As we’ve learned over the past couple of tumultuous years, every upcoming year is filled with triumphs, surprises, and challenges. The year 2021 was a time of adaptation, recovery, and uphill battles. The sales industry was faced with challenges, as well as opportunities. While technology can be used to do the heavy lifting of attracting and nurturing customers, sales teams have been able to shift their focus.

As we close out reflection on the past year, we cannot postpone looking forward and planning ahead. Let’s look at 5 key trends that sales teams can expect and plan accordingly to excel in 2022.

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A More Digital Buyer Experience

One trend of 2022 that shouldn’t surprise us is the exponential growth of the digital world. Digital transformation has exploded and isn’t stopping anytime soon. Remote buying became a primary trend as the pandemic hit, and customers don’t seem likely to turn back. In fact, close to 90% of sales have shifted to tools like videoconferencing and web-based sales models.

This is also what customers are demanding. McKinsey research shows that over 75% of buyers and sellers prefer a remote buying experience over face-to-face. Being able to provide high quality digital services will continue to prove sales teams resilient.

Social Selling

Connecting with customers through social media has become much more relevant in the past few years, but 2022 will see the height of social selling. With social media being inseparable from daily life, customers are increasingly depending on the social aspect of the purchase experience. Customers will continue to count on social media when it comes to their purchase journey. This is the time for companies to create community-like spaces that nurture customer retention. It also opens up the opportunity to connect with broader audiences, build stronger customer relationships, and increase loyalty.

More Informed Buyers

Prospective buyers are more informed than they’ve ever been. Half of consumers admit to researching online before making a major purchase. If companies have not taken advantage of this, 2022 is not the time to fall behind. Customers will continue to increasingly rely on social media and online forums in making decisions. This is why it is essential to connect with your audience by meeting them where they spend most of their time by creating online visibility. Provide the information customers need to be convinced to buy your product before someone else beats you to it.

Not only are companies going more digital, but 2022 will be another year of improved technology, specifically in the world of insights. With the sudden shock of the pandemic, so many things changed in an instant, and companies tried to adapt as quickly as possible. Now, it is time to leverage technology to find out what is working and what needs to shift in a company’s sales strategy.

Thankfully, emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning are providing the ideal opportunity to do just this. In fact,  AI adoption is expected to sail to 139% for sales teams. As humans are naturally biased, AI can transpose these biases into code, creating algorithms that can be analysed. AI can play an integral role in your sales processes, especially in addressing bottlenecks, pain points, and customer trends. In addition, AI will continue to be used to predict market trends and customer habits. Don’t miss this opportunity to stay competitive by using AI to your advantage and converting data into sustainable revenue.

A Personalised Experience for Buyers

Even in the world of digital transformation, customers are still desiring a personalised experience when searching for the perfect product. Customers are still human after all. Studies have shown that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

However, how can companies combine the speed of remote services with the personalisation of a great customer experience? So companies will be faced with the challenge of providing fast and accessible service remotely, while giving the experience of feeling like they’re in person with a salesperson. Those who can master this balance will stay ahead of the competition this year.

Importance of a Motivated Sales Team

With no surprise, sales teams have experienced some challenging past few years. Some sectors were hit especially hard during the pandemic, while others thrived and were stretched to their limits. Now that things are predicted to slowly transform to a “new normal”, the morale of your sales team will be more important than ever.

It was found that 60% of sales representatives now report feeling underappreciated in the business industry.

However, there are several ways to prevent team burnout and indifference. This is where sales managers will need to step in to inspire their sales team through promoting healthy communication, self-care and sales training. An important step in motivating your sales team and showing them they are valued is investing in their professional development. Start by assessing your team members’ sales skills by identifying team strengths and ways to improve.

Keep Your Team Ahead of 2022 Sales Trends

We predict 2022 will bring pleasant surprises and new challenges that we will have to confront and adapt to. After COVID-19, it seems that nothing could surprise us. However, the best companies can do is plan for the future with the tools they have and prepare their teams to come out ahead each and every day.

With shifting customer trends, emerging cutting edge technologies and a transformed sales cycle, make 2022 the year that your sales team excels more than ever. Start by investing in your team by providing them with e-learning programs focused on essential sales skills that enable them to excel in the sales world.

To learn more, join the Improving Communications event with our founder Vinit Shah speaking on 2022 key sales trends to watch on February 16.