B2B sales teams all over the world are constantly searching for tips, tools, and technologies that can give them a serious competitive edge. Fortunately, the technological world is evolving fast enough that there’s never a shortage of new angles and tricks to try.
What are the best B2B sales trends to follow in 2024 and beyond?
The Best B2B Sales Trends to Follow Now
These are some of the latest and most important trends to follow in the B2B sales world:
1. Interaction and engagement
B2B businesses are finally beginning to understand the value of customer engagement and interaction. True, many businesses have had customer engagement strategies in place for many years, at least hypothetically, but modern trends are taking engagement and interaction to a whole new level. It’s not enough to simply check in with a customer periodically with a simple, repetitive email template; if you want to stand out amongst your competitors and make a better impression with prospects and clients, you need to have countless, personal touchpoints. That doesn’t mean overwhelming your customers with spam or becoming invasive; instead, it means finding tactful, strategic ways to make your prospects and customers feel seen and supported, throughout the entire customer journey – and across many different channels.
2. Alignment of marketing and sales
Speaking of different channels, it’s more important than ever to align your marketing and sales strategies. There’s nothing wrong with relegating marketing and sales strategies to different departments or having different people in charge of those departments. What’s important is that those people are working together, very closely, to better understand your customers and optimize the customer journey. People need to feel like interacting with your brand is a consistent experience, from the first ad they ever see to their ongoing interactions with their account rep. Modern marketing is too competitive and complex to stand on the foundation of old approaches; without a shared vision, your marketing and sales departments are going to break down.
3. Cultivation of the self-service buyer
As many as 75 percent of B2B buyers prefer to make purchases without ever having to interact with a salesperson. Does that mean you should completely disband your human sales team? Not. But it does mean you need to spend more time and energy cultivating and catering to the self-service buyer. There are many ways you can do this, including providing more educational content, offering more self-service tools, and giving customers the power to experiment with your products and services before buying them, free of agent interactions. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean you should never interact with your customer; it just means you should respect and enable their desire to educate and serve themselves.
4. The rise and fall of AI
At the beginning of 2024, it seemed like AI was about to completely take over the realms of marketing, advertising, and even sales. And to be fair, AI has made quite an impact. We have a host of new tools that can automate repetitive tasks, streamline our efficiency, and ultimately make us more productive and profitable. However, AI isn’t quite the game changer we thought it was going to be, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change in the future. It would be overstating things to suggest that AI is about to undergo a “collapse,” but many sales leaders have overestimated the role that AI can play in their strategies, and in 2024, they’re going to have to accommodate that realization.
5. Evolving email outreach
It’s somehow hard to believe that email is still a viable B2B sales tool in 2024 since it’s a technology that became popular in the 1990s. However, because email is still so cheap and accessible, it remains a powerful tool for cultivating sales. The name of the game now is finding a way to be original and truly compelling with your email messages. In a world with highly automated drip campaigns, thousands of stale templates, and dozens of similar rivals to contend with, this is easier said than done. You’ll need to expend significant effort on novel copywriting and campaign planning to get the most out of this channel.
6. Original, bold content
Content marketing has been a B2B sales staple for decades now, but customers are getting wise to the game. Sending someone a stock “whitepaper” with the same regurgitated claims and tired formatting isn’t going to make an impression. In 2024 and beyond, your brand must create original, bold content, citing objective research and potentially making controversial claims to “wow” your audience.
7. Individualized approaches
The world has been demanding more individualization and personalization for the last decade or longer, as more personalization tools become available to us. If you’re still mass marketing to your customers, as if they all share the same hive mind, it’s time to take a different approach.
The Pitfalls of Following Trends
These B2B trends should inspire you, but it’s important to recognize the pitfalls of following trends irresponsibly:
- Acting blindly. It’s one thing to use your knowledge of a trend to craft an ideal strategy for your brand. It’s another to jump into a channel just because everyone else is. Don’t act blindly.
- Failing to differentiate. There’s nothing wrong with using the same channel or strategy as a competitor, but you still need to find a way to differentiate your brand and make it more memorable.
- Overspending. Marketing and sales spending are poised to rise in 2024, and for a variety of reasons. Increasing your budget is a good thing, but you also need to be cautious to avoid overspending on strategies that have yet to prove themselves.
Key Principles for Success
As you address and adjust your B2B sales strategies in 2024, follow these key principles:
- Learn from the best. Study your top competitors, exceptional B2B sales leaders, and original thinkers in other industries to get inspiration and develop even better campaigns.
- Experiment with bravado. The more you experiment, the more you’ll learn. Don’t be afraid to tinker with new channels, new approaches, and new angles for your target audience.
- Use technology, but wisely. B2B sales tech is good, and it keeps getting better, but that’s no excuse to dump a bunch of money on overhyped tools that don’t improve your fundamentals.
- Be ready to adapt. Nothing (aside from core principles) stays the same for long in B2B sales. If you want to stay competitive, you need to be ready to adapt.
If you stay in line with the latest trends, adhere to your original brand vision, and act to truly serve your customers, 2024 could be your best year yet. Just remember that the B2B sales world is always evolving – and don’t get lost in changing tides.