For any modern business to thrive, they need to stay up to date on the latest sales trends. A strategy that works for your business today may not be effective just a few years from now. But by knowing what’s going on around you, you can better adapt your business to prepare for the future.
As an example, there was a time when people were excited to receive a new email. Now, only 23% of sales emails are actually opened.
So if you want your business to do well not only now, but for the foreseeable future, you need to know what the latest sales trends are. Here are 5 trends you need to watch in 2019 that will prepare you for the years to come.
5 sales trends to watch in 2019
#1 – Outsourcing Sales Development
A big trend to follow in 2019 is the outsourcing of your sales and sales development processes. More companies are choosing to outsource their sales, due to the efficiency, expertise, and affordability it can often provide. In 2017, outsourcing grew by 57% in the United States. Outsourcing sales tasks allows businesses to focus on other areas while allowing experts to handle time-consuming tasks like lead generation, prospecting, and outreach.
Outsourcing often has a bad reputation, but it’s not always deserved. In fact, 78% of businesses feel positive about their relationship with their outsourcing company. In the right place, and with the right team, outsourcing your sales can provide tremendous benefits to your business. If you want to learn more about outsourcing sales, let the team at TaskDrive show you how we can enhance the sales strategy for your business by scheduling a free consultation here.
#2 – Building relationships
Being on top of the mind of your prospects is a crucial stepping stone to sales. You want to start building a relationship with your leads, and the easiest way to do so is via LinkedIn. Connecting with leads on LinkedIn and engaging with them is what you need to do before you pitch your offer. Start following their activity and comment on the posts they share. Start a conversation about a topic of their interest, work on building a relationship, so next time when you sen them an email with an offer you won’t be just another stranger who is trying to sell them something.
#3 – Building Trust
The next big trend is developing trust. Rather than focusing primarily on advertising, businesses would do well to focus on things like developing personal connections and improving your brand’s reputation. Customers are increasingly using the quality of customer service to determine whether or not to do business with a company – 96% say it’s an important factor. Not only that, but customers now have higher expectations for customer service, with 54% of consumers saying their expectations are higher than they were a year ago.
Luckily, developing more trust isn’t too difficult. All it takes is more dedication towards improving your customer service experience. You can do this by increasing the number of ways in which a customer can contact you, keep track of customer information to provide a more personalized experience and gather feedback from your customers to find other ways to improve. All customers want is for you to interact with them on a personal level and show that you are listening to them.
#3 – Developing an Omnichannel Strategy
To prepare for the future you need to study the needs of younger generations. While your current customer base may be a little older, it’s the younger generations that will become your target audience before long. By putting plans in place now to adapt to their needs, you can be ready for them when the time arrives.
To do this, we can look at Generation Z. Gen Z has grown up online, and so they expect a high level of service through any online interactions. However, while they have grown up in a world of the internet, social media, and smartphones, 57% of them still prefer shopping in stores. The best thing you can do is try to provide great online and offline experiences and combine them well.
For example, let’s say you’re an online e-commerce store. To provide an offline experience, you could look into opening up a pop-up store at your local mall. Or if you’re a restaurant, you could add online ordering to your website. Major retailers have made it possible to browse the store’s inventory online before heading out, or you can order online and pick it up in the store. The goal is to provide a great experience no matter where your target audience likes to shop and to find ways to interconnect them.
Creating connections between different touchpoints is known as an omnichannel strategy. Deploying an omnichannel strategy can result in a 91% better retention of customers according to one survey, making it an essential strategy to develop. But omnichannel is about more than connecting just your online and offline presence. It’s about connecting each point where a customer can interact with you. If someone reaches out for customer service via social media, they should be able to seamlessly continue that conversation through live chat or email. As it stands, 55% of businesses don’t have a cross-channel strategy in place, which is too bad because 90% of customers have come to expect it.
#4 – Embracing Automation
The world’s moving at a faster pace, and it’s only going to get faster. To get more done throughout the day, without significantly increasing costs, businesses should turn towards automation. There are numerous businesses tasks that can now be automated, allowing you to have a smaller team that has less on their plates. You can now even automate things that were once impossible to automate. For instance, 40% of tasks within the sales process can now be automated.
So, what kind of things can you automate? A great thing to automate is your lead generation. By using artificial intelligence and automation programs, you can now reach out to and qualify leads automatically. Too many companies spend resources finding leads, but then don’t have the time or manpower to follow up on them, so the leads go to waste. If you can automate this part of the sales process, your salespeople will always have a full pipeline of leads to work on.
Some other things you can automate are:
- follow-up emails,
- the assignment of leads to salespeople,
- abandoned shopping cart reminders,
- customer satisfaction surveys,
- and even some of your conversations thanks to chatbots.
By looking for areas of your business that you can automate, you can ensure your team remains focused on the most important tasks, all while staying within a budget.
#5 – Thinking Globally
Finally, the last sales trend you should keep your eye on is an increased focus on reaching new markets. Because of advancements on the internet, it’s now easier than ever to sell to markets outside your own. This means you could be an e-commerce business based in New York City, but still sell your products to places like Europe, China, and many others. Reaching new markets allows you to exponentially grow the size of your target audience and your sales numbers, and it’s only going to become easier as technology improves.
To make the most of these new opportunities, you need to prepare your business ahead of time. One major thing you can do is localize your online experience. Localizing includes:
- translating the content,
- providing customer service in that language,
- offering different payment options,
- displaying prices in various currencies,
- and adjusting your shipping methods.
On average, 57% of shoppers worldwide purchase products from beyond their own borders. Many online businesses can benefit from developing a global strategy now to take advantage of the expected growth in this area. A good place to start is to see in which markets your industry is growing the most. After you’ve picked a target market to spread to, you can begin customizing your online experience and customer service channels to suit that market.
Don’t let your business fall behind its competitors. The sales trends mentioned above are likely to continue for a while, making this the perfect time to set your business up for long term success. If you’d like to learn more about the sales trends you need to watch, or about the benefits of outsourcing your sales development in 2019, set up a free consultation with the TaskDrive team today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or help you chart a path forward.