B2B trend forecast for 2014

Posted in B2B and mobile sales trends.

As we are nearing the end of another year, people are looking to the future. It is not always possible to know exactly what the New Year will hold but there are always many predictions. We take a look at some of the trends people foresee for the B2B industry.

Response time is crucial

With the increased usage of the Internet by B2B buyers, response time has become crucial. The Internet makes everything occur quicker and therefore you need to be quicker in your response to customer queries. It has been proven that one’s close rate is greatly affected by your response time as well as any delay in follow-up. A majority of leads are often not even called back even though (with the help of the Internet) the customer came to the seller instead of the seller coming to them.

Buying process trumps selling process

Prospects now have the option of doing a lot of their research on products and companies via the Internet. So, in essence, leads will come looking for you instead of the other way around. A B2B salesperson lately becomes involved in the process much later than they have before. It is now more about what the consumer wants to buy than about how you are selling the product to them because they often know everything before they’ve even spoken to you.

Mobility

It seems that mobile is becoming bigger by the year. More B2B salespeople are using mobile devices, from smartphones to tablets, to help them with their sales processes. Seeing as many salespeople are constantly on the road, mobile devices have become essential to remaining productive and staying connected to the office.

At the same time, customers are also more mobile with nearly everyone possessing a mobile device of some sort with which they connect to the Internet, check mail or news and shop. This means everyone involved in a B2B environment needs to start modifying their content to adapt to a mobile future. If your content or selling approach is not yet suited to mobile, you may be missing out on a large portion of your audience.

Sales automation

With the above being said, sales automation has also become a selling necessity. With most salespeople having a mobile device by their side, it has become easier to automate sales while on-the-go. There are so many apps (including the Onsight mobile sales app) that will help take simple, time-consuming tasks out of your hands and off your mind.

Since the world is consistently moving faster, keeping up with changes, demands and expectations is more difficult than ever before. To keep up with demands and a fast pace, sales automation is a logical step to take whether it is a trend or not. Some of the things that are being automated include contact management, order processing (as in the case of Onsight’s PDF order placement system), order tracking, customer management and more.

Using content to generate leads

Content marketing refers to the creation and sharing of media and publishing content. Examples can include blogs, webinars, videos, ebooks, white papers, infographics, case studies and more. This type of marketing has become increasingly popular for generating leads. No longer is it enough to provide a product to a customer but now they also want information and guidance for added value to their purchase.

All of this content marketing provides users of the product with more awareness of how it can be used, what value it adds to their lives and why they need to buy the product for their company. Most consumers are extremely savvy nowadays and prefer to make decisions of their own accord. This is where your content marketing will help to push them in the right direction.

Social selling

Social selling has a lot to do with the fact that customers now have the option to do pre-purchase research. This was not possible a few years ago, customers used to only be able to go through the salesperson to gather any information. Now information is the mere click of a button away and the buyer can remain “invisible” until they are ready to make their purchase. Social selling has also brought word-of-mouth back so the better your reputation is online, the better the chances are that you will find leads simply through people talking.

This changes the role that a B2B salesperson or marketer plays. Leads are coming from different places than before and leads are often gotten through little effort from the salesperson’s side. A salesperson needs to become involved at a different stage than before and throw traditional ideas of lead generation away. This is why the above content marketing is so important to selling successfully. The content is what customers see first nowadays and not the salesperson.