Anyone can see that sales strategies evolved in 2020. Lets find out How to Sell to 2021’s Buyers.
In an era of lockdowns, closed businesses, and online interactions, businesses everywhere have had to rediscover new ways of connecting with clients, and ensuring sales. Employers had to let employees go to keep the lights on. Consumers struggled with less spending power than ever before.
So, what should your sales strategy look like in this new landscape?
As leaders in Sales Engagement, the team at Revenue Grid decided to examine the industry as it stands today and compare it to the trends rising in 2021.
What’s more, we followed up on our initial research with additional conversations with teams and B2B leaders in 2020, to learn how companies should proceed in 2021.
Table of Contents
Separating Personalization and Fluff Sales
Even before 2020 changed the interactions between brands and customers, the focus for many teams was on personalization at scale. According to Tony J. Hughes and Justin Michael, personalization is how business leaders strengthen their relationships with customers.
Today your customers are still looking for relevant experiences. To convince a customer that they need what you’re selling, you have to show that you understand them. This makes taking a deep dive into your consumer data, so you can craft the perfect pitch to respond to a client’s concerns. Personalized messaging is at the heart of a successful brand/customer relationship.
But what does it mean to personalize sales at scale?
The unfortunate truth is that 31% of customers don’t feel that marketers are approaching personalization the right way. This is a pretty large statistic, considering virtually every team has a strong focus on relevant and user-level selling at this stage.
So, what are teams doing wrong?
Many businesses are confusing personalization with fluff.
In a quest to connect with buyers, some organizations are spending too much time and focus on drawn-out sales cycles and endless conversations with customers. Businesses that don’t have enough information about the individual segments of their customer base create tremendous one-size-fits-all experiences that aim to deliver a sense of personalization to everyone.
Get to the Point: The Importance of Clarity in Sales
In an age where customers want deeper, emotional connections with brands, companies are starting to lose their way. Sales teams that haven’t been able to reach clients in person for the last few months are overcompensating. They think that more conversation will lead to bigger sales and stronger relationships.
However, the reality is often the opposite.
83% of consumers say that they pay just as much attention to how companies treat them as the product or services they sell. Many organizations have taken this statistic to mean that they have to hold their customer’s hand through complex sales journeys. However, that’s not the case.
Your clients want you to give you an experience that suits their reality.
We’re living in a fast-paced world where everyone is struggling to keep moving in the right direction. Time is the scarcest resource that we have. The more you use up your customer’s time, the more you need to offer in return. That’s why it’s brevity that bolsters a business’s bottom line.
It’s not just what you say that matters – but where you say it too. In our research on evolving sales journeys, we discovered that SMS could be the key to simplifying conversations with customers. Just adding SMS to the sales process reduced the number of touchpoints required by 19% for our participants.
When enhancing clarity in sales, make sure that both the message, and the platform is correct.
Breaking Through the Noise in the Buying Process
Every day in 2022, there’ll be 347 billion daily emails travelling between computers. As a professional, you probably have your own overflowing inbox to contend with. So how, as a consumer, do you decide which messages to read and which to ignore?
For many companies, the most valuable messages you send going forward will be to your existing customers – the people who can keep delivering support for your bottom line. Our research discovered that renewal accounts claimed more than double the opportunities of new accounts for sales teams.
Start by focusing on your existing clients, and the data you have to understand them. Many companies assume that the only way to stay connected with existing leads during difficult times is to offer more discounts. Our research did show that discounts increased the average number of deals won per month by 22%. However, discounts weren’t the best tool.
Rather, we learned that extended trials had the biggest impact on customers, by giving them more time to explore the benefits of the features and discover their need for the solution. Adding extended trials to the sales process increased the number of deals won by 56% in our studies.
It’s Not About What You’re Selling: It’s About What They’re Buying
Today’s consumers want clear messages about what companies are going to do to help them tackle their challenges and most pressing concerns.
