B2B sales: the main trends of 2021

B2B sales: the main trends of 2021

reading time  4 minutes

Sales in the B2B world are changing faster and faster, and the way companies sell and interact with their customers is becoming radically different from early digital B2B practices.

What Does B2B Mean?

B2B is the acronym for business-to-business which, as opposed to B2C (business-to-consumer), indicates all the commercial transactions that take place between one company to another. An example of a B2B transaction is one that involves a company and its suppliers to purchase certain products or services. Otherwise, in the case of B2C transactions, the customer involved is the final consumer.

 

How will the B2B sales process change in 2021?

Potential customers are looking for a personalized experience like never before: the world of B2B sales is starting to look more and more like B2C: thanks to the functionalities of the tools we have available, interaction has taken on a role fundamental throughout the duration of the B2B purchasing process.

With the advent of this ever-growing technological powerhouse, one might think that these tools will replace or drastically reduce the number of people in the sales department, but will this really be the case?

To answer this question, let’s look at the three main B2B trends that will define the world of sales in 2021.

1. Heavy use of digital sales tools.

As we said, technology has brought about significant changes within the sales cycle, for both sellers and prospects.

Today the typical salesperson will use a large number of “sales tools” that will help the entire sales team to track, analyze and interact with potential customers.

In the future, thanks to the continuous evolution of these tools, the sales team will be able to respond to potential customers more effectively, at every stage of the sales funnel.

At the heart of this change are data and automation, two ingredients that enable unprecedented levels of data analysis and predictability, which lead to better segmentation, better targeting and, consequently, better communication.

This is why knowing how to choose the right tools is a central issue of company management and sales.

2. B2B sales strategies: personalization as a key element.

Today, potential buyers have become adept at finding information online about the products and services they are looking for.

B2C brands have long offered a personalized shopping experience to potential customers, B2B prospects now expect the same.

To be successful, it will be necessary to focus on customizing the sale for each individual potential customer: from the content, to the communication channels, from the tone of voice, to the information provided. Using tools that help show the right content to the customer at the right time, such as CPQs, is key.

The main difference between B2B and B2C sales personalization is to help the prospect drive change to improve performance.

The insights that we provide and communications must therefore be timely, consistent, and evolved from previous interactions.

Going forward, customers will increasingly seek out personalized interactions, expecting salespeople to understand the context they are in and how they can best meet their needs.

Technology will certainly help the process, but victory will be determined by those salespeople who are able to build trust.

3. A boost in sales team training.

Although digital sales tools are becoming more and more efficient and economical and therefore accessible to everyone, technology does not yet have the human and emotional aspect, which is crucial for the sales process.

Although artificial intelligence is increasingly being integrated already in 2021, sellers will still be instrumental as the emotional and human side, together with their ability to negotiate, and to develop long-term trusting relationships with the customer which nowadays only a real person can provide.

Precisely for this reason, training and coaching is essential for the sales team.

Today, most B2B salespeople receive very little sales training and lack basic sales skills, from communications to sales tactics.

Salespeople who receive ongoing training have been shown to be more productive and more collaborative with other departments.

Modern sales coaching is helping to develop another significant trend: collaboration.

Most salespeople say that selling collaboratively with other departments is important, in fact, collaborative selling brings together sales, marketing, customer service, manufacturing and many other departments.

Technology will play a key role in this scenario, making this collaboration more fluid and effective, connecting processes and allowing data to be visualized throughout the customer journey.

How can you find new B2B customers?

Finding new business customers is certainly not a simple undertaking, the B2B market is very different from the one that caters to consumer customers, where customers often make impulsive purchases or where the sales cycle is very short. A business customer has a much longer sales cycle, so it is necessary to bear in mind that from the acquisition of the lead to its actual conversion, a lot of tim could pass, during which the potential customer must be “nurtured”.

Scouting new B2B customers also varies from sector to sector, but in general it is possible to identify some rules to follow that can be considered valid for any Industry. First of all, it is necessary to work on Brand Awareness, that is how well known your brand is, consumers are increasingly digital, informed and attentive and no longer buy from an unknown supplier but instead from important or well known companies. How is it done? There are many tools, from storytelling to blogging, from participation in sector events to sponsorships. Once you have positioned your brand within your target and reference segment, you need to work on lead acquisition and nurturing and here we can be helped by digital tools, including a well-positioned website that offers quality content, presence on social networks, both of the company and of its salesmen and obviously ADV campaigns cannot be missed. Anything that can create value for the potential customer, articles, ebooks, whitepapers, videos, business cases, just to give a few examples, will win their trust by making the conversion much easier than you might think.

Will artificial intelligence replace sellers in the future? The reality is that the first generation of automation, thanks to sales management software, has already replaced simple and repetitive processes that were performed by junior salespeople (such as sending emails, aggregating data, managing calendars), but AI is not yet advanced enough to provide a truly “human” shopping experience.

So, for now, technology isn’t taking, but rather creating new sales jobs, helping companies run the process smoothly and on a massive scale.

For B2B sales in 2021, customers will expect a consultancy service provided by a salesperson who will take on the role of a trusted consultant, whose human and emotional side cannot be replaced by an algorithm.

 

Takeaway:

  • Prospects are looking for a personalized experience like never before, this goes for both B2C and B2B.
  • The main trends in sales of 2021 are closely linked to technology:
    either the increase in the use of digital sales tools (tools)
    or personalization as a key element of B2B sales
    or the continuous training of sales teams
  • In B2B sales of 2021, customers will expect a salesperson to assume the trusted advisor role.

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    ©Apparound. All rights reserved. APPAROUND SPA e P.I. 13147681004