Brian Connell

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Sales Tips for 2021

Sales tips for 2021 and beyond as we ponder some important questions.  It goes without saying that 2020 shook the sales world and a new reality was born.  No matter what happened in 2020, the continued rate of change is driving an increasingly competitive selling environment, lowering barriers to entry for companies and products. Add in the fact that expectations and preferences of customers continue to evolve.

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These forces are changing how businesses and salespeople operate, from selling tactics and business models to product offerings. In 2021 and beyond, salespeople with the right mix of technical and soft skills will become more important for business success. As the sales skill needs of business evolve, so too does the sales force.

Our sales tips begin with sales expertise. The talent of the salesperson and the sales experience delivered will remain the top reason buyers choose a supplier. So, industry knowledge and a good cultural fit will take on a renewed significance. The sales task is now clear for any business, build your sales tactics around deep industry insight and expertise. Show that you can solve the challenge at hand. This is what customers are seeking and what converts them into clients.

Sales Tips for 2021 and Beyond

Reconfigure Your Sales Process

The sales process has to account for both the remote salesperson but also the remote, hard to reach buyer. Every business, large or small is going to need to reconfigure their sales process to ensure it is optimized for remote selling. Start by reviewing your buyers’ journey and the various touch points. How will you connect with them, engage them, interact with them, converse with them, educate them, and bring value to them?

Salespeople that stand out have moved beyond identifying problems and proposing “solutions. Instead, they focus on understanding the business results their customers want to achieve, and then act as a partner to accelerate the results. Keep one important thing in mind. It’s all about the buyer, what they want and when they want it. The key is making sure your selling efforts are in sync with their buying signals and stages.

Master Multichannel Selling

We know that the modern B2B buyer is harder to reach like never before. The old methods of selling will have diminishing returns for a whole host of reasons. Because what the modern buyer expects from salespeople is largely linked to emotional intelligence, communication, and critical thinking. What buyers really want is a salesperson who can think outside the box and bring interesting and innovative suggestions to address their evolving challenges.

Salespeople have to master how to skillfully utilize multichannel selling, including influencing tactics, social selling, using video (live or pre-recorded).

Stop Selling and Start Sharing

Instead of selling customers on something, the focus will switch to serving them. Or another way to look at this is to aim on having any sales time together to be valuable for them, regardless of the outcome of the interaction.

Another of our sales tips for 2021 and beyond is a business needs to be able to position themselves to be relevant for their customers ongoing and evolving needs. This means that first the ability to understand what those needs are and how they are changing. Then the business must make it clear how their experience can address those challenges. Globalization and digital disruption have lowered the barriers to entry for business, meaning that today the real competition is often in the quality of the customer experience. Businesses are finding that customers are looking for service, not just low prices.


Valuable Communication

More than one in four buyers consider themselves “on the fence” about whether or not they would stay with their supplier two to three years down the road. The rise of relevance. Buyers seek out, are loyal to, and refer suppliers that they believe can drive their success. Increasingly, it takes specialized expertise to beat the competition.

So valuable communication revolves around the relevance of the information or messages being delivered to the customer. Remember value is not one single element. Valuable communication should encompass a range of benefits for the products for which the customer is willing to pay. The key is to communicate the highly differentiated features that the business offers the customers.

Salespeople Must Get Creative

Salespeople must be trained to be more creative and less automated in the sales process. Modern buyers are savvy and expect more than the value that comes with the product. They want more than the value a company adds in. They want unique, relevant, personalized value. The only place they can get that is from a salesperson, the seller, human-to-human. They expect salespeople to create value in every interaction with them. The continued focus on hard sales skills will not equip the sales teams for value creation.

Even the smallest bit of genuine sales character in the sales process will help a business stand out from the crowd, especially since so many companies just fail to recognize this need from buyers.

A 2021 Value Proposition

Sales tips for 2021 includes updating your value proposition. In a noisy, uncertain sales environment, If you are to get buyers to listen to your sales conversations, you need to ensure that you have 2021 value propositions for your product or service that has both sufficient points-of-parity (POP) and points-of-difference (POD).

What this means is that you want your product or service to be considered equal or similar (on par with, hence the word ‘parity’) with the major offerings in your market for the key attributes (POP), but your product and service also needs to have a number of unique or differentiated attributes (POD).

As buyers become harder to reach, your value proposition will be the acid test in sales conversations to make sure you have something to say, which answers the customers “Why Listen” and “Why Care” questions if they were to consider a buying journey. This is how you stand out from the crowd.

Rethink Your Sales Conversations

Selling revolves around 2 core activities. Conversations and Commitments. Your sales conversations must be planned to maximize the sales efforts and opportunities. We all need to ask how strong our conversation content are when it comes to attracting customers’ attention and push them towards making a purchasing decision. We need to convince them that we prioritize their satisfaction over our profit.

Your sales conversations must:

Get critical issues on the table so they can be worked on.
Engages buyers in a meaningful two-way discussion.
Actively listens to hear your client’s real needs.
Challenges your clients to think differently.
Collaborates internally and externally to build a solution that’s best for everyone.

Digital and Social Selling Must Evolve

The great thing about digital or social selling is that it is a learned skill. When the term ‘digital selling’ was first coined, it was meant to help salespeople understand the importance of using social media platforms within their sales processes. Unfortunately, most focused on the ‘selling’ rather than the ‘social’ aspect of the term, and this led to a shoehorning of old school hard-sell tactics on new digital platforms, as opposed to evolving to meet the modern buyer where they’re active. So, Stop Selling And Start Engaging.

Become relational rather than transactional. Modern B2B sellers don’t close deals over Twitter just like traditional reps don’t close deals on the golf course — they network. A successful digital selling strategy is a long-term play. Sales leaders must shift their mindsets from transactional to relational and implement sales training to achieve this. The best digital selling companies are constantly engaging and building relationships with others. After they have earned the right to do so, they can leverage messaging functionality to ask for introductions, meetings, or references.

Sales Tips for 2021 Conclusion

They say necessity is the mother of invention. There is no doubt that the events of 2020 will make it necessary for every business to reshape themselves to thrive in 2021 and beyond.

Leaders will have to optimize their sales strategy to increase customer confidence and lower the hard selling by salespeople including their claims. Selling will evolve where connecting customers to relevant information, simplifying any complexity in the sales process, and collaborating with customers on their learning's will take priority.

The future of selling and sales techniques is about the customer, their wishes and needs.  In the fast paced digital and SaaS world, companies are implementing sales strategies based on transient competitive advantage. This strategy is based on the concept that to win in volatile and uncertain environments, sales teams need to learn how to exploit short–lived opportunities with speed and decisiveness. Sell well and prosper.


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