6 Sales Trends That Could Fizzle This Year [New Data]

Sales trends come and go. Some stick around for a while, while others see themselves out rather quickly.

Since we just started a new year, is it time for some goodbyes? In this post, I’ll review some sales trends we could see fizzle out throughout the year based on findings from our 2024 State of Sales Report.

Download Now: 2024 Sales Trends Report [New Data]

6 Sales Trends That Could Fizzle This Year

1. Salespeople acting as primary information sharers.

Salespeople say that a change in the sales field that has had the biggest impact on their role is that selling has become more focused on presenting a solution than pitching a product or service.

Why the change? Buyers. They prefer to gather information themselves before speaking to a human when researching a brand or product. Because of their self-led research, salespeople say buyers enter conversations with them more informed than ever.

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These more informed buyers don’t want a product pitch, which changes the role of a salesperson. Instead of primary information sharers, reps will pivot to consultative relationship builders who solution sell. They’ll have personalized conversations about a prospect’s specific needs and why their product or service is the best-fit solution.

Although it is a change, it isn’t bad — you’ll have higher quality conversations with buyers and build lasting relationships, which 82% of salespeople say is the most important part of selling. What’s more, 78% of consumers say that a salesperson’s expertise is “very” to “extremely” influential in a purchase decision.

2. LinkedIn as ruler of the prospect research process.

LinkedIn has been dethroned as the most effective platform for prospect research.

Facebook has risen in rank, and salespeople say it’s the most effective channel for researching prospects and/or their business. LinkedIn had this title last year.

It’s an interesting change, but considering that Facebook is the most popular social media channel in the world, it makes sense that sellers are researching customers on platforms they’re more than likely to be on.

Learning from trends and what others do is extremely important, but Facebook overtaking LinkedIn for some salespeople doesn’t mean you have to jump ship. There are benefits to both platforms, so to make a decision, consider your goals, what your audience needs and looks for, and where you’re most likely to find them.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but an omnichannel approach is extremely valuable. Dan Tyre, former Executive at HubSpot, said, “Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin are my jam. Part of being an inbound executive is to make sure you are optimizing multiple platforms to make it easy for people to find you and reinforce your brand.”

3. Prioritizing virtual selling.

The pandemic lifted virtual selling to new heights, and new sales tools emerged that made it easier to sell in the “new normal” because virtual channels were often the only way for work-from-home salespeople to contact prospects.

But, throughout 2024, I don’t think we’ll see businesses prioritizing virtual selling strategies as much as before because restrictions have lifted. Here are some insights from our 2024 State of Sales Report that point to the fizzling out of a virtual-first sales process:

  • Only 16% of salespeople note improving the virtual sales experience as part of their goals this year.
  • The second biggest change in the sales field between this year and last is that in-person (outside) sales became more crucial.
  • Possibly the biggest