The year 2020 is here, so now is the time to ask yourself if you’re ready to guide your team into the new decade. As technology continues to progress and reshape the way that we do business, salespeople will be presented with new challenges, but also new opportunities.

So how can you face these challenges head-on and fully exploit the opportunities? Here are seven quick tips that will help your sales team do better in 2020:

Encourage AI collaboration

We can’t mention the turn-of-the-year without calling to attention the increasing presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our daily lives. Large corporations are continuing to funnel money into AI and there’s no sign of it slowing down. The power of AI is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s redesigning sales teams. Did you know that salespeople who use AI can reduce their call time by 60-70%? You need to communicate how this is giving them time back time which they could be using to convert a prospect into a customer.

Focus on the human touch

55% of customers prefer to talk to a human. Why? Because humans are emotionally intelligent, which a machine will never be able to imitate. While they are undoubtedly superior to humans in terms of speed and memory capacity, we are still able to get an edge over the machines. It’s important in this ever-increasingly digital world to illustrate to your sales team the importance of building relationships with their prospects.

Don’t rely on marketing to bring in leads

Encourage your team to take responsibility for their lead flow by using creative outreach tactics. You need to target customers where they want to interact with you and not just via the traditional methods like phone and email. There is less competition in other channels like social media – a platform where 76% of buyers are open to having a conversation. So, in 2020 take the opportunity to tap into this market before it becomes as saturated as the other channels.

Develop a sales playbook

A sales playbook guides your sales team through the subsequent steps as they move an opportunity through the sales process. The true value comes from being able to keep your sales team’s actions in line with the company’s objectives. By creating a standard sales methodology, you can also ensure that every situation has a clear course. In 2020 we expect to see them embedded in the CRM and when this happens the sales playbook can be used as a daily feature to accelerate sales effectiveness and accuracy. But while a clear course of action is good for your company, it’s important to remain flexible.

Create a personalised experience

But don’t make the mistake of letting your sales team push all prospects down the same sales strategy. Train them to read signs in their conversations with prospects and act on these with personalised responses; this will ensure that potential customers feel as though their unique needs have been addressed. This is particularly important in a time where customers feel less valued and 82% will stop giving their business to a company who does not care about them.

Move it along the funnel or chuck it out

Those opportunities that sit in your sales funnel for too long are particularly harmful because they trick your sales team into thinking they have more active prospects than they do. These tire kickers – those who appear to be interested but never actually intend to buy from you – cost each member of your sales team at least 15 hours a week. To avoid this direct your team to add two new opportunities into the pipeline each day and offset this by either removing two or moving them further along the process.

Who are your audience?

Perhaps you’ve created a buyer persona which your team use to understand and empathise with your customers. But could it be more effective if you updated it? Focus on psychographics rather than demographics, consider emerging trends and use information that you’ve learnt in 2019 all together to review your buyer persona. After all these personas are only effective if they are accurate.

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Is your sales team ready for 2024? If you’d like any advice on how to attract, recruit and retain the right salespeople contact us – with over 30 years’ experience in sales recruitment we have the industry knowledge to help you build a great team.