Readers may remember that fortune-telling toy from our childhood, the Magic 8 Ball. Simply ask the large plastic ball a yes or no question and turn it over to reveal one of the 20 stock answers to life’s greatest mysteries. Endless fun ensued… until it didn’t.
While the Magic 8 Ball likely isn’t making any must-have toy lists this year, the holiday season and upcoming New Year are good times to reflect on the changes ahead for B2B sales. I’m revisiting the Magic 8 Ball’s, albeit silly, clairvoyance to help salespeople take a peek into the future of the profession. Let’s ask some questions to the Magic 8 Ball together, shall we?
Question: Are prospects more likely to buy based on trust?
Magic 8 Ball Answer: “Without a doubt”
If you look at the history of sales, before The Great Depression, people bought on relationships, which then evolved into buying on product or price. Today, and as we move into 2020, the pendulum has swung back in the sales profession, and people are buying more based on relationships and trust. It’s time to put the days of the sleazy salesperson and the bait and switch behind us all. Remember, buyers are willing to spend more money with the people they trust.
Question: With new technologies available, is 2020 finally the year that salespeople will no longer need to cold call?
Magic 8 Ball: “My reply is no”
Plain and simple: cold calling is not going anywhere. But it has evolved to what I call “warm calling.” The main reason is that many people are pre-qualified, or show interest before they are in human contact with a company. Inbound marketing tools, retargeting across the web and social media all connect with aspects of our personal and professional lives. These connections are being used for consumers and businesses to self-select. Interested prospects are then connected with another person to guide them through their buying decision.
Question: Is there longevity in sales?
Magic 8 Ball: “As I see it, yes”
When I speak to a group of salespeople, I always ask, “Raise your hand if you dreamed of being in sales.” No one does. But the tides are turning, and we’re starting to see more people choose sales as a degree or career path. Statistics show that the number of colleges and universities with sales programs are increasing rapidly. More people are choosing sales as a career that requires skill and craft, and the best salespeople are a conduit connecting the right people to the right product/service.
Question: Can I be successful selling through LinkedIn?
Magic 8 Ball: “Reply hazy, try again”
I hear more and more executives I speak with say they are tired of, and plan to get off, LinkedIn - that it’s morphed from a place where we can learn and network with each other, to a noisy platform for mainly B2B selling. I predict (and hope) that we’ll see more authentic, face-to-face connections happening at industry or vertical events, as well as over the phone.
Great salespeople hone their craft to make an impact, and advise and guide a prospect to a decision. With incredible deft, a sale becomes an inevitable outcome. This is the new world of sales in 2020 and beyond.
Tara Bryant is the SVP of Global Sales at Pipedrive, the first CRM built from the salesperson’s point of view. With 25 years of sales experience, she drives the company’s global sales and customer support functions, and manages its strategic partnerships.