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Top Sales Trends for 2018

If 2018 will be anything like last year, expect changes in the sales landscape thanks to advances in automation and technology. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, you need innovative sales strategies to help you stand out. The following are the top sales trends for 2018 you should watch.

Video prospecting

Imagine how many cold calls and emails decision-makers get in a day. How can you stand out in an ocean of salespeople just like you? Video prospecting is a new, innovative way to offer not only a fresh new look but an easier way to articulate your unique selling proposition.

Several online platforms offer easy-to-use video and recording. You can personalize a video message that speaks directly to individual pain points. Since individuals respond better to visual presentations rather than text, video prospecting lets you show your product or service much better than a cold email or a phone call.

Messaging

Messaging apps were huge in 2017 and are becoming more popular than regular social networks. Trying to meet your prospects where they are means you are more likely to find them on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp than Twitter or Facebook.

Since prospects perform 70% of product research before they ever talk to a salesperson, your prospects are not picking up the phone when they have questions. They head to your website to look for a live chat option where they can message someone with their question.

In 2018, focus on quick and easy SMS messages. Shoot your prospect a text message rather than calling or emailing with questions or to confirm meetings. Your target audience prefers messaging, so meet them where they are with their communication preferences.

Automation/human touch balance

For best results with sales enablement, not everything in your sales cycle should be automated. The human touch is still important in 2018. Salespeople can and should offer personal interaction based on relevant insights and value, which falls outside of automation capabilities.

Keep your sales stack, but balance the efficiency you get from automation with more personalized selling. Rather than send a template email to a prospect, take the time to add a personal detail from your last meeting or something you gleaned from their website. Adding value to your interactions will never go out of style.

End-user selling

More B2B companies are moving to a different sales process that focuses on selling to the end user. Instead of prospecting C-suite decision-makers, companies are engaging the end user directly with free versions of their products.

Look at the success of companies like Trello that engage end users with the free version of their platform. Called “land and expand,” this strategy entices the lower level demographic with the freemium and turns them into raving fans.

Imagine the difference when reaching out to a C-level decision-maker when a sizable portion of their team is already on your platform. Now think about reaching that same C-level decision-maker with no foundation. Which of these methods will move you closer to a sale in less time?

Account-based selling (ABS)

Account based selling is not only popular; it can generate a fantastic ROI. You identify your highest-value sectors and find the decision-makers. Then you map them to persons for which you have created highly relevant and unique content. Let your targeted content, and retargeted ads do most of the heavy lifting.

ABS makes ROI easy to monitor. It can also reduce your pay-per-click costs, so it is well worth your time to integrate ABS into your sales strategy.

Middle of the funnel

2018 will see more focus on the middle of the marketing funnel rather than leads at the top of the funnel and deals closed at the bottom. The middle of the funnel will get more attention when you use ABS methods that need a lot of upfront work.

You will need to fix the leaks in your middle of the funnel. First, analyze your middle of funnel stats and identify how many touches it takes to move a prospect from one stage to another. One spot to look at, for example, would be what entices certain prospects to request a demo when others do not.

Final thoughts

Watch for these sales trends in 2018. ABS, end-user selling, video, the human touch, and messaging are only a few strategies to add to your sales program in the coming year. You will need to find a balance between how much marketing and sales automation you put into your sales stack and how much personalized and individual attention you give prospects as a means to set yourself apart from the crowd. And as the sales landscape changes over the new year, you will need to leverage these new and compelling ways to engage with prospects and customers.

Contact us today to learn how you can turbocharge your sales efforts with these top sales trends for 2018.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.