What will 2021 bring in terms of sales? What should we all get ready for? What to do not to be surprised or... disappointed in 2021? We've asked a few experts, and you'll find their insights below.

Virtual Fitting Rooms As A Response To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 has disrupted the retail industry in a significant way, tech innovations bring a response to social distancing measures. As a software development provider, we are seeing an increasing demand for virtual fitting room technology. Big brands like Sephora, Macy's, and Adidas have been offering their customers to virtually try on clothing, shoes, cosmetics, eyeglasses on their smartphones and computers without leaving their homes. Smaller brands are experimenting with virtual fitting rooms as well, that will result in the continued spike of online sales that we've witnessed during the pandemic. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global virtual fitting room market size is expected to reach USD 10.00 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 20.1%.

Oleksii Tsymbal / Chief innovation officer / www.mobidev.biz

Personalized marketing for the win

In 2021, I believe we will see a lot more personalized marketing efforts in the sales journey. Since so many offices and shops are still remote, businesses will need to use more creative techniques in building the sales funnel and keeping customers engaged. Videos may be used for outreach, product pages, and even for testimonials. Since we're all still pretty confined these days, video will help drive the point home and keep customers connected with the brands they love.

Eliza Nimmich / Biteable

Shift from Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) to Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)

There will be a bigger focus on product qualified leads for sales team in 2021. Sales development reps will need to become product experts to help get prospects into the product and get to the in-product action that most correlates with someone showing buying intent. The challenge for sales team is to best understand when to reach out to product qualified leads based on their activity levels.

Warren Wu, Coast App - (https://coastapp.com/)

Twitter, account manager and demos

  • demos with practical examples for a specific business,
  • personal account manager for every business,
  • Twitter as a source of leads for salespeople.

Matt / Founder / www.marketingplayer.com

Some of the most significant sales trends I can see getting traction soon are:

1. Personalization at scale to offer a 100% tailored buyer experience without sacrificing the quality or quantity of your engagement efforts.

2. Multichannel engagement to create an outstanding buyer experience and build genuine, engaging relationships with prospects.

3. Visual prospecting, e.g. using images or video in your sales engagement efforts, to help you stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition.

4. Social selling, i.e. using employees’ personal brands to power up the company’s social presence, increase awareness, and drive engagement.

I also hope to see AI-based sales tools getting wider adoption as more options will emerge making such technologies more accessible and affordable for most of the teams.

William Oleksiienko / SDR Team Leader / www.reply.io

Interactive training

Demos, interactive training and moving direction from pure sales to sales backed up by content marketing.

Matej Kukucka / Head of Marketing / www.postaffiliatepro.com

Key tips

  • Data-driven sales that uses research to back up their pitch,
  • 1-1 demos with integrated training for the whole team,
  • LinkedIn outreach

Martin Bloksa / CEO / www.streambee.io

Digitally sale

One of the biggest sales trends in 2020 that will continue into the post-pandemic economy of 2021 will be the ability for your organization to digitally sell. This goes beyond merely digitally interacting with prospects over Zoom: It requires a fundamentally different approach to digital marketing.

Instead of contacting salesperson or attending trade fairs, the digital buyer will try to find as much information as possible online and often make purchasing decisions without even contacting your organization. While it will be more and more critical for salespeople to use social media like LinkedIn to better understand and attract prospects, your organization will need to build a robust digital library of content to attract and nurture leads at every stage of the funnel.

Neal Schaffer / President, PDCA Social / www.nealschaffer.com

Creativity, value-based selling and combination of communication channels

I believe that creativity will be the biggest sales hack for the year to come. Nowadays, there is a lot of digital pollution that prevents businesses from winning the attention of their potential customers. To break through this hindrance, it is crucial to innovate your outreach. For example, think of embedding short videos or personalized pictures in your email pitch. No matter how good your writing skills are, remember that an image is worth a thousand words.

Another trend is prioritizing value-based selling over feature-based one. It is no longer effective to fire out an offer to the prospect and expect them to make a purchase. It is time to stop trying to sell! Instead, you should focus on showing the value your product can add to their business. A perfect match is always about being compatible, which is a game two can play.

