The Covid-19 pandemic has moved many marketing and sales activities including events, retail sales, conferences, etc., to online modes of communication and automation, with continued focus to enhance customer experience across channels. The ongoing pandemic compelled businesses to orchestrate in-house technological infrastructure, with increased use of digital channels to achieve their sales performance targets.
The sales enablement landscape will reset in 2022 as customer behaviour, and business ideologies continue to evolve. Customers today are looking for value-based products and services with personalized omnichannel buying experiences. Rapid digital acceleration and the rise of the hybrid work model have made sales enablement even more crucial to bolster salesforce effectiveness and capability.
Going forward in 2022, more enterprises will invest in sales enablement tools that focus on workforce upskilling, sales practices, cross-functional alignment, and better application of sales competencies on the job. Let’s look at the six trends that will help businesses to accelerate the adoption of sales enablement and boost sales in 2022:
Sales teams will need to evolve and move away from the traditional models of selling – which was (especially in B2B sales) heavily dependent on physical interactions, relationship management, and business entertainment. Today’s sales teams must have a good understanding of using sales enablers like CRM platforms and productivity tools to help track and monitor team and customer progresses.
The best sales reps will be those who can converse, connect, and convert a customer remotely with minimum face-to-face meetings. This will require them to leverage content, design virtual engagement plans and data-led prioritization of interactions with customers. Therefore, the need to re-train the sales team on adopting the latest tools and processes will be of primary importance. Organizations that focus more on enabler training, content understanding and reading data to infer better will stay ahead of the curve.
Another key sales enablement trend is keeping customer-facing teams motivated and fostering team-building through tools like Zoom. The sales leaders should conduct structured virtual communication among teams to bring them together and devise future-forward strategies.
With remote work becoming the order of the day, it is becoming that much more important to keep employees aligned with the company. The work from office model used to build significant camaraderie between team members both inside and outside the team which is missing in the remote work environment.
Organizations must devise engagement plans that drive camaraderie and fills the gap of physical interactions between team members. Offsites will give way to onsite engagements. With sales team members spread across multiple locations, the need to drive a Hub and Spoke model based physical engagements will become important. Instead of getting team members to come to one location for offsites, organization should evaluate the option of driving multiple Hub offsites to engage people better.
The next phase of sales enablement will rely on agile sales enablement processes to tighten sales and marketing alignment and fulfil needs more efficiently. An agile approach will allow revenue enablement teams to respond immediately to new priorities such as shifting customer behaviour or social trends.
Going forward, more enterprises will leverage a portmanteau of sales and marketing functions referred to as ‘Smarketing.’ It will help deliver high-impact marketing campaigns, boost sales effectiveness, and maximize revenue.
The rise of AI and machine learning has helped optimize sales enablement functions. Enterprises can extract key sales intelligence using AI/ML-led sales analytics tools. The predictive analytics tool will drastically shorten the customer conversion cycle and streamline the company’s messaging strategy to create up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.
Traditionally, the sales enablement tools were structured as systems of integrations with the company’s existing sales toolkit like ERPs, CRMs, etc. But today, those tools are becoming systems of intelligence due to their ability to analyse large datasets, including marketing, customer, sales data, and more.
AI-led CRM helps align sales and marketing processes, automate customer service activities, and ultimately maximize sales. Additionally, Social CRM helps integrate social media channels to get a clear understanding of customer activities and brand sentiment across social media channels.
The number of online buying interactions has increased significantly owing to changes in the business landscape. Individual buyers now prefer self-service information gathering throughout their journey and expect personalized content that reflects an understanding of their pain points. Enterprises are feeding their prospective buyers with need-to-know information, educational blogs, videos, and downloads to help buyers finalise their purchase and simplify the conversion path.
On the other hand, content marketing is also becoming far more embedded in the broader customer experience (CX) strategy. Businesses are also leveraging content to build a loyal community of audience for their products and services and tie it into a revenue centre that generates leads for them.
The database will continue to be a key differentiator for enterprises to power their customer outreach programs and drive conversions. In 2022, businesses will invest substantially in a B2B database provider to:
Define and acquire ideal customer profiles
Leverage intelligent, contactable data to reach the target audience
Improve conversion rate by analysing database with similar profiles
Businesses must make use of predictive analytics to leverage buyer intent data and synthesize it with market signals to predict the purchase probability and deliver a seamless customer experience
In a nutshell, future sales enablement trends will depend on providing the teams with AI/ML-led tools, hyper-focused content strategy, and sales training they need to succeed. Businesses will have to adopt digital technology, database tools, and hybrid training to orchestrate micro-targeted campaigns. Also, a closely-knit sales and marketing team will be crucial for strengthening the lead pipeline and improving conversions at every touchpoint