A New Year. Always a good time to reflect on how we do things and whether we can do them better.
It’s also a good opportunity to look at some of the sales trends that will influence how we do things. How will the landscape look in 2017, and how will this impact your success?We’ve rounded up some of the best predictions from the web.
1. Content marketing goes multimedia
This is a trend highlighted by a number of websites and blogs. Content marketing might be familiar, but for B2B firms it has traditionally focused on published material – whitepapers, blogs, survey findings and reports.
In 2017, as website business2community.com says, these days, ‘B2B is being lit up by media heavy content marketing, including explainer videos, infographics and more’.
Any firm wanting to up their presence online and create content that engages with their audience needs to look beyond the written word. Think about how you can incorporate new forms of content into your sales and marketing funnel:
- Can you produce podcasts of webinars or briefings?
- How about interviews covering your research findings, responses to external events like the Budget or animated films detailing your product benefits?
- Do photos bring your products and solutions to life? How about training videos, talking users through your solutions?
If you work in a regulated industry, don’t forget the need for any content to be compliant. Read more about producing content your Compliance team can approve.
2. Social media will increasingly drive sales
Another trend picked up on by business2community.com is the growth in social media content originating from Sales teams.
While social media was once the preserve of the Marketing team, today business developers are connecting directly with prospective buyers. You can’t ignore the potential that this channel brings to get closer to your market. Find out more about what social selling is and why you should be doing it.
A related trend is the need for business development professionals to become more tech-savvy. And not just for greater online presence. An increasing array of apps and technologies make business development easier – but only if you know how to use them. Firms will need to provide training to support digital selling strategies if they want their sellers to capitalise on innovations.
3. Sales and Marketing are growing closer
This is a trend we’ve identified before – read why closer sales and marketing collaboration is the secret to success. Both sales-initiative.com and website saleshacker.com picked up on this as something to watch in 2017. Working together on content that will deliver interactionsMarketing and their Business Development colleagues are growing more closely aligned:
- Collaborating on lead scoring and qualification
- Building long-term relationships that convert contacts to customers
Their roles and objectives are growing increasingly similar. Make the most of this by pooling your expertise to deliver a joined funnel which nurtures contacts into buyers.
4. Big data is here to stay
And, according to according to business2community.com, this will be the year it ‘goes mainstream.
Large firms are already harnessing big data to inform their approach. And the growing numbers of lower-cost, often cloud-based solutions that have data at their heart are enabling the wider market to capitalise on the insight big data offers.
Make the most of the data at your disposal to learn what your buyers and prospects want; how they act and when they buy. Fine-tune your funnel to match their behaviour.
5. Marketing Automation
Another trend identified by business2community, and another side-effect of the explosion in data analytics.
Whether your firm uses automation to schedule and issue your marketing activity, to project-manage your marketing workflow or to mandate compliance approval, the impact on your team is huge.
The wealth of data that sits behind automated marketing tools – the management information they can provide – is invaluable for business developers. Not to mention the efficiencies they can deliver to all teams.
Work with your Marketing team to understand how this automation can benefit your sales processes and increase the impact of your activity.
Get on board with these predicted sales trends you need to know for 2017 and make the most of the opportunities the new year has to offer.
If an increased digital presence is one of your aims for the coming year, you will want to read our 10 best practices for compliant social media.
It has lots of tips and advice to make sure your social selling won’t get you in hot water with the FCA. You can get a copy here.