In 2021, the market drew marketers to break their traditional selling culture. Businesses had to redefine what it means to have a conversion or how to analyse sales. Experienced sales and marketing experts had some compelling insights to share about this paradigm.
Here, we have compiled such must-know facts, figures, and opinions on sales and marketing that will continue to trend in 2022 and possibly beyond.
In Sales & Marketing Channels
A Purely Virtual Marketing Wing Will Evolve And Prevail
Marketing strategies of today are powerless without a strong digital arm. Marketers are utilizing all digital mediums to increase their brand visibility, nurture better leads, and ultimately boost sales.
Following are some of the crucial online sales trends in 2022 that you cannot avoid:
- Virtual events will gain more traction with multi-brand sponsorship formats, while hybrid events will be the new normal.
- Content marketing will become more critical.
- Websites will be integrated with AR/VR experiences on the home pages for engagement and MQL to SQL conversions.
Video Is The Need Of The Hour
Video content is the name of the marketing game today. Reaching out to prospects through video has proven to reduce contact time, improve conversion rates, and cut sales cycles by half!
To add to its uses, Mr. Prashanth G, Partner at the leading sales coaching firm Growth Aspire, explains, “As we enter 2022, using video and storytelling will be key to engaging audiences. At Growth Aspire, we plan to use video for everything from blogs, sales and to even use video for prospecting for new business development.”
Integration Of Omnichannel Sales Would Be Crucial
Today, people have much more options than a storefront to buy from, but the buyer’s intent and expectations still remain the same. Hence, the sales and marketing teams will have to merge all their channels to offer a unified and easy commerce experience.
Be it online, offline, or through a hybrid medium, about 73% of shoppers look at different channels while searching for a product, according to HBR. And the convenience of buying from their choice of platform is proven to improve conversions.
Personalized Outreach will Solve the Key Problem of Opening a Sales Conversation
Shubanjan Sarkar, Founder PitchLink, has aptly explained the key problem in sales when he said, “Forever the sales function has been focused on Leads. With less than 5% conversion of ‘Leads to Close’, we are coming around to the fact that our inability to correctly qualify and then engage with prospects is the key problem. We spend an enormous amount of time trying to get a discovery call, reaching out repeatedly to over 50% “leads” who are never going to buy, and further 25-30% who may have a need but are not ready yet.
Taking almost 80% of our efforts simply to arrive at a much smaller pool that is likely to convert. Automation which was our answer has shown to not be the answer. Personalized outreach at scale is. Sales happen with persons not personas.
Opening a conversation in a real personalized outreach that is scalable – in a remote setting and by shifting the focus from synchronous to asynchronous engagement will come centerstage in 2022.”
Automation Of Sales Tasks Through AI Is Inevitable
Clearbit research revealed that sales agents spend 64% of their time on non-sales activities. This number can only be improved through exhaustive automation.
AI-powered CRMs, chatbots, inventory management software, etc., are the most in-demand solutions that revolutionize sales cycles today.
Our experts suspect that companies will go beyond these tools and invest in platforms to track the number of dials, sales messaging, emails, mail scripts, time to respond to queries, time to the proposal, etc.
When talking about the role of AI in sales trends in 2022, here’s what Mr. Kaushal Velluri, an OEM and Ecosystem Alliances expert, shared, “The interactions between machines running AI models and giving recommendations & humans adding their experience and deciding on the action to take based on these recommendations will start to form the basis of a lot of sales and marketing decisions. I believe in the coming years, Sales & Marketing functions will be infused with AI as well.”
In Sales & Marketing Strategies
Outsourcing Sales Will Take Precedence Over In-House Teams
Many industries now depend on outsourcing relatively low-touch top-of-the-funnel activities like lead generation and qualification. Especially logistics companies, about 80% of them, rely on outsourcing sales tasks.
Having dedicated sales teams to focus on marketing to different channels using different platforms can boost your MQL conversions phenomenally while helping your company save on costs. Plus, the readymade expertise available at sales outsourcing firms ensures much higher returns on your investment. And all this while the in-house team can focus on contract negotiations and nurturing client relationships.
Low-Cost Geographies Will Gain Demand
Catalysed by the above outsourcing factors, low-cost geographies are now under the radar of most major industries located in high-cost geographies.
