• Emily Malone

8 trends for Salespeople to master in 2018

The selling world is constantly changing. 2017 brought us AI sales tools, machine learning, better sales automation and hyper-targeting. 2018 is bringing us even more trends to keep up with our fast-paced selling environment. Here are eight of the most popular sales trends recommended  for salespeople this year.

1. Video prospecting

Yep, video prospecting is now a thing. Last year, Forbes Insights found that 60% of business respondents said they would watch a video on a web page before reading any text at all. Plus, after watching a social video, 65% said they end up visiting the business’ website.

It’s so hard to stand out in the sea of salespeople who are constantly calling and emailing decision makers, so a major selling trend for 2018 will be to send out these personalised videos instead. This means upping your video skills in 2018 is a big recommendation.

Think about the delivery, tone and pace of your videos. Experiment with backgrounds, lighting, and props. And try to make it short and sweet to keep attentions. There are loads of video and recording platforms for marketing and sales teams these days — Vidyard, Wistia, Soapbox, and Loom — just to name a few. These platforms are great for recording, editing, and even tracking the performance of your videos.

2. Transparency

To create great rapport and connect with your prospects, it’s always tempting to pretend you love a certain interest when you hear they’re into it. But there’s really not much point in trying to trick them like this any more, people can smell your cut-and-paste strategy a mile off. Being authentic will get you much further.

Say a prospect supports a certain football team, but you’re one of those people who aren’t really into sports. Don’t lie! Instead, be honest and say “Oh I don’t really follow much football, how are your team doing?” This shows genuine openness to discuss their interest and learn more, even if you don’t like it. It’s a great quality to have.

3. Tech savviness

It seems the releasing of shiny new sales tools is never-ending. Salesforce, for example, launch new features all the time. These tools, while being rolled-out specifically for boosting rep productivity, can also take a while to get used to. This means they can often end up staying unused. That’s why we always encourage using Trailhead to get to grips with any shiny new tools Salesforce release. The trails are really accessible, and also kinda fun!

4. Framing

Why should I buy from you? Why should I choose your product? ‘Framing’ refers to pitching your product or service in a storytelling way which answers these questions. A good frame embraces the emotional impact of what you’re selling, it gets your prospect focused on the outcome of your vision, and makes them feel like a big part of the story.

Review your pitch. Is it easy to understand? Are you telling a story or reciting a series of boring facts? Do you present your product as the answer to their specific problems?

5. Challenger selling

Now, this isn’t a new one, but according to Ben Cotton — Senior Manager at EMEA Sales Enablement, “the most important sales skill we’ll see in 2018 is once again Challenger Selling.”

Apparently, simply building relationships with prospects isn’t hitting the mark any more. Instead, prospects want genuine, actionable insights. This helps you gain credibility, teach them something they can use, and essentially earn the right to their time.

6. Data analysis

Among fast-growing companies, only 53% claim to be moderately or extremely effective in using analytics to make decisions. For slow-growing companies, it drops to a little over a third. This shows that there’s still huge untapped potential in sales analytics.

Getting the right data at the right time can really up your chances of selling to a prospect. Intuition won’t help you much these days, especially when you’ve now access to a wealth of knowledge from your CRM/CMS. And you can get this information whenever you like — there’s no waiting around for reports. All you need to do is apply the right filters and look for patterns. This way, you’re not wasting your time on prospects who aren’t a great fit or ready to be sold to yet.

7. Selling to the end-user

“Calling high” is being put aside for selling directly to end-users. Lots of companies are now offering a freemium version of their product and turning their biggest advocates into buyers. Let’s say you’re selling some new kind of solution which will help engineers do their jobs much safer or easier. Think about reaching out to their CMO or CTO without any context. Now think about reaching out to them when half of their team are already advocates of your product… it just makes sense.

8. Account-based selling

Account-based selling is where, instead of casting a giant net out far and wide, you can spearhead your efforts by finding your perfect customer account and personalising your messaging, just for them. It came about in 2017, but is really starting to get popular this year.

To do this, you find your high-value target account, research the organisation and their business structure, and tailor your messaging towards their specific pain points. Not only does this selling approach reduce your pay-per-click (PPC) costs, its ROI is also much simpler to track. Read more about this here.

Reckon I’ve missed something vital on this list? Tell us about it in the comments below!