In other words, sales will be hard to come by for quite a while. That’s why it’s more important than it’s ever been in the previous few decades to know which guns to stick to in order to stay at the cutting-edge. And for many, this knowledge will be necessary for mere survival.
The trends covered in this article will be a combination of general trends in sales (technology and processes) and those influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
6 Emerging Sales Trends to Watch
According to McKinsey’s recent research , one of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior has been an increase in mindfulness. In other words, people are more careful than ever before about what they spend on, how they spend, and what they’re getting for their money.
This is why transparency is definitely a sales trend to stick to and, if anything, boost.
You need to be absolutely 100% clear on what your customers are paying for and what they’re getting in return. At every step of the purchasing funnel, you need to focus on the value they are getting for their money and how this will help them save or make money.
When it comes to transparency, we can find great examples in travel companies handling Covid-19, many of which dropped the ball . Others, like Much Better Adventures , have adapted to the new circumstances and managed to maintain their audience’s trust by focusing on safety, transparency, and flexible offers. You can rest assured that the effects of this on sales will be more than visible as the travel industry starts getting back on its feet.
2 Digital Sales
Another major shift is the increasing portion of consumers starting to shop online, even for products and services they never bought online before. This data is obvious not only from the McKinsey research, but also another big consumer research project by Accenture .
For the majority of Leadfuze blog readers, this may not play such a big role. After all, your products/services are online-based anyway. But there must be those whose majority of sales came offline in the past. For them, things are changing rapidly.
Luckily, there are more than a few examples of companies in traditionally offline-based niches that are doing well in a growingly online world.
Zoma is the perfect example. They operate in what you would call a hardcore offline niche – mattresses and other sleeping products. However, with a smart combination of great, well-researched content, extensive information about their products, and an abundance of customer testimonials, they are killing it in the online arena.
3 Sustainability and responsibility
The research mentioned above also shows an increased concern that consumers have regarding sustainability and responsibility (specifically, concerns over companies keeping their customers and employees safe). This is also perfectly understandable. Customers are looking to do business with companies that are part of the solution and not the problem.
This was true even before the pandemic, but it is now taking center stage as one of the biggest concerns.
It’s important to point out that this is a sensitive subject. And that you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon just for the sake of it. Most companies that work in the SaaS space can do very little. (Apart from ensuring their employees are safe by working remotely and perhaps offering special deals to organizations that are on the front lines in the battle against coronavirus.)
It’s in bad taste (to say the least) to try and win customers by screaming at the top of your lungs that you are “massively involved,” “there for your customers,” and other insincere proclamations that mean nothing.
If you’re helping, say it, don’t scream it. If it’s business as usual, maybe sit this one out.
4 Brand Story
In times of dwindling budgets and loyalties, the brand story can only become more important, with companies giving a personal insight into what they do and how they do it. The increasing mindfulness of the current and future shoppers will mean they will spend time researching the different brands.
This means you cannot be just another blip on the market with a cool logo and occasional discounts.
Elemental Labs is a great example of leveraging a brand story as a way of driving sales. The meat of their content revolves around their Story , outlining who they are and why they developed their product, constantly focusing on real people with real athletic and/or scientific background working on the best product in their niche.
5 AI in sales
The applications of artificial intelligence in sales are many, and they’re only going to get more prominent in days to come, regardless of how things work out.
Among the current uses of AI, we can find the following:
- Sourcing of leads
- Qualification of leads
- Automation of increasingly personalized sales messages
- Data analysis
- Increased efficacy of experimentation
As more and more companies decide to try their hand in AI sales applications, new uses will be discovered. And new tools developed that will help salespeople in more ways.
The best thing about AI in sales? An increasing number of options are focusing on products and services for smaller companies. They’re leveling the AI field for businesses that couldn’t even dream of accessing the same tools as large corporations.
Speaking of AI. LeadFuze uses our machine learning program to automatically pull ideal leads and send them to your favorite sales tools. Just tell our custom bot (Fuzebot) which criteria makes a great lead and it will send leads into your funnel.
Here’s how a custom search looks in the all-new LeadFuze:
6 Omnichannel, Omnichannel, Omnichannel
Omnichannel sales have been lauded for quite a while, but with increased online spending due to Covid-19, making your products/services available across different channels has become crucial.
The Accenture research has discovered a huge increase in purchasing across various channels:
- In-app purchasing – from 56% to 81%
- Purchasing on social – from 41% to 79%
- Livechat/chatbot use – from 41% to 74%
Similar increases are seen for online consultation services, once again proving that customer support can be used as a sales channel.
The main takeaway here is that it’s probably time to investigate additional sales channels. Especially if you haven’t done this already. Start small. Stay agile. And find out what exactly works for you.
It’s been a tough year for sales, and all signs point to at least another negatively-affected year ahead of us. Keeping up these sales trends will help you stay on top of things.
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