While outsourcing does offer several benefits for improving sales cycles, doing so in countries like the US, UK, or Singapore can prove costly. Hence, countries like India, Vietnam, Philippines and countries where sales talent can be found at low costs are gaining precedence.
According to the software outsourcing platform YourTeamInIndia, the global outsourcing market was worth $82.2 billion in 2018, and it’s projected to grow to $85.6 billion by 2022.
By exploiting low-cost geographies for low-touch sales tasks, companies will be able to offer more personalized client service and nurture brand trust.
Data Analytics Will Be Futuristic
Data Analytics has always been about learning from typical user behaviour on a sales channel to analyse performance. But modern data analytics tools are based on predictive analytics to analyse current user behaviour and make intelligent future sales decisions.
Data shows that about 75% of fast-growing companies already use these futuristic analytics tools. They are believed to allow sales agents to spot previously unmarked opportunities while avoiding risks that they couldn’t see before.
Mr. Kaushal Velluri has also emphasized this aspect of sales by saying, “With the ensuing maturity of technologies like Data Analytics, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence; I believe that in the coming years the balance may shift more to science as AI models analyse past data and churn out recommendations on market segments, pricing, competitive analysis, sales cycle movements, customer engagement recommendations, and other aspects.”
Referral Marketing Will Be A Key Sales Strategy
Word of mouth carries more legitimacy than any other form of advertisement. Even today, 92% of consumers trust the referral or recommendations of people they know personally.
Among the recently emerging sales management trends, online referral marketing gained exploding popularity. Before COVID-19, only 3% of decision-makers from global e-commerce companies agreed that referral is a marketing channel that can provide the best ROI. But during the first wave of lockdowns, referrals grew by 425%.
Having an omnichannel sales strategy is one thing, but having a solid referral program for customers has boosted marketing effectiveness by 54%. And more research has shown that customers converted through referrals have a higher retention rate.
To summarize all these figures, if you manage to nurture referral customers, they will most likely stick to your brand. And as long as they stay, they will be more than happy to recommend you to their loved ones.
In Sales & Marketing Teams
The Role Of CMOs Will Be Redefined
Chief Marketing Officers of the digital age will have to forget their old marketing tactics and build a digital-first mindset.
“As uncertainty becomes the norm, marketers can no longer rely on traditional, by-the-book methods, nor can they chart out a multi-year strategy in advance. All this while businesses become more and more outcome-driven. It’s no surprise then that the CMO’s role is evolving to that of a Chief Growth Officer in a hybrid matrix of data-driven marketing, sales, product, tech, and customer advocacy.” says Mr. Kaustubh Chandra, a long-time CMO in the IT industry.
CMO will now be dealing with a multi-department structure where they would have to collaborate with Sales Heads, heads of Customer Support, and third-party experts to create a unified marketing workflow. Mr. A L Jagannath (Jaggi), a Head of Marketing himself, adds to this emerging trend saying,” In the post-pandemic world, we will see the advent of more technology creeping into marketing making the CMO the second-largest spender on technology after the CIO/CTO. Marketing roles will become very narrow and specialized with competencies leaning towards analytics, understanding of automation tools, data science, etc. Tomorrow’s CMO will be geekier than ever before.
Digitally Enabled Salespeople Will Gain Preference
Salespeople well-acquainted with sales and marketing tools will now gain preference over traditionally-minded salespeople.
With the drastic digitization and automation being embedded in sales strategies globally, companies will invest more in new, tech-savvy talent to keep up with the world. Hence, people with inside sales skills and proficiency at using various sales tech and Martech tools will naturally be better at these jobs.
Companies will also have to focus on training their sales team more frequently to keep them up-to-date, as investing in training and coaching employees can lead to a 95% improvement in company revenue. (Aberdeen)
The Percentages In All Marketing Aspects Will Be Redefined
Incentives have always played a major role in boosting sales team morale in every industry. But according to the Pipedrive report, 61% of sales reps expressed feeling underappreciated as companies reinstated harsh quotas and business goals as they reopened.
Companies have understood that while quotas are essential, rewarding small sales successes can prove far more profitable. Our experts believe that implementing creative compensation structures will be an emerging sales management trend in 2022.
