The world of B2B sales is changing. Shifts in technology, buyer personas, and where buyers buy are forcing sellers to change the way they sell. We have seen the influx of younger, digital-native buyers change buyer preferences. And as buyers increasingly interact with vendors and their sellers digitally, they leave trails of insights that new AI technologies can capture for organizations to help them provide customers with what they want, when and where they want it. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that sellers can succeed working remotely, without in-person meetings.
Over the next 3-5 years these trends will continue to permeate the B2B selling arena, and sellers need to be prepared in order to hit the ground running. We predict this new selling era will be characterized by five P’s that will drive success in the future: Purpose-driven, Precise, Personalized, Productive, and Profitable. Here is a quick glance at what it means to embody these five P’s:
In the future of sales, purpose-driven means that organizations will need to offer more than a competitive product to succeed. Buyers will place greater consideration on vendors’ corporate responsibility, and seller candidates will seek more than income when considering opportunities. Corporate social responsibility will be a differentiator among sellers, and those who get it right early will get a head start on their competitors.
In the future, AI will drive sales leaders to be more precise. AI will enable sales leaders to hire more effectively and set more realistic goals, while pinpointing and segmenting customers to drive efficiency among sellers. Implementing the right AI products and effectively integrating them with the organization’s entire tech stack will be paramount to leverage the gold mine of customer and seller insights AI will surface.
Personalization will be key in the future of sales. Buyer journeys will be hyper-personalized and consistent at every touchpoint throughout the customer lifecycle. Sales leaders will need to enable their teams with personalized coaching (leveraging insights from AI), and tools to personalize customer interactions and content.
Today, the average rep spends only 23% of their time on core, direct engagement selling activities — not very productive. In the future, maximizing productivity for all sellers will differentiate organizations. Time-consuming, administrative tasks will be rooted out and automated to free reps up to spend more time selling and working towards their quotas.
Lastly, selling will be focused on being profitable. Sales leaders will be tasked with reducing costs while growing revenue. This will mean a shift in mindset of relying on hiring quota-carrying reps as the primary way to drive top-line growth and instead focusing on the right mix of investments in technology, enablement, and sales support to more cost efficiently boost rep productivity.
Adapting to the new B2B selling landscape will take time, and those who wait will end up missing out. Forrester clients can read more about how to prepare for the future of sales and ensure your organization is ready to face the challenges ahead in our recently published report “The Future Of Sales”, or by downloading the complimentary eBook “The Future Of B2B Sales: The 5 P’s That Will Power Success In The Future“, which also takes a deeper dive into each of the five P’s.