Sales Enablement Trends and Benchmark Best Practices for 2021 & Beyond

Sales | 3 minutes to read

01st Mar, 2021

Enterprises will collaborate with b2b data providers to get a shot of sales intelligence and reach their prospects faster.

In 2020, it was the pandemic that outpaced our learnings. The pathogen slammed economies, slowed growth, and impacted almost every aspect of life while crawling continents. In 2021, let’s hope it will be the learnings that will outpace Covid-19.

One important sales enablement lesson that enterprises learned was that the current market demands an entirely new mindset. Steering clear of the trillion-dollar economic wreckage and surfing through the shockwave will require a reactive & agile sales strategy.

This is how I see the next phase of sales enablement evolving as we come out of this pandemic-induced economic turmoil – A lot of technology leverage with some good to have transitions becoming must have transitions in the sales enablement world for organizations to get back on track with their business plans.

Digital as a key sales tool

The pandemic shoved the sales plans of 2020 wayside and enterprises have seen digital becoming a mandate from elective. The period has shifted sales conversions from physical locations to digital platforms. There was a heavier reliance on mobile marketing, website marketing, etc. While planning sales in 2021, enterprises should not be gun-shy and fast-track the adoption and execution of digital or technology-led sales. Transitioning towards a customer focussed digital strategy will require systems, processes, and content.

Moreover, the content will emerge as the best sales tool in this era of social distancing. Therefore, enterprises need to unshackle from conventional content practices for succeeding with modern-day b2b marketing. It will be the key to bring enterprises into the digital landscape which needs to be planned for multiple scenarios, omnichannel direction, and data collection. Enterprises need to spin their messages with a laser-focused personalization approach to reach their target audience.

Another key to succeeding in 2021 will be the fast-track adoption of Martech and the omnichannel approach. Enterprises need to pre-emptively invest in data-powered sales intelligence and outreach operations, e.g Webinars can become an effective Customer outreach strategy tool. Instead of using webinars as a standalone audience generation platform, it is going to be used as an important medium to reach and then capture mind share.

AI-Enabled Sales Analytics

We have seen some smarter enterprises leveraging AI and analytics. However, in the next normal, these technologies will emerge as an existential business need and not just nice-to-have capabilities. AI and Analytics will stand out as a prerequisite to enabling productive & empathetic sales conversations.

 AI & ML Led analytics significantly will shorten the path to convert a customer– this area is already progressing fast. In the upcoming days, AI will guide the messaging strategy and help enterprises in building momentum providing a gateway to cross-selling opportunities. Enterprises will be vying for capabilities to align sales teams with the ideal accounts and orchestrate full-circle sales processes with dynamic demand generation experiences.

Intelligent DB as a Customer Acquisition Tool

The database will be seen as a differentiator rather than a raw material. Enterprises will pivot around cleaner databases to power their outreach programs and drive conversion. In 2021, this area will see investments and options across all segments of organizations. Data as an essential condition for survival will help organizations to:

  • Leverage intelligent, contactable data to reach the next new customer
  • Define and then acquire Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP)
  • Improve conversion rate by analyzing database with look-alike profiles before use.

Enterprises armed with intelligent database management systems will be able to solve customer connect gaps more efficiently. Sales analytics in tandem with IDBMS and ML will drive better and faster customer acquisition options.  NexGen sales intelligence will drive down the execution gap existing between ABM Programs and conversions.

Virtual Audit & Sales

There was nothing new about virtual audit and sales, it was already there. However, Covid-19 just worked as a force multiplier when it roiled traditional supply chains & slammed retailers on the back. Retail modernization of over 6 years took place in just 6 months as most retailers understood that customers are no longer going to wait for laggard brands.

Smart retailers and many OEM manufacturers responded with re-enforcements, they adopted virtual sales & audit platforms. Depending upon the extent of disruption the pandemic drives for the next few years – virtual audit and sales platforms could become an important area of investment for Retail, B2C, and focused B2B organizations.

Guiding the employees, training the workforce on new processes will increasingly be delivered through virtual platforms. Labor-intensive retail audit operations can be virtualized with last-mile connectivity and technology integration. These platforms or solutions will shift from a good to have requirement to a must-have requirement in the present pandemic-impacted world. Retailers will be able to make smart use of their space and optimize the supply chain for tangible business benefits.

Conclusion

The story of 2020 is over. However, if we wind the time back and review 2020 under the lens then we realize that it holds important lessons of sales success for 2021. While many enterprises slouched in the covid-19 blizzard, some increased profits by manifolds.

The current market trends are fast-paced and the margin for error is less. Going forward, enterprises transitioning to digital channels and adopting account-based marketing will sail through the tough times. They will need intelligent sales orchestration and micro-targeted campaigns backed by AI, ML, and IDBMS dashboard capabilities. Closely aligned sales & marketing operations will be a mandate for improving sales conversations at every touchpoint and closing pipeline opportunities.

The article had originally appeared here.

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