We are already several months into 2017 and while some of the year’s trend predictions have not quite lived up to their potential, these 5 B2B sales trends are continuing to soar. Best of all, they won’t be coming down anytime soon

BIG DATA

Thanks to an ever-climbing upward trend that is making big data the hottest commodity in B2B sales this year, you have likely already heard a little bit about this strategic marketing tool that is on every company’s to-do list

But what exactly is big data, anyway?

Big data are HUGE data sets that companies can analyze computationally. This process is used to reveal useful information such as trends, patterns and associations – mostly pertaining to human behavior and buying habits.

Unlike some trendy marketing tools that come and go, big data is here to stay, not just for 2017 but for the foreseeable future. Big data can help you to hone in on insights like:

  • Past purchase history that will allow you to deploy custom offers based on customer trends,
  • Public human resources information,
  • Uncovering issue and error root cause in order to more efficiently deploy resources to address them,
  • Identifying customer pain points,
  • Company size and other factors that will help you to reach out to prospective clients more efficiently.

In a nutshell, because of big data, you will know how to effectively identify your target audience, the right questions to ask, the right people to contact and the right way to contact them, and turning more leads into clients.

SALES AUTOMATION

The need for human intervention in sales automation is finally being met. Say goodbye to script reading. This year, automation has a new meaning, allowing the system to serve the human and not the other way around.

So what does that mean exactly?

A representative can quickly use the system software that you already have set in place to learn more about a prospective user. When doing so, your sales rep might notice that the user purchased a specific item on your website and this information can open the way to a personalized call or email that doesn’t feel scripted. (And maybe even more sales.)

“Hi, Rick. How are you today? I noticed that you purchased our 3-in-1 printer package yesterday. Thanks so much for that! I really hope you love it. I was just surfing your website and company’s Instagram and I noticed a few more of our office items that might help your business. I am sending you some information on those right now. I just wanted to give you the heads up and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Thanks again, Rick!”

What the rep did here was take the sales automation that you know and use it to be human. Nobody likes to feel like a number or like just another page in the script. This is always going to be true and this is why this trend will also live on to fight another year.

PROSPECT SCORING

Prospect scoring is like the “swipe it right” of account based marketing. It helps you to uncover the likelihood of making a lead into a client, putting your efforts into the best arena for success. A potential client gets their score based on many factors and how high the score of a prospect will determine the sales potential of that particular lead. (This is also known as lead scoring.)

Although this list would be MUCH longer in real life, here is a sampling of what a prospect scoring sheet might look like…

  • Opened email: +1 point
  • Watched video: +3 points
  • Third party click: +1 point
  • Received error page: -10 points

You get the idea. All together, these elements work together to give you a glimpse into who means business about your business.

If you have a small sales team, prospect scoring can help you to direct your efforts where they will pay off most. Because even large sales teams don’t have time for wasted time, this trend will stick around to help marketers make the most of all of their hard work.

LEAD NURTURING

This year, sales teams are really taking in the importance of growing and keeping accounts that are already loyal to their company. Failure to do so could spell trouble, leaving faithful clients looking for someone to take your place.

Lead nurturing is basically upping your marketing game in ways like combining phone calls and behavioral data with direct mail, using predictive analytics to help define accounts and creating new content to cater to those who binge on information before they buy.

Along with established clients, account nurturing can also be used to keep potential prospects interested. You cannot win them all, but some accounts are slow burning. Keeping those embers glowing may make all the difference in a lead that goes cold and a lead that becomes one of your best customers.

Just like relationships in your personal life, B2B relationships need to be nurtured in order to grow and thrive. For this reason, even though it is being called a “trend”, account nurturing will always be alive and well.

ACCOUNT BASED MARKETING

This trend is one that is a little more time consuming than most, but if you have large and important accounts or potential accounts that can greatly contribute to your company’s revenue… listen up.
Account based marketing is exactly what it sounds like – marketing directly to a specific client. It is basing a campaign specifically on that account.

Studies have shown that ABM has a far higher return than traditional marketing and it is easy to see why. Not all companies can picture what you can do for them on their own. If you can show them, specifically, you may have won over a lifetime-client. Because of the in-depth nature of ABM, you likely will not have the time or manpower to cater to every single account that you have in this fashion. For this reason, you may decide to cater to each industry differently or just choose the clients with the most potential to target as an ABM campaign.

Whatever way you play it, you will utilize ABM’s magic for years to come. Everybody likes to feel special and understood. If you can manage these two things… you’ve already won half the battle.
Staying on trend can help you to stay in the here and now, but knowing what trends have the potential to become necessities can give you the staying power that you need to keep growing strong.

How are you implementing these new trends into your sales efforts?

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