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The Future of Sales According to Gartner Research

The history of sales is one of constant evolution.

With every change, the power dynamics shift. From the fast-talking, door-to-door salesmen of the 1950’s, to the empaths referencing AI-based analytics of today, customers are more informed than ever.

As buyer behaviors continue to change, Gartner has published a range of new realities for sales technologies and sellers to understand.

Gartner has been a leader in research and advice to businesses for the past 30+ years. With that kind of longevity, they’ve become well-versed in change and adaptation.

One of the biggest takeaways from Gartner’s recent piece of sales research is that traditional sales practices should be reconsidered. Leaders can’t engage digital customers with outdated techniques and expect to achieve continued results.

Sales Leaders Will Connect With Customers in the Right Ways

Remote work is a trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Telecommuting was already on the rise and has risen by 400% in the past decade.

This means that a sales rep’s time will continue to shift from in-person sales pitches to internet-based communications. Top sellers will need to find a way to adapt and — with the right tools in hand — demonstrate their ability to crush work remotely.

One such tool is Cirrus Insight’s Salesforce Integration. Automatic sync between your email inbox and Salesforce not only saves time but also gives sales managers the transparency needed to track progress from a distance.

Additionally, the best sales tools for closing deals will be those that meet you where you (and your customers) are.

With Cirrus Insight, salespeople can maximize their efforts and get more done on mobile. After all, if the new business-to-business (B2B) buyer is mobile, sellers should be as well. Seek out software that’s as versatile as it is functional.

Connecting with customers the right way goes far beyond the tools you use to do so. It also requires diving into the nuances of conversation.

How will you connect and gauge sentiment in a virtual world sans body language or vocal intonation?

Empathy (and Intelligence) Will Be at the Heart of Every Business Conversation

If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase conversational intelligence, consider it the sales key performance indicator (KPI) you’re not currently tracking — but definitely should be.

To create better personal experiences online, sales leaders need to track empathy-minded metrics that matter.

As Gartner explains, “Conversational analytics provide automated functions for monitoring, recording and analyzing the quality of conversations with prospects… sellers are able to understand their audiences better, faster and are enabled to collect more data for pursuing the best suitable sales activities.”

Cirrus Insight’s Sidebar Activities can help sales teams in precisely the way Gartner describes. With this tool, reps can more readily keep tabs on the conversational details of every customer interaction. Additionally, sales managers can use the provided insights to better coach their team members for future engagements.

Activities+ also lets you seamlessly track and locate client activity history, which is logged from your inbox into Salesforce. Everything is displayed as a timeline of events that’s easily searchable by company, client name, or keyword.

If you’re talking to a prospect in real-time and need a refresher on previous conversations, Activities+ makes it easy to pull up notes and keep the conversation on track. This attention to detail goes a long way for potential customers seeking differentiators among competing platforms and feature sets.

Customers expect more than a templated email with their name auto-generated in the subject line. They want to know that you’re a human — someone who’s done their homework and can speak to specific pain points with relevant solutions.

Sellers Will Need Guided Selling Tools and More Sales Process Discipline

As B2B sales cycles lengthen, Gartner also predicts a greater need for process among sellers. Simply saying, “the old way of doing things won’t work,” doesn’t cut it — you need an idea of what will work.

Enter guided selling. Gartner defines this as “a sales process discipline wherein sequential sales execution steps are prescribed to sellers in the form of business process models, sales playbooks, or product configuration wizards.”

To work cohesively towards more closed deals, sales teams have to operate more conscientiously. How does the time between first contact and follow-up impact further communication? What sales content engages customers at every stage of the sales process?

Answering these types of questions will require more guidance from sales managers. For their part, to identify overarching trends, sales managers will have to evaluate the activities and conversational intelligence data of their teams.

For example, if you learn that 50% of leads entering your pipeline aren’t ready to buy in the near future, you need to show your team the data that confirms your findings.

As a sales manager, the more internal information you gather regarding your team’s specific behaviors, the better equipped you will be to institute changes that will yield meaningful results.

The Future of Sales According to Gartner Research

This is why it’ll be even more important for sales reps to keep their records up to date. Automated integrations, enterprise-level scheduling, and email tracking will prove invaluable features for those seeking both quality insights and efficiency.

Consistency is key. Teams can’t establish relevant best practices without enough of their own data to draw said practices from.

Final Thoughts: The Future of Sales According to Gartner

According to Gartner, the future of sales culminates at the intersection of person-to-person and digital interactions. Reps will have to translate the physical cues of in-person interactions to virtual spaces. Just because you can’t see the person on the other end of your computer screen doesn’t mean they’re not still a person.

With the right tools and processes in place, sales teams can move forward against the uncertainties of sales cycles and traditional forecasting methods. They can embrace the importance of thoughtful connections in a way that fuels quality relationships — and, ultimately, more closed deals.

With conversational intelligence and detailed document analytics, you can gather the crucial insights your organization needs to move towards the future of sales. Start a Free 14 Day Trial of Cirrus Insight (no credit card required) or schedule a demo today.

Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman

5+ years of content writing for companies such as Cirrus Insight, Automattic, HubSpot, Sprout Social, Bluehost, Wix, and more. My background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects.

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