B2B sales has changed more in the last twelve months than in the previous ten years.

As such, the traditional B2B sales techniques of good old-fashioned cold calling have begun making way for more sophisticated multi-channel approaches. Many now encompass Account Based Marketing (ABM), Integrated Demand Generation and Buyer Intent technologies.

In line with these rapidly changing trends, we’ve been thinking about how the world of B2B sales and marketing will continue to develop throughout this year and next. With this in mind, here are our top four B2B sales predictions for the year ahead:

Growth of Demand Generation

In a recent post, we spoke about the growth of leadership positions that combine both sales and marketing functions (Chief Growth Officer, Chief Revenue Officer etc.). In 2020, this trend is only set to continue. We believe that introducing Demand Generation Services through the alignment of marketing and sales practice will be a key driver of revenue for B2B organisations over the next two years (and beyond).

Encouraging your sales and marketing teams to work more harmoniously not only helps to create greater demand for your products and services through generating more inbound outcomes, but allows for a more effective sales process in the long-term by accelerating outbound efforts as well.

Using a targeted mix of marketing activity to generate marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and nurture prospects, your salespeople can then convert these into sales qualified leads (SQLs) when the time is right.

This leads us to the second durhamlane B2B sales prediction for 2020/2021, which is the rise of ‘Social Selling’.

The Rise of Social Selling

It’s been a bit of a buzzword in the past, but social selling will undoubtedly become an integral part of the B2B sales process in 2020/2021.

Social sellers lead from the front using the power of B2B social media platforms like LinkedIn to nurture prospects from MQL to SQL.

After generating an MQL, social sellers then deploy a mix of highly targeted content at regular touch points to nurture these leads. By understanding the types of content the prospect interacts with and positioning themselves as ‘thought leaders’ in the prospect’s field(s) of interest, social sellers engage with the prospect across of a range of platforms until they are ready to convert to SQLs and enter the final stages of the B2B buying process.

Empowering your marketing and sales teams to social sell via LinkedIn and other B2B social platforms will unlock a new level of lead generation.

Harness the Power of Buyer Intent Data Tools

Buyer intent data tools are fast becoming the go-to for B2B sales professionals looking to be laser focused on prospects who are actively in the market for their products and services.

Platforms like Nexus use next generation machine learning technology to deliver insight as to when and how prospects are interacting with your brand and further predict when your customers are ready to buy.

They accurately gather both direct and third-party buyer intent data to build predictive audience segments that are continually scored based on their buyer behaviour signals. This predictive data analysis can be used to fuel effective marketing campaigns and allows your salespeople to reach out to prospects at the right time to achieve better outcomes.

Impressive, right?

Sales Training and Recruitment will become increasingly aligned and integrated

Once you are generating more qualified leads through demand generation, social selling and buyer intent, you may want to think about how to best to scale your sales team. Building a high performing sales team will help to support the increase in demand for your products and services.

However, finding great sales people is one thing – retaining them through high-impact training and sales coaching is crucial in order to realise long-term success. According to the AA-ISP, 98% of sales professionals are more likely to stay with a company if they are offered ongoing development.

Combining your recruitment and training strategies will give your sales talent access to regular coaching. Sales training programmes can transform motivation, improve daily sales practices, and instil the commercial mind sets that enhance performance to accelerate growth.

Because durhamlane is a company built by salespeople, we have a thorough understanding of what makes a good sales candidate. We also know how to effectively mentor sales professionals and give them all the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. By combining our expertise across graduate sales recruitment and sales training, we help businesses shoot for the stars by building high-performing SaaS sales teams from the ground up through our Inside Sales Hub.

More so, the emergence of sales enablement technologies like Allego are helping sales managers to better connect with their sales teams, onboard faster, deliver consistent messaging, rapidly adopt best practices, coach and practice more frequently, and collaborate more effectively. With personalised bite-sized modules, on-the-job coaching and peer training available at the touch of a button, these mobile-first platforms reinvent learning for the dynamic needs of sales teams.

Looking Forward

In summary, whilst the next year (and decade) may see many more changes to the sales profession that we must quickly adapt to, the human side of B2B sales will continue to remain the same.

That’s why our 9 Sales Mantras are proven time after time to help salespeople navigate modern selling and achieve sales success.

For more B2B sales insights follow us on LinkedIn or contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation. Call 0191 481 3800 or email info@durhamlane.com.

Let’s talk

We’re always open to hearing from ambitious organisations that are looking to scale but are unsure how. Get in touch to see how we can help overcome your sales challenges.