2B sales development opportunities for companies in the coming years and why?
I think companies should think more about how they can harness every function of the company for Sales Enablement. This requires the naming of at least one person as a Sales Enablement role. This person should also be given enough influence in the company. You often hear about the philosophy of “everyone sells”. I think that’s misleading, since you need to find the most fitting way for each function to enable sales.
1. Shaking up old-fashioned sales and this notion: I see that the faster companies manage to get rid of old practices and create conditions for salespeople to be more than “just” salespeople, the more they will succeed. We’ll be seeing more and more superstar salespeople who have risen to a sales oriented role from an expert role and sell in addition to other responsibilities.
2. Contents and various business tools: Not exactly a new thing, quite the opposite, but I still see building the right tools and content for the customer journey and to make buying easier as a great opportunity. In order to truly set yourself apart, it’s integral to invest in the experience.
From my perspective a company may have traditional assets that could be used as a tool for growth hacking e.g. when those assets are commercialized into a B2B offering. A good example of that is the "Retail as a Media" -thinking: the consumer touchpoints during their buying journey could be turned into commercial B2B assets.
Increasing remote sales: borders will disappear for good and markets will open everywhere. Sales still must happen naturally, and a personal relationship always makes buying easier. VR demos of results: there are many products and solutions, the results of which can be demonstrated using VR technology. The introduction of AI into prospecting, contacting and targeting: an obvious trend through the necessary development of software. The top salesperson’s attributes are changing: the salesperson is required to have increasing skills in using software to support sales (especially in prospecting and the timing of sales activities) and an understanding of how marketing works and what kinds of marketing actions can be taken or have been taken before personal contact with the customer. The value of an individual’s work isn’t likely to diminish, but the salesperson’s profile will change.
A multifaceted answer: 1. To utilize developing technologies (automation, chat bots, web analytics, lead generation) 2. To collect customer data and act based on it more efficiently (CRM/MAS) 3. Investing in fundamental sales: quality counts for more than ever before, when facing the customer.
Finnish companies have amazing possibilities in expanding abroad and grow that way. Online commerce and digital solutions have made this possible. In addition, the world keeps getting smaller as translation technologies keep making contacting and communicating with people easier, removing language barriers in communication.
There is still lots of room to grow in inbound automation and experience. Most of the companies miss these truly simple (but bit technical) opportunities to serve their prospects better in the channels these prospects spend their time before 1st contact with sales reps. Numbers are there to justify every penny of investment. Unfortunately, only few advanced companies I know are using these technologies e.g. lead qualifying bots, advanced audience targeting and simple customer advocacy/connections to support growth of their company.
Companies, as do we at Hopkins, should focus, put their energy and resources into inbound marketing. Especially in content creation that speaks to your potential buyers and has the right kind of industry-specific market approach.
This is because of two reasons:
First, decision-makers evaluate their options and make their short list of service providers before contacting the actual service provider. This process usually starts from search engines. If customers can find you in search results, there is a big chance that you'll be one of the candidates in that short list.
Second, by offering exciting content that provides both information, solves problems and guides the potential buyer in the decision-making process, will increase your chances of being contacted by the potential customer.
The best proof of this happening here at Hopkins, was when our potential customer (now an existing customer) made searches on Google and found our article that matched the search and need of the customer. This led to a contact request and a few weeks after that we started cooperation.
I still see cold calling necessary and essential part of the sales process, but raising potential customers interest over the phone, getting the first meeting and in best cases starting the cooperation from that cold call, can be a long and rocky road.
So, there you have it. While digitalization plays a part in every answer, thoughts on how it should be utilized are varied. It makes complete sense, considering that all respondents are operating in their own business environments with unique characteristics, challenges and possibilities. Still, based on the answers we can clearly conclude the opportunities digitalization is offering are so abundant that you can find something to help you at every step of the sales funnel and the customer journey.
We highly appreciate all the respondents for sharing their thoughts and providing valuable insight regarding what to take into consideration when planning sales development!
If you’d like to talk about this topic more with us, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email or book a call with one of our Sales Enablement experts!
Henri Piipponen, Sales & Marketing Director
+358 50 650 0051