Evolving consumption habits, improving technologies, better data, and other factors contribute to changes in the way companies approach sales prospecting. These factors have definitely played a role in some of the trends that have emerged early this year.
The following is an introduction to important sales prospecting trends for 2018, along with insights on what they mean for your business.
Emphasis on Qualifying Prospects
Top sales organizations have prioritized qualifying prospects previously, but the methods and format of a qualified prospect definition have evolved. Prospect need or problem, authority to make a decision, financial viability, and willingness to buy have long been factors in qualifying prospects.
Top companies today are focusing on the sense of urgency or emergent nature of a prospect’s need as well. In competitive industries, it isn’t as much about whether you can make a sale, as it is about how efficiently you can do it. Identifying the scope of a problem, people and processes affected, and online intent have also become part of the mix. Behavioral or intent data is often used now to match prospecting techniques to an individual buyer’s journey and online activities.
Increased Influencer and Review Roles
Rather than looking to influencers for recommendations, buyers are turning to their peers. Online buyers and consumers put more stock into peer reviews than ever before. And simultaneously, users have more access to trustworthy reviews. Google has prioritized its user reviews in searches so they are among the first things a searcher sees when investigating providers.
Sales professionals can’t take this trend lightly. First, it puts more pressure on you to deliver a high-quality customer experience every time. Doing so improves your potential for attracting positive reviews and minimizing negative ones. Communicating openly and identifying problems before users take them online is vital. To leverage satisfied customers, share links to Google, Yelp and other online review sites and respectfully invite happy customers to share their experiences with others.
Social Selling Growth
Social selling continues to expand as salespeople realize their audience is actively engaged on social media. In B2B, LinkedIn is a hotspot for connecting with decision makers. For consumer markets, it is a bit trickier to identify whether platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and others allow you to connect with your audience.
Social selling is about establishing a brand image and presence, making connections, building trust and then guiding people toward your solutions.
Personalization Throughout the Buyer Journey
Thanks to improvements in marketing automation and artificial intelligence, top companies now deliver personalized content to prospects throughout the buyer journey. This strategy allows you to make brand impressions as users transition from awareness to consideration and finally to the point of purchase. It also continues post-purchase as you look to retain top customers, and then leverage them as advocates (like with review requests).
These are some of the most important sales prospecting trends to consider as your business looks to reach its goals in 2018. As a specialist in sales prospecting technology and solutions, Salesgenie can help you; start your free trial for a no-risk experience!