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The future of sales - Redefining sales.

August 23, 2022

Sales Strategy

The future of sales - Redefining sales.

In a rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever to stay ahead of the curve. However, many businesses are still relying on traditional sales methods. We believe that the future of sales lies in digital channels and customer-centricity.

B2B Sales, digital Sales, Sales Strategy, Future Sales

Gartner predicts that by 2025, digital channels will account for 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated B2B purchasing behaviour, shifting it toward a customer-centric digital model - article. This is one of the many outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis. The future of sales is the permanent transformation of organisations’ sales strategies, processes, and resource allocation, shifting from a seller-centric to a buyer-centric orientation and from analogue sales processes to hyper-automation digital-first customer engagement.

A New Paradigm

The three revolutionary units in B2B sales would bring opportunities and change: Digital scalability, Hyper-Automation and Artificial intelligence - Avaus. With current and future generations increasingly learning and purchasing digitally, sales representatives and organisations must also transition from analogue to digital engagement, interaction, transaction, and selling to customers worldwide. B2B sales reps must embrace technologies and channels and a new way of engaging customers by tailoring their sales activity to their customers' habits and information-gathering requirements.

Kearney mentions that B2B sales have a massive bargaining power shift towards the customers. The Internet-fueled market transparency and globalisation drive this shift. Businesses have raced to make their organisations more customer-centric as customers have grown accustomed to having their way. As a result, they are designing the most appealing customer experiences and making their sales processes more efficient.

During Covid-19, Customer buying preferences started to change long before the pandemic, but the shutdown of all things physical has put companies with poor digital sales capabilities in dire straits. The good-to-have digital sales tools became a must-have, mission-critical business infrastructure overnight - Avaus.

A study by Kearney shows that Technology is a significant driver in B2B sales challenges and is revolutionary. The vast majority of advanced technology-fueled sales practices involve replacing salespeople with technological solutions. Kearney defines leading companies as those with higher-than-average revenue and sales productivity. If these companies can grow in both dimensions simultaneously, they must be doing something right for their clients. With the definition, 26% of companies can be considered frontrunners (leaders). From their research, the B2B sales practices employed by these companies focused on nine emerging practices - See image below.

It's all About Data and Hyper-automation

The call for improved sales automation and AI-enabled B2B customer experiences at scale is more significant than ever. Sales reps struggle to scale up their digital capabilities, while Covid-19 imposes restrictions on face-to-face meetings, travel, and physical events.

As mentioned above, Artificial intelligence, Digital scalability and hyper-automation are the critical aspects of revolutionising the sales industry.

  • Artificial Intelligence: Data and sales technology tools enable automated, data-driven decisions. Managing sales processes across multiple channels will be heavily reliant on the use of AI-powered tools. Traditional, intuition-based B2B sales are proving to be a waste of resources and not beneficial to businesses. AI has transformed sales departments in businesses, allowing them to increase lead volume, improve rate, and boost overall sales performance. AI algorithms help businesses make better business predictions and power decision-making processes- read more from my previous article on AI and Sales.
  • Hyper-Automation: No organisation will respond adequately to digital engagements by prospects across multiple channels at all stages of the buying cycle. A wide range of automated sales tech tools that automate and augment digital sales processes perform the work, e.g. CRMs. According to Sales Hacker, more than half of the service providers by Salesforce will add chatbots to their lineup in the next year and a half. And only 46% of sellers have access to client and prospect data insights (which 85% of salespeople say helps them produce).
  • Digital scalability (Digitisation): The role of sales reps must be adjusted to reflect the digital-first reality. They will need new skills to master both digital tools and data. Face‐to‐face will transition from the default sales channel to a tool used selectively for highly qualified customer encounters. Salespeople will be more involved in developing digital sales processes and assets. They will work as digital co-sellers through websites, portals, e-commerce platforms, and virtual assistants. Data and tech-savvy digital-first sellers can manage customer reach previously only available to marketers with media and research access.

Conclusion

Sales jobs in the future will focus on tasks that AI can still not perform: strategic conversations, complex problem-solving, and human relations. The majority of sales positions will be concerned with human relationships and connections. They will concentrate on situations in which people are sceptical of technology or where the sales apparatus is more complicated than simply offering a widget. If your sales job is primarily based on easy-to-answer questions, back-and-forth conversations, or functional scheduling, expect it to change dramatically – or even disappear – over the next two decades. Future sales jobs - human related - will necessitate a much deeper understanding of customers and market dynamics than in the past.

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