Every January brings with it a host of blog posts predicting hot new B2B sales trends for the coming year. We’ll only know which have come to fruition at the end of the year, but recent technological advancements often hint at where B2B sales trends are headed. Take for example, the boom in big data and the technology that allows large quantities of information to be gathered and analysed. This will sway sales towards trends that harness the power of data to keep one step ahead of the competition and potential clients. Here are six B2B sales trends we think will make waves in 2017:
Social media’s meteoritic rise in influence and importance isn’t going to show any signs of abating in 2017. Not only that, but the use of social media to source, nurture and convert leads, and for channel development, is going to continue growing too, especially in B2B sales. In 2016, social influence and engagement rates were more the concern of branding and marketing, rather than sales. This is set to change, with influence and engagement becoming key components in the selling process. Just like emails and phone calls have become an indispensable part of nurturing leads down the sales pipeline, social media will also become part of that landscape. The key takeaway? Get your sales teams brushing up on their LinkedIn skills.
- 2) Value- and usage-based pricing
Market places in industries as diverse as software and entertainment have seen price erosion affecting their products owing to increased competition and perceived value. So much so that many of these products are now available for free. This is a threat that even B2B industries need to be well prepared for. The introduction of value- and usage-based pricing is one strategy that many will adopt in 2017 to circumvent price erosion. Customers pay for products or services based on their perceived value or usage – think pay-as-you-go mobile phones or Spotify Free vs. Unlimited vs. Premium. Just make sure your customers appreciate the value your products offer them.
- 3) Your company’s online reputation
How many times have you unconsciously (or consciously) judged a book by its proverbial cover and formed an opinion about a business based on how attractive, informative or user-friendly their website was? That might have been misguided ten or more years ago, but with online search playing such a large part in B2B purchase decision-making, your prospects need to be able to judge your business by its website. And it doesn’t stop at a slick site – your business is visible through multiple channels, from social media to peer review sites. Your audience will be watching how your company conducts itself online, and this says more about the business than a blurb on any About Us page.
- 4) Leveraging more data
As we highlighted in the opening paragraph, data is one B2B sales trend that isn’t going anywhere. In fact, as technology progresses and data-interpretation software becomes more accessible and affordable, the idea of making sales without data will become very much a thing of the past. Everything from identifying and scoring leads to predicting sales patterns will rely on science. If numbers aren’t your strong suit, fear not – all you need is an openness to new software.
- 5) B2B mobile apps
It wouldn’t be a blog post about B2B sales trends without a hat tip to mobile. A bit like data, mobile has become the flavour of this decade, and probably the next one too. A quick scan of a train during commuter times will tell you how crucial the mobile device has become for business people – i.e. the people you’re trying to sell to. Even though your website is probably mobile optimised, offering leads an app vastly improves usability, it’s far easier to personalise than a website, and it can function offline too. And given how much time the average mobile user spends inside apps, it’s little wonder that B2B mobile apps will take off this year.
- 6) Account-based marketing
Even though it was first developed 10 years ago, account-based marketing (ABM) is yet to see its heydey. With buyers becoming ever more resistant to generic marketing and sales pitches, and armed with more and more information (and hence, more buying power), businesses need to refine their approach to B2B marketing and sales. ABM is based on personalising every aspect of B2B sales and marketing (messaging, content, communication) to specific accounts – and aligning the hitherto disparate sales and marketing functions in the process.
As well as greatly improving sales efficiency, ABM can facilitate channel development too. Read our guide for a detailed view on the mechanics of ABM:
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