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2021 has seen a continuation of some of the sales trends brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain industry disruptions, such as remote work, are clearly here to stay, while others may still fall by the wayside.
With just a few short months left in 2021, it’s time for sales teams to prepare for whatever 2022 may have in store.
Here are the top 8 sales trends we’re predicting will change the game for sales teams in 2022.
Social selling encompasses a variety of sales interactions that take place on social media, and primarily on LinkedIn. Whether a company commits to effective social selling will be a defining trait in 2022.
More and more brands are understanding and using LinkedIn to build brand awareness and make meaningful connections with prospects before outreach.
Some of the primary benefits of social selling include:
Social selling has grown more popular because, in short, it works. According to LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from the platform.
Like any effective thought leadership or lead nurturing, though, social selling requires consistency.
Building a presence and fostering relationships on LinkedIn means diligent sharing and posting of content, but also commenting and engaging with other people’s content. All of this requires significant time spent before seeing notable results.
Expect to see sales teams shifting time and resources away from more “traditional” methods of outreach and invest more in conducting traditional sales activities on LinkedIn.
The companies that will win at social selling in 2022 will do so by prioritizing authentic engagement and meaningful network building with both current and potential customers.
It’s no secret that remote work, in some form, is here to stay. According to the Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report, 80% of interactions between sales teams and B2B buyers will happen in digital spaces.
Sales teams and B2B buyers will look to negotiate deals, sign contracts, and send payments all in one digital environment.
Digital sales rooms - or deal rooms - are digital spaces where sales teams and buyers can come together to negotiate, collaborate, and close in real-time.
Digital sales rooms include proposal and contract management and sales collateral to make remote selling a seamless experience on both sides of the table.
Having one space to hammer out the terms of a contract means less room for error. Live chat and video functionality will also help sales teams add personal touches and engage with buyers without needing to book another call.
Companies that embrace remote or hybrid sales will turn to deal rooms to accelerate deals towards the close.
Video is everywhere.
What felt like a few, cutting-edge companies experimenting with 1-minute video introductions in 2019 ultimately exploded in 2020, with 40% of sales teams reps reporting using one-to-one video in their sales interactions, according to Vidyard.
Remote and digital selling also means video isn’t fading away from the sales pipeline anytime soon. Buyers, in turn, will add relevant and engaging video content to their growing expectations of sales teams.
But just what do we mean by video? Marketing video content will still have its place, but user-generated videos are proven to resonate more with buyers. Sales teams will have to adjust their internal resources and processes to support fast, easy, and creative video creation among sales reps.
Fortunately, it’s still relatively easy for sales teams of any size to create authentic and engaging video content.
Plenty of free or low-cost options are available to sales teams. With a bit of practice and the right lighting, it’s easy for sales reps to create a quick greeting or thank-you message that’s a little more personal.
Expect to see more buzz around asynchronous video: a term that essentially means ad hoc video content shared and consumed outside of synchronous channels such as Zoom.
As the business world adapts to widespread video call fatigue asynchronous video interactions will make it easier for sales reps to make an impression on buyers.
Personalized and highly relevant experiences have become an expected part of the buyers’ journey.
Personalizing and tailoring content throughout the funnel requires time and effort, though. Many sales teams automate a lot of this using rules, but with the increased capabilities of AI to customize experiences, AI adoption will put early adopters companies ahead.
According to Salesforce, 87% of consumers expect businesses to adopt more digital solutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rules-based automation, however, may experience lingering challenges due to pandemic disruptions on demand.
AI will further minimize sales teams’ administrative time, leveling up existing automation through capabilities like:
For sales teams to reap the full benefits of AI, however, sales leaders must ensure the seamless integrations of different data sources in the team’s tech stack.
AI adoption might be a slower process for some teams, but expect to see more organizations move towards AI to free up sales reps and leaders for more strategic, human-centered work.
Buyers today are even more reluctant to speak to sales when entering the sales funnel. Now, they prefer to do their own research before narrowing down their choices for purchase.
That’s why in 2022 more sales organizations will shift towards value-based selling to win over prospective buyers that might be skeptical of typical sales tactics.
