Digitization and technological advancements have changed the whole perception of how buyers and sellers approach the entire sales process. Sales leadership today is one of the most demanding skills today. Across Europe, B2B organizations are adapting themselves to the new changes getting new tools and trying out new tactics. Though the traditional approach to sales still hasn’t lost its charm under constantly changing sale scenarios, B2B organizations need to ask these questions to themselves,
- 1. What sales skills can be useful in contemporary times to engage B2B buyers, close more deals, and get more revenue?
- 2. How do they combine the traditional sales tactics and the latest selling concepts to come up with something that entices the buyers fulfilling their changing expectations?
To help you find answers to both these questions, LinkedIn’s 2019 Annual State of Sales report was taken into context. The report did a detailed research in the three major markets of Europe- Germany, France, and United Kingdom.
500 B2B buyers and sales professionals were surveyed from each of these countries. Based on that, comparisons were made, market to market and four significant trends were identified that were impacting the whole of Europe. They are as follows: –
- 1. Increasing dependency on technology-
The increasing use of CRM, automation tools, and analytics have impacted every aspect of a sales process. A lot of B2B companies have employed AI and analytics to understand their customers and their buying behavior. In countries like Germany and UK, more than 90% of sales professionals feel that technology is a must to close deals. In France, around 50% of sales professionals say the use of technology has become a norm in sales.
When you take these three countries into account, 80% sellers leverage sales technology every week. What differentiated top sellers from their contemporaries was, they used more tech in their sales process.
With rising dependence on tech, B2B businesses are set to make investments in a wide array of tools. Around 50% sales professionals feel their companies are sure to make some more investments in sales technology in coming few months.
CRM, collaboration tools, and networking platforms are three technologies that were constantly used by all sellers. Among which collaboration tools and networking plaforms found uniform utility across Europe, whereas the usage of CRM varied from country to country.
- 2. The increasing role of social media in the buyer’s journey-
Social media is a great place to understand the behavior of your customers. It enhances your sales intelligence helping you guide your customers through the buyer’s journey. From the awareness stage to the closing stage, both buyers and sellers depend on it to make their decisions on buying and selling.
Among all European countries, Germany has the most social approach, with around 60% of the sales professionals using networking platforms.
It may be surprising to know that social media has become an important place for customers to weigh their options. More than 25% of buyers prefer social media to do their research on products and services in France and Germany. More than 85% of sellers said that networking platform had become a crucial aspect to closing deals, and it goes to more than 90% when it comes to top sales professionals.
More than 60% of B2B buyers said that they prefer sales professionals who reach out to them via LinkedIn. LinkedIn was preferred by more than 40% of sellers as the most important platform to make sales
- 3. Relationship Building is still essential-
No matter how dependent sales become on tech or how many tools come into play, building a trustworthy relationship with your customers is a vital aspect of sales. Unless you don’t establish trust with your clients, closing deals is an ordeal. Even today, more than 30% of sales personals think of it as the most essential factor to be successful in sales. More than 50% of sellers in Europe feel trust comes under the top two factors to make sales.
Building trust in a competitive market isn’t that easy. Other factors come into play like price, value and return on investment. You need to be clear with your strategy and must have numbers to back your claim. When sellers have a precise strategy and data to back their claims, it establishes the right kind of trust among customers.
Sales professionals who can build trust and know how to communicate their business needs would always get a response from buyers. Also, the survey revealed that top-performing sales professionals would prefer using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to leverage sales intelligence and close more deals.
- 4. Alignment between sales and marketing-
Yes, for sales to get better marketing and sales need to have proper sync with each other. Effective alignment of both the teams gives an immense boost to sales. The leads marketing team generate should be sales ready, and as per the LinkedIn sales report, top sellers describe the leads they get from their marketing counterparts as excellent.
In UK more than 70% of the top sellers say that closing deals is easier when marketing is top notch. B2B buyers confirm the value of why alignment between sales and marketing is essential in the report. As more than 45% of them said that they prefer getting in touch with a seller pitching them on behalf of strong professional brands.
Consistency must be maintained between marketing and sales, as per buyers, this is something most sales team lack. That is why, as a B2B company, your marketing and sales team must have a common understanding of the buyer’s journey. Doing so is the first step towards creating a sync between marketing and sales effectively.
Technology is changing the overall experience of overall sales in Europe. Today, for a seller, it is essential to have the right set of tools for time management, client engagement, and building better relationships. Also, having the backing of data-driven analytics is a plus point. Though making a human connection and building a genuine relationship is still the most important factor in making sales.