Focusing in the most critical issue for each buyer segment in your strategy allows you to cut to the bare bones of your sales pitches. Get rid of all the external fluff and extra components and show that you care by understanding what your people really need. Today’s sales messages need to be:
- Short: Get straight to the benefits. Avoid the dime-a-dozen messages designed to show empathy. Be real, and don’t waste anyone’s time.
- Relevant: Focus directly on the problem that you can solve for your customer right now. As Gerry Moran, Founder of Marketing Think says: “put the other person first”. Don’t say “here’s what we’re doing to stay safe right now”, say “here’s what we can do for you”.
- Simple: Make it easy to see the benefits of what you’re offering. Show the proof that you can deliver results with a quote or a statistic.
AI could be a powerful tool in ensuring that you can deliver the most valuable messages to customers in this new landscape. The Future of Sales Report for 2025 from Gartner suggests that around 60% of companies will be making the transition to data-based sales going forward.
Our own research at Revenue Grid suggests that with an AI guidance system, companies were able to reduce the number of days required to close a deal from around 160 to about 60. That’s a massive acceleration in sales opportunities.
Taking the Right Approach to Sales
Right now, there’s a lot of talk about the shift from revenue-focused sales, to a focus on empathy. While it’s true that you need to show your customers that you care, this doesn’t mean trying to connect with your customer over every problem they might be facing.
Customers will only spend money with companies that demonstrate a deep understanding of their individual needs. In our study, we learned that companies achieved a 15% higher open rate for sales messages that demonstrate cost and growth benefits of a new investment. There was also a 22% increase in responses for messages focusing on the key values of each user.
Adjusting your sales pitch to be concise and personal at the same time means not just re-learning how to speak to your customers. Sales leaders and managers also need to change the way they interact with employees too.
Today’s team members need support so that they can work in the agile, direct way that their consumers crave. Your employees can only get straight to the point with a sales pitch if they know what each customer needs. That means that they need access to an environment that’s filled with crucial information. Tools that combine CRM information, emails, and other data give your employees an instant snapshot they can use to personalize conversations with clients.
Guided selling solutions can help companies give sales teams more of the power they need to make sales. Remember, only around 34% of the sales rep’s day is currently spent selling. Adding guided selling to the mix helps your employees to tap into useful data when they need it. At the same time, adding guided selling to the sales journey reduces the pressure on managers and supervisors. Leaders in the business spend around 25% less time on internal calls when guided selling tools are available, meaning they can focus on other forms of business growth.
Simplifying the Buying Process
Finding the right balance between simple no-fluff sales and personalized connections isn’t easy. As sales experts, we’re conditioned to constantly find ways to up-sell and cross-sell customers. However, this desire to unlock every possible opportunity can be exhausting for customers.
Sometimes, delivering the best experience to your audience is about consolidating and simplifying the sales pitch. Think about what you can take out of the buying process to remove friction. Can you get rid of the exhausting travel at the beginning of the pitch by using video conferencing?
If you’re trying to convince more customers to renew their contracts, can you give them a one-click way to do this, rather than asking them to fill out countless new forms?
Some companies are suffering more than others right now. In a B2B landscape, you may need to be extra aware of the clients that can’t afford your service. Are there any initial fees that you can put on hold to solve this problem? Can you implement payment holidays for your loyal clients?
Think about some of the things you would love to see vanish from the sales process. As you remove segments of your pipeline, pay close attention to how your customers respond. Do they need more information? Do they ask you for specific help that requires you to expand the sales journey again? Or do you just end up getting to the finish line a lot faster?
Our research uncovered that the key to success may be simply learning how to order the platforms you use to reach customers correctly. Today’s digitally-focused companies need to connect with companies through convenient tools online. The most successful path in our research was LinkedIn> SMS> Email. Adding a phone call to the mix reduced success rates drastically. Don’t forget to think about which avenues your customers will be most comfortable using.
Transform for 2021
It’s a transformative time for all businesses.
Most companies today are learning how to connect with customers again from scratch. However, it’s important not to let yourself get lost in the search for empathy.
Even now, when consumers crave more human connection with brands – they don’t want exhausting experiences and fluff. Your customers want you to show them instantly what you can do to make their lives easier.
Skip the fluff.