Value-based selling is the process of communicating the value of your product or service to your prospect.
Rather than strictly “selling” the potential buyer on the benefits of your product, value-based selling focuses on benefitting the customer’s specific needs first.
Value-based selling focuses on the whole sales process, emphasizing guiding the customer through the sales funnel with customized and relevant information.
The goal is to help each customer feel they are making an informed decision based on their unique needs. This way, businesses can focus on their ICP’s unique needs and pain points rather than trying to be everything to all potential customers.
Customized content may have felt like a treat to buyers before, but it’s quickly becoming the expectation for many. Expect to see sales and marketing teams investing in well-researched, tailored sales collateral to communicate the value of their products.
Though it might just sound like a trendy buzzword, “smarketing” is a natural extension of increased demand for relevant content and seamless experiences through the sales funnel.
According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report, just 7% of salespeople said they receive high-quality leads from their marketing teams.
Smarketing refers to the increased alignment between sales and marketing teams. While not a new phenomenon, it reflects the increased complexity of buyers journeys and the need for targeted, relevant marketing content to drive high-quality leads.
What will this look like in 2022? Expect to see even more collaboration between marketers and sales teams on work such as:
This alignment will improve the overall quality of leads by joining forces to target the right people with the right message at the right time.
Sales teams can get ahead of this trend by laying the groundwork for professional relationships between sales and marketing.
Start by establishing shared terminology and teamwide best practices for identifying and qualifying leads, as well as evaluating success at pre-determined intervals.
Remote communication tools experienced a pandemic boom like no other. With so many sales functions now happening over virtual channels such as Zoom, it only makes sense that integrations with those channels will be front and center in 2022.
The “new normal” for most of the workforce in 2022 includes some form of hybrid work. This will lead to rising demand for collaboration tools and integrations on popular video conferencing platforms.
Expect the integrations themselves to improve and expand upon different sales functions as well.
Take Chorus.ai, for example. Its recent acquisition by ZoomInfo means sales reps will spend less time inputting or acquiring contact information from leads and prospects during meetings.
Similarly, Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack has larger implications for small-scale communications in Slack communities. It could ultimately drive communication on Slack from being purely internal to external channels.
Finally, expect higher quality tools for real-time collaboration to emerge in 2022. Think design and project management visualizations made available for everyone in an intuitive tool like Miro, which just announced an integration with Zoom.
Even if the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, remote work in some form will stay with us. Remote work makes for more productive employees, but it’ll be up to sales leaders to keep remote workers engaged and equipped with the tools they need to close more deals.
It’s imperative, then, for sales leaders to invest in effective remote coaching techniques to set their teams up for success -- even from a distance.
How well sales leaders are able to adapt to some of the challenges of remote work, though, will determine their teams’ success in the “new normal.”
Watch for sales leaders that empower remote salespeople to manage their own schedules and pipeline while encouraging team cohesion.
Leaders must establish expectations for work, communication, and performance. Sales team leads must also be able to listen to their teams’ needs, whether that’s increased flexibility or more funding to invest in digital tools to make it easier to close deals.
Remote collaboration doesn’t have to mean meeting all the time, but dedicated space and time for team-wide problem solving will replace some of the spontaneous problem-solving that occurred in in-person office environments.
Still, remote collaboration shouldn’t be limited to work calls. Virtual happy hours and other online team bonding events will stick around for remote teams. It’ll be up to leaders to cultivate a thriving, if asynchronous, work environment in 2022.
The business landscape will continue to evolve and adapt to new challenges as we move towards a post-pandemic world.
Most trends outlined here involve some element of digital transformation or adoption. That will continue to be what sets sales teams apart as we enter a new era of digital sales.
Fortunately, easy-to-use digital tools abound for sales leaders looking to make a change in 2022.
GetAccept’s all-in-one sales tool can help your team tackle any challenge 2022 has in store. Our innovative suite of sales content and engagement tools builds successful sales teams.
Want to learn more about how GetAccept can enhance your digital sales operation? Request a demo today.