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4 things sales leaders should be prepping for in 2022

December 30, 2021

The end of a year is always a good time to sit back and take stock.

There’s no doubt about it: a lot has changed in B2B sales over the last 2 years.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about lasting change and disruption to the industry. Trends like hybrid working, virtual events and video prospecting have been accelerated. How and where sales teams work look very different today than they did in 2020.

Year ends are also perfect times for looking into the future. 2022 is very nearly upon us; with that in mind, what should sales leaders be prepping for?

In this article, we’re going to run through some key trends and predictions for the new year. Scroll 👇 or flick through the menu to see what you need to prioritise as 2022 begins!

Hybrid selling | New sales tech | Social selling | Intent data | Cognism’s tips for sales leaders

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1 - Hybrid selling 🏠

There have been many lessons learnt in remote working over the past two years - and remote sales in particular.

As things have slowly opened up, hybrid selling models were adopted by many companies.

In 2022, this is only going to continue.

To ensure your hybrid model is operating at maximum efficiency, you’ve got to:

  1. Take the best of in-person selling and combine it with virtual selling.
  2. Tailor the experience to individual customers’ needs.

Hybrid selling isn’t just about where a sales team works; it’s about how a sales team operates.

Forrester has identified that the number of interactions in a purchase decision rose from 17 in 2019 to 27 in 2021.

In line with this change in buying behaviour, you need to meet and engage with your customers in more places than ever before.

But you shouldn’t think of these interactions as merely transactional. Building meaningful, long-term business relationships has to be at the core of your hybrid strategy.

After all, what is sales without relationships?

According to Zendesk, 75% of customers said they’d spend more money with companies that provide a good customer experience.

And the best way of implementing a good customer experience?

Align all of your touchpoints.

Your website, your team, your marketing materials, and even your internal systems - all of these must align to create a fantastic experience for your customers and to build their trust with your salespeople.

Here’s a checklist for getting this right in 2022:

  • Ensure your salespeople have the right tools to guide customers remotely and to carry out their daily tasks.
  • Be clear on lead prioritisation.
  • Have an open feedback loop and commit to continuous training for your team.

Cognism’s SDRs share their advice on remote working in sales. Press ▶️ to see how they stay motivated.

 

 

2 - New sales tech 💻

Having a good tech stack has become a competitive advantage for many outbound sales teams.

Optimised tech stacks bring several benefits to a sales team, namely increased efficiency and productivity.

With sales tech developing rapidly over the last few years, and with more innovations sure to hit the market in 2022, how do you know what to look out for?

It’s simple - you’ve got to keep tabs on the latest trends. Here are our sales tech predictions for next year:

Real-time sales tech

According to Ciara, the future of sales will be focused on real-time customer interactions with live support.

With the emergence of conversational intelligence (CI), gone are the days of focusing on past customer experiences.

Instead, interaction analysis will be done in real-time and reps will be connecting live with prospective customers.

The use of AI in sales

If you’re not already using AI as part of your tech stack, you need to include it ASAP.

Why?

Because you’ll boost your:

  • Lead volume.
  • Close rate.
  • Team performance.

AI is able to augment many time-consuming sales processes, meaning that your team will be freed up to focus on growing your revenue.

Sales intelligence

The latest category in sales tech, sales intelligence, is definitely something to watch in 2022.

Why?

This type of software leverages AI to analyse data and identify sales opportunities.

It works by scanning all customer interactions (calls, emails, videos, etc.) and your CRM data. It helps you to find new opps.

Our key takeaway for sales tech in 2022:

Stay vigilant; new tools are being released all the time. Audit your tech stacks quarterly and ensure your team is equipped with the best tools available.

What were 2021’s top lead generation strategies? Check out this video guide from Cognism’s Senior Video Marketer!

 

3 - Social selling 📱

If this wasn’t a key part of your strategy in 2021, then it’s got to be in 2022.

As LinkedIn influencer Daniel Disney says:

“The most successful businesses of the future will be the ones that support and empower their staff to build personal brands on social media.”

Daniel stresses that sales leaders should be encouraging their reps to harness the power of social selling. That starts with getting buy-in from the top.

“Sales managers need to promote the idea of social selling and building personal brands to the CEO.”

“I’ve seen sales managers stop their reps from using the phone because of what they’re saying on the call. But, just because one rep lied on a call or said the wrong thing doesn’t mean that you stop everyone from using the phones. What you do instead is train, manage, and support your reps to get it right. It’s exactly the same with social selling on LinkedIn.”

Don’t let the fear of things going wrong hold your team back.

Instead, provide the right training.

Ensure you have the correct support barriers in place so that your reps know the right things to do on LinkedIn and the things to avoid.

With the right training, your team should be able to use LinkedIn and other social platforms to sell your product and reach more of your potential customers.

Not sure where to start with social selling?

Check out our podcast interview with Daniel for all the social selling hacks you’ll need next year 👇

 

4 - Intent data 📈

In our opinion, this is the number thing that sales leaders need to focus on in 2022.

The LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021 found that customers feel more misunderstood than ever.

Here are some key stats:

  • 44% of customers feel that salespeople don’t understand their company and its needs.
  • 48% of customers feel that salespeople deliver misleading information about price, product, and so on.
  • 43% of customers feel that salespeople don’t understand their own product or service.

What can you do to make sure your organisation doesn’t end up in customers’ bad books?

It all starts with research. Your reps have got to know your customers inside and out. And they need to use that insight to personalise their outreach.

Beyond speaking to customers on social platforms, cold calls and Zoom calls, SDRs should be delving into behavioural data.

Intent data is a key element of this and is definitely something that sales leaders need to investigate in 2022.

Discover all the reasons why intent data is a game-changer for B2B sales teams! Press ▶️ to watch our training video.

 

Cognism’s tips for sales leaders 🚀

Want to stay on top of industry trends next year?

Cognism’s bi-monthly newsletter, Sales Leaders Digest, provides tips and tricks to better your sales team in 2022 and beyond!

Click 👇 to subscribe.

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