Wednesday, December 14, 2016

5 B2B and Enterprise Sales Trends to Watch in 2017

1. Bringing Social Into Sales Though B2C marketing puts more emphasis on social media campaigns, it’s becoming important for bringing in B2B sales as well. Skeptical? 73% of salespeople who used social selling outperformed their colleagues, according to SalesforLife. The best part? Social selling isn’t expensive or difficult to implement. Salespeople can use platforms like LinkedIn (LNKD), Twitter (TWTR), and Instagram to find, qualify, and connect with leads. Warming up those leads by engaging with them is easy on these platforms—and can make the sale that much easier.

2. Analytics and Big Data Today, we have an amazing opportunity to learn about what customers really want, instead of what we think they want, thanks to big data and analytics. Using data effectively is a great way to boost sales, get better leads, and operate more efficiently. Despite the fact that everyone is talking about the benefits of using data in sales, very few companies are actually implementing these strategies to inform their sales decisions. Why? Because it takes some patience and resources to make sense of the data available. Businesses who do invest in data see great results, however, and most companies find it’s worth the trouble. You can gain a huge competitive advantage by leveraging even just a portion of the available data to improve your B2B selling strategies. You don’t need a sophisticated big data team or system to benefit. Start using analytics to track the sources and progress of your current sales process, then use the data from successful sales to help your team strategize and focus on the aspects of the sale that matter most, whether that turns out to be lead source, demographic, or sales tactics. Only the data can give you this information!

3. Interactive Content Whitepapers and other informative content used to be enough to make sales, but the market has been flooded with these materials. B2B customers are more interested in immersive, custom content, like interactive whitepapers, videos, and podcasts. These are powerful tools for salespeople, and creating interactive content is just another way your sales and marketing team can work together to produce conversions. Start by thinking about what types of interactive content are relevant to your business. Brainstorm with the marketing and sales team about what your clients want to know—and what will convince them to decide on your product. Investing in the right interactive content will help your sales team become more effective. Don’t have an in-house marketing team yet? Consider hiring a freelancer on retainer to supply sales with the content they need to succeed.

4. Better Targeting, Better Leads Inbound marketing and sophisticated digital marketing campaigns are giving sales professionals an influx of leads so they can focus on doing what they do best: selling. However, in 2017, B2B marketers are working toward better targeting, generating higher-quality leads for sales teams to work with. This is great news for sales—the better the leads, the better the conversion rate, and quality leads allow sales teams to work more efficiently. You can harness this trend by encouraging quality over quantity in your marketing department. Encourage your team to prioritize targeted campaigns to produce higher-quality leads, and examine the results of different campaigns to see which approaches produce the best leads overall. 5. Mobile and Digital Solutions Everything is moving online—and onto our phones and tablets. Sales needs to move onto these platforms as well, adapting to the needs of a digital world. Webinars, an optimized mobile site, and options for on-the-go leads will help companies find success in 2017. Think outside the box when it comes to mobile. Aside from ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, make it easy for your leads to reach you from all their devices. Build your interactive content to be mobile-friendly, and pay attention to the feedback you’re getting.

Contact me at tduggan(@) at Cogent for more Info or to Network. Cogent delivers customers with Highly Reliable, Secure and Scalable IP Networks. With 700 POP Data Center locations, over 200 markets throughout 41 countries in North America, Europe and Asia, with over 60,000 route miles of long-haul fiber.

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