2021 is here and flipping the calendar felt especially good this year as we collectively put quite a bit of 2020’s uncertainty behind us. Of course, a new year is just a detail and not a magic reset button, but with all the lessons learned last year and the promise of an eventual return to non-virtual life, things are looking up. In fact, according to a recent buyer behavior study by Gartner, 70% of Enterprise Buyers predict buying efforts will increase in 2021.
And while that’s great news, too, more buyer efforts don’t always translate into more sales results, and meeting buyers where they want to be met with a message that resonates is crucial. And though we all want to go back out in the world and turn off Zoom for a while, the same isn’t necessarily true for how buyers want to engage with sellers.
Sales Enablement Evolves
Here at Modus, we’ve been helping our customers use mobile technology to keep sales networks up to speed for years. We’ve learned a thing or two about how trends unfold and best practices transition, especially as more buyer engagement data becomes available to marketers, and as technology allows for better and better digital interactions. From this perspective 2021 feels pretty exciting.
Here are three of the top trends we're looking forward to:
1. The Relentless Focus on Buyers
As more and better data becomes available on how buyers interact with sellers and their content, marketers are learning to make interactions more meaningful and relevant. Whether it’s calling out business benefits instead of features, or providing useful information beyond products or services, or just to be a helpful resource and trusted brand; buyers are being catered to and they are really starting to expect it.
Buyers are also more likely to want to self-serve, and they come to conversations with salespeople already armed with a lot of information. Buyers only spend 17% of their time with sellers. This includes all sellers across vendors under consideration. The rest of their time is spent self-educating and in internal conversations about solving their problem.
This means salespeople need to be even more informed and equipped to answer questions about how a product or service impacts business outcomes. They also better have a story and or some data to prove the outcomes they’re promising. This means that even sales assets can’t just be specs and pricing, and sales needs to learn how to continue the same meaningful conversations (live on the phone or via email) that marketing is starting digitally.
We also happen to be improving this in our own sales processes so that right after implementation, the Modus Sales Hub is immediately adding value and everything about the Modus experience goes smoothly. Learn about our new Head of Customer Experience David Kriss!
2. The Buyer—Customer—Marketing Trifecta
Ideally, the buyer’s consumption of good pre-sales content and their subsequent sales conversations were up to snuff, offering the solution to a process, supply, or business problem with enough pain to warrant action. And if your process to lead them from buyer to customer uses the same informed problem solving focus, you deliver quickly on time to value. We know happy customers who get recognizable ROI buy more.
So, naturally, all this focus on buyers’ needs must extend to a focus on customers’ needs across their lifecycle. More and more marketers are realizing that very specific customer marketing is equally as important as demand generation, and that content needs are nuanced and varied. Often, creating content collaboratively with customers to meet exact needs becomes the best solution.
According to Amy Higgins, Director of Content Strategy at Salesforce, in her 2021 Predictions for Content Marketing World, co-creating content with customers is something we will see more of in 2021.
We will co-create more content with our customers and for our customers to help strengthen loyalty and build evangelism." — Amy Higgins, Director of Content Strategy at Salesforce @amywhiggins
I see this with our Sales Hub customers all the time. We get the best results working together.
They bring the brand, messaging, and reach. And we help their sellers use their content with our sales tools in compelling ways to engage and win over buyers. Working together like this is a natural evolution of the buyer-to-customer relationship, and if done well, it helps achieve business goals and creates strong advocates.
3. Interactive Content Becomes a Standard for Sales Growth
Even when we can all sit around a conference table again safely, buyers will continue to self-educate digitally, so the need for engaging digital content is still on the rise. Buyers will expect a virtual exploration of your product to learn more because they can’t see your product in person. Or they’ll want a way to configure product features to meet their needs and receive an email with the specs and cost.
Whether you’re selling a piece of machinery and helping the buyer choose horsepower and wheel size, or configuring tiny gears and cables for a factory assembly line, honing in to exact relevance is becoming mandatory.
Eventually we won’t have to think twice about meeting safely with large groups at conferences or in collaborative meetings. But, going forward, even if we can… it has already become much less necessary (and less expensive) not to always hop on that plane.
Doing business won’t likely swing all the way back to what it was before, at least not right away. In fact, some companies have realized how much overhead travel expenses are, and if results are just as effective virtually, why bother to get jet lagged and spend hours away from your office up in the sky? We know this ultimately means advances in technology and a shift to budget line items. It’s an exciting time to work in the digital sales enablement space as we watch the evolution of greater efficiency and higher sales growth occur in tandem for our customers.
Modus Sales Hub Answers the Call for Better Sales Conversations
Since we know these trends are here and expanding, our product team is working hard to make sure your Modus Sales Hub can keep up with your buyers to help you earn sales growth. From custom landing pages where buyers and sellers interact, to interactive, lead generating Virtual Experiences.
This includes better ways to create and present more configurable content, and new simple methods to easily update and manipulate your assets as needs constantly change. We’re here to help you keep your content evolution organized and delivering to your sales teams.