The typical 70% threshold for the incentives component to kick in will give way to innovative ways of motivating the sales teams to get closer to quota and compensate for the efforts to convert deals.
Integrating Sales, Marketing, & Support Can Prove Beneficial
Marketing is more than just promotions today. It has merged into a comprehensive domain of sales, support, and content marketers combined. As customers can decide to buy a product or service with a single button click, they also need on-demand sales and technical support to back their decisions.
Simply put, the combined efforts of sales, marketing, and support teams will drive revenue in the digital age. While the marketing team helps buyers reach the product, the sales team will deal with their queries, and the technical support team will ensure glitch-free communication among these parties – this is the new reality of marketing that will continue to blend further in the years ahead.
While there are CRM tools that can help streamline the roles of these teams, it can still be challenging to make your marketing and sales team work together. But to tackle that challenge, you can refer to this funny and witty conversation between a human and dog about helping sales and marketing teams work together.
In Buyer Behaviour
Buyers Will Be More independent and In The Know.
In the earlier days, salespeople could sell products with less effort as the buyers lacked more alternatives and the power to make informed decisions. This changed with the evolution of the internet and social media, to a point where buyers have more power over a sale than sellers.
“We have now reached a threshold where more than 65% of the conversations are initiated by the buyer. Buyers don’t need sellers anymore, and on the other hand, choices have exploded; for each requirement, there are at least 40 compelling options,” says Mr. Zaheer Travadi, who heads an Industry Agency & Brand Business at a leading CSP.”
As customers are more informed and aware, sales and marketing managers are now forced to consistently build customer-centric strategies that uphold their power to make the best choice. In this aspect, Zaheer continues to say, “Indeed the Sales & Marketing functions will continue to look less like a team of ill-equipped go-getters and more and more like an all-in-one consumer-centric experience and enablement platform. We now get to seize that moment when we finally get to redefine and redesign the full funnel in the way we always said how we wanted it.”
Customer Experience (CX) Is, And Will Be, The Top Priority
In a world where a single bad online review can ruin a product’s sales and marketing efforts, the importance of a consistent customer experience is quite apparent.
Now that customers have the freedom to experiment with their choices, they will expect businesses to be at their best sales and marketing game. A study by SuperOffice found that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more now for a great customer experience. And being quick, easily accessible, and technologically up-to-date will play a major role here.
Talking about his CX strategies, here’s what Mr. Oscar D’Silva, a founder and Director at a leading Employee Engagement company, explained, “In an increasingly complex business environment (with the whole world has invested nearly two years in rapid digitalization), I would push for my partners to develop solutions that work well within the client’s existing framework.
For e.g., I would ask this one question to my own team: Can we develop ideas and concepts that work seamlessly with the client’s existing investments? And if yes, can our sales teams clearly show our value and ability to exploit and better our client’s existing investment?”
There’s no better way to sum up the fundamentality of CX in a statement than how Mr. Kaustubh Chandra puts it by saying, “Businesses that keep the pivot wheel in motion by adapting their products and services to fit their customers’ evolving needs will see their marketing teams don multiple hats from storyteller to customer champion to growth driver and lead the growth agenda of their organization.”
Mr. Ramanan C., Director of sales in a leading Security company, added to the list of these emerging trends saying, “Digital dominance is proven post-COVID across all industry verticals & it’ll continue to dominate even with the Hybrid work culture moving forward. A few important trends which we can foresee & to be focused on are:
- AI built customized customer content
- Business relevant technology discussions
- Mobile optimization
- Integrated Digitalisation
- More attraction & reach for short Video-based contents
- Advancement in Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)”
Mr. Tamarai G V, a Senior Industry Cloud Marketing professional, best puts this paradigm shift in words when she says, “Enabling accelerated digital transformation for customers mandates enhanced user experience across customer journey touchpoints. Marketing in the age of the pandemic involves analytics & technology-driven, multi-channel enabled, personalized, localized, contextualized content-centric approach to delivering success.”
And we at Cusp Services aim to enable businesses to achieve such transformation through our unique 4-Pillar Revenue Growth System. We understand what your business would take to survive and thrive in this digital age, and help you manage everything from your people, product propositions, processes, and profits with a dedicated team of sales and marketing leaders.