Hindsight is 2020, but our team of B2B analysts might just be the next best thing as we look forward into 2021. When we wrote “The State Of Digitized Selling” late last year, the world had no idea that within three months this trend would become the only way B2B selling would take place this year. Sellers have been so successful adjusting to the new landscape that we wrote about how the process of selling has been forever changed.
For our Predictions 2021 report, we wanted to get a bit more granular, so Jay McBain, Laura Ramos, and I sat down virtually and hashed out five things we expect to see happen next year. Each of our predictions is specific, vetted with multiple analysts, and founded in data so that it can be measured and we can be held accountable. That level of detail is available in our full brief, but here are the highlights:
- AI and automation will put sellers on a path to fulfill their consultative destiny. Sales tools that capture and automatically upload buyer and seller engagement activity to CRM systems will finally take sellers out of the data entry game. Relieved from endless administrivia, sellers will have the time and space to conduct deeper customer research, cull insights from data, and orchestrate more meaningful interactions with their buyers.
- B2B sellers will become experts at creating and engaging with video. As buyer preferences collide with pandemic-related realities, 40% of B2B reps told us in a recent survey that they plan to modify their tactics to adapt to remote selling activities.(1) Traditionally limited to email, phone calls, and screen–sharing interactions, sellers will look for more dynamic ways to earn buyers’ attention.
- B2B marketplaces will take a bite out of channel sales. Buyers have increased their comfort level with e-commerce, and marketplaces are responding by adding more value and functionality to their platforms. This now threatens the core revenue on which traditional resell-type partners have built their businesses.
- B2B sales leaders will activate more employees on behalf of commercial goals. As many sales teams shrink in size, B2B sales leaders rank having more stakeholders involved in buying decisions as one of their top two sales challenges.(2) To balance out larger buying groups, B2B sales leaders are enlisting a broader range of employees to deepen and expand expertise.
- Sales tech consolidation will accelerate as buyers demand end-to-end solutions. In a world where 38% of businesses have prioritized cost reductions, sales technology buyers will push their core partners to deliver more value.(3) We predict that 2021 will be the year of sales tech consolidation.
(1) Forrester’s Q2 2020 B2B Channel And Sales Survey.
(2) Forrester’s Q2 2020 B2B Channel And Sales Survey.
(3) Forrester Analytics Business Technographics® Priorities And Journey COVID-19 Recontact Survey, 2020.