Thirdly, buyers are not looking for new products via a single channel. Thus, you need to set up a combination of channels and provide a consistent and personalized customer experience via each of them.

Anastasia Tatsenko / Head of Sales / www.nethunt.com

Linkedin for Sales

In our latest research about sales processes, we found out that there is an emergence of LinkedIn as a primary sales tool – 43% of salespeople use LinkedIn to find new leads. So we would definitely advise learning more about the use of Linkedin for Sales.

Angelina Harper / Outreach Specialist / www.reallysimplesystems.com

Personalized sales introduction videos

Over the past few years, much of sales has been automated thanks to innovations in CRM and Marketing Automation platforms. Lead qualification, scheduling meetings, and notifications can all be automated these days. But I think buyers will start to see through this and desire human interaction again – but I don't think we'll return to cold calls. I think one of the biggest trends we'll see in 2021 is personalized sales introduction videos. Instead of cold calls, sales and marketing teams will film and pass along intro videos highlighting what makes them great.

Brooks Manley / Digital Marketing Consultant / www.brooksmanley.com

Personalization and consistency of customer experience

Personalization at every step of the customer's journey will be key. Customers want multichannel experiences and sales teams need to take that into consideration. Every buyer is different, comes into the sales funnel at a different stage and from a different source. Hence focus on personalization and consistency of customer experience.

Alicja / Outreach Manager / www.sixads.net

Social selling

Social selling has made its way as the most used way to get the most sales in 2020, mainly because of COVID-19. But digital selling will continue its way to 2021.

Farwa Anees / Digital Marketing Executive / www.contentstudio.io

Video chat option - new way of personal interaction

Personal interaction is still an important part of the sales process, and we may see more enterprises using a combined human and digital interaction process. Whether its by including a video chat option on the website. Or perhaps even offering consultations over Zoom, giving a much more personalized touch.

Wesley Burger / Marketing Director / www.cloudtask.com

Digital Adoption in B2B Sales

In 2021 expect to see greater digital adoption for B2B sales. Traditionally, large quantities of B2B sales have happened offline or through legacy communication avenues. We anticipate a shift towards more online B2B sales, especially when it comes to the newer, high-tech forms of advertising. As targeting options have improved significantly, reaching ideally suited prospects online is now achievable for B2Bs and they’re catching on fast. We seeing this shift has started taking place in China — who traditionally prefer face-to-face. There’s plenty to suggest that the rest of the world will follow suit as we optimise further towards efficient ways of doing business.

Brad Matthews / Growth Marketer Company / www.adchina.io

Online research before shopping

In 2021 there'll be more social selling. Nowadays most users do a thorough research online before shopping, and you as a brand can gently point their thoughts to your product by engaging with them, by talking about your product's features, and how it could benefit them.

You won't be selling anything but you will be planting the seed of a future purchase. Because why wouldn't they want to buy from you?

Web users care about getting the right product to solve their problem, and they couldn't care less from whom they bought it or how they came to that brilliant idea.

Social selling is a misnomer. It has little to do with direct selling, but everything with subtly influencing.

Nikola Roza / SEO for the Poor and Determined / www.nikolaroza.com

Create Effective Sales Funnels

According to Brian Hong, CEO of Infintech Designs, a New Orleans-based digital marketing agency, "Building an effective sales funnel is crucial to any company's success. They help identify the right prospects and responsibly move them through the journey of becoming a customer. Building an effective funnel takes time, people, and insights gleaned from utilizing some of the strategies explained in this article's previous points. Engage an audience with content marketing and PR, draw them to your website with powerful SEO, and make sure the user experience is bolstered with a streamlined UX that removes any final barriers to making a purchase."

"From brand design to content strategy, 2021 is going to be the year that entrepreneurs will be faced with developing a new level of customer engagement," continues Hong. "From associating your brand with good to using media in a more agile way, the digital landscape is changing, and it will be imperative that businesses of all shapes and sizes re-evaluate how they offer their products and services to survive."

