The pandemic made 2020 a challenging year for everyone. When we shared the article ‘The B2B marketing trends for 2020’, we could not have imagined what to expect. Covid-19 has turned our daily lives upside down. We work from home, mainly shop online and video conferencing became the new normal. If we tell you that B2B sales are undergoing a massive shift, it’s no breaking news. Potential customers are looking for an unprecedented personalized experience. The online space has become indispensable for every business. We sought out the five main B2B sales enablement trends that will define 2021.
Five Sales Enablement Trends
1. Buyer’s journey takes more and more place online
The pandemic has caused that face-to-face meetings and live events have been reduced to a minimum. The buyer’s journey was already completed for a significant part online, but it has increased even more. How do you deal with this from a sales and marketing point of view?
Organizations with online-oriented sales departments have a clear advantage over competitors who are only now making the switch. The role of marketing within the buyer’s journey has become essential. Nowadays, the buyer can figure out how he can meet a particular need. This new buyer journey forces us to stay up to date in the virtual space. Being present on social media and a good website are essential for attracting new customers and nurturing relationships. Ingredients like SEO, the possibility to subscribe for a newsletter, download a white paper, or request a brochure can’t be forgotten in your website design. Relevant content and raising engagement are key!
2. Higher usage of social media
The popularity of social media is unstoppable in times of lockdown. People are using social media more than ever and embrace all the possibilities to stay in touch with each other digitally. Which channels should you prioritize in 2021? How do you remain visible, and how can you inspire your target group in 2021?
The goal is clear; get your network involved in what you do and show your expertise. Relationships are the driving force of your company, and they can be created and nurtured in the online space. Take Facebook and LinkedIn, for instance; both popular social networking sites but with totally different goals and objectives. Facebook is considered more social, focusing on personal use, while LinkedIn is designed for professional networking.
It may come as no surprise that 86% of marketing professionals reveal that LinkedIn is their most used social media channel. Facebook (79%) and Instagram (60%) are often used to look inside a company’s culture—something that companies need to get creative with as remote work becomes more commonplace. (‘The 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report’ from Sagefrog).
Therefore LinkedIn is your best bet for professional networking, connecting and building brand identity. Make sure you have an accurate profile which showcases what you are good at. Start building contacts, create your own or join groups and provide relevant and unique content. If you are organizing a seminar or webinar, don’t forget to let your network know by inviting them with a link to your website or blog.
3. The rise of B2B social media tools to drive growth
To help make social media marketing easier, there are loads of tools on the market that provide better insights, detailed data, and even automatic processes. All great ways helping you drive more leads, but keep in mind that not all of the available tools are ideal for B2B. Social media in B2B is not only about likes and feedback. It’s about generating leads that ideally become paying customers. The following instruments will help you turn followers into prospects and, hopefully, future clients.
A very powerful tool for lead generation is Sales Navigator, a premium product offered by LinkedIn. Sales Navigator is created to perform extensive searches. It’s a database in which you can store relevant leads. With an amount of 20 InMail messages monthly, you can share personal content with leads. This tool makes it a lot easier to get in touch with the right person at the right time!
Next to generating leads, scheduling and tracking posts is another time-consuming part of social media. Sprout Social is a scheduling and tracking platform that includes top features for efficient social tracking and engagement activities. They offer the ability to upload and schedule updates, an all-in-one social inbox, tracking keywords and products, comprehensive reports and options for a tailormade workflow.
4. From offline, via online to hybrid events
This year, most B2B marketers suddenly had to switch from live to online events. They became the new normal, and we had to navigate through the storm and figure out how to create the most effective programs. While online events certainly have their benefits, live events will always be an essential part of any event program.
It’s time to think about the perfect mix, which brings us to hybrid events. In this case, Hybrid means an event with both in-person and virtual experiences and online and live visitors. Particularly when there is still uncertainty about ‘to travel or not to travel’, a hybrid event is ideal for participants who may not be able to come to the location. Do not miss the opportunity to leverage digital events as one of the sales enablement trends in 2021.
5. Video continues to grow in B2B as sales enablement trends
The video was already a rising star, but it has really taken off in B2B since the pandemic. On LinkedIn or YouTube are short videos and video podcasts in which ‘subject matter experts’ discuss appealing topics. Personal and unique content is a must nowadays. Video allows you to answer this challenge, and it’s great for your brand image. The interaction with video on social channels is very high, so worth trying!
We see more and more experts developing their content or even an online channel. Often started on their own, their popularity grows, and they slowly (willingly or unwillingly) become an ambassador for their company. Due to the limited possibilities for offline meetings, video is also a medium for Sales to get in touch with buyers. Video can shorten long sales cycles, reactivate existing clients and make a lasting impression. Definitely, this is one of the sales enablement trends for 2021 you can’t miss.
Being an attractive and up-to-date brand in the virtual space will be the biggest challenge for 2021, but it will also bear fruit. Be present, show who you are and never forget that the customer is always king. The question that pops up now is ”how can you enable your sales teams to leverage social media at scale?” Our upcoming webinar will break down some of these key activities you can implement to scale digital selling. We are fast approaching a digital revolution and want to help you confidently succeed. Click the link below to reserve your slot.
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We believe the future will be shaped by how people use digital tools and platforms. Therefore, we are enabling organizations to win in the digital space.