Brian / Founder and CEO / www.infintechdesigns.com

Creativity and individual customers’ needs

Creativity is going to be a primary sales hack in 2021. In the digital era where competition only gets fiercer every day, the savvy business has to constantly come up with unique, out-of-world ideas to outcompete the competitors and win over the customers.

Sales teams need to look for the things that will differentiate them from everyone else, avoiding adopting one-size-fits-all selling approaches; that is what makes brands top of mind among consumers. While being creative, businesses should be able to customize offerings according to individual customers’ needs. Thus, the payoffs can be enormous.

Andre Oentoro / CEO / www.breadnbeyond.com

Societal Orientation

Due to the increase in environmental awareness, the new concept of “Societal Orientation” has emerged. Organizations are formulating marketing and sales strategies and production processes that recognize the impact on the environment, within and without. Businesses that implement this idea incline towards the ethical approach in their wider sales, marketing and research strategies.

Kevin / Communications Manager / www traqq.com

Era of automation

2021 will be the era of automation, where there will be a strong dominance of IoT and AI in the brands’ sales funnel.  

Sales automation will bring various departments together to make the overall process effective and efficient.

AI will empower data analysis, buying, and selling trends. Support service via live chat empowered with AI will not only improve user experiences but also bring great retention.

The sales studies of McKinsey and Kayako reveal that 76% of B2B buyers find live support chat or call when they buy a new product or service; 52% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases; whereas 79% of companies get positive results for sales and revenue.

“Customer success” will be preferred over “customer support”. As per the report of PWC, 32% of customers walk away from the brand after having 1 bad experience.

Events, Webinars, roundtables, and conferences will be the hot trend for high qualified lead generations. It will also bring quick closer and great conversions.

Sugandha Bansal / Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer/ www.theblueoceansgroup.com

Account based marketing

Account based marketing will evolve to become account based attribution. Meaning, instead of focusing on the marketing programs which give you visibility into generating new leads, account based marketing will evolve to focus on conversions. This bottoms up approach optimizes for more of what businesses want: won deals. Visits, clicks, impressions, sessions, and leads are great - but ultimately attribution is needed on an account level to determine what marketing programs are driving more won opportunities.

Lucas Sommer / Director of Marketing / www.leadsrx.com

Client’s personal needs and sales automation

In the face of an economic crisis, salespeople have to work twice as hard to ensure their business stays afloat and meets all the quotas. They need to come with character, very well-prepared about who they are going to sell to. Creating a lasting impression and focusing on the prospective client’s personal needs is key.

Sales automation would no more be a trend but rather a necessity. It will save a lot of time that can be used for coming up with creative and personal ways to sell.

And probably the most important takeaway - sales people would need to stop ‘trying to sell’. Customers are already sick and tired of being treated like cash cows, especially in the B2B world. They just need to see that this company is prioritising their satisfaction over profit.

Nikola Baldikov / Head of Marketing at Brosix / www.brosix.com

Refining the lead-generation message

According to Brian Johnson, sales in 2021 will greatly expand prospecting by leveraging big data about consumer interests, patterns, and pain points obtained across social media and e-commerce platforms. The use of big-data analysis technology to dynamically target narrow segments of target audiences will refine sales prospecting to the point where a typical sales qualification interview may become unnecessary, reducing the number of touch points needed to obtain a buying decision from a prospect. Refining the lead-generation message tightly to micro-audiences and customizing the value-benefit statement specifically to the unique desires of each audience will dramatically increase the conversion rate.

Brian Johnson / Co-Founder & CTIO / www.canopymanagement.com

Summary

  • The year 2021 will revolve around customer needs, and companies will have to adapt to them.
  • It is also worth betting on sales automation. 2021 will be the era of automation!
  • Bet on interactive training.
  • Focus on developing multiple communication channels.
  • Video chat options and personalized sales introduction videos will become necessary.
  • Social selling - increase awareness, and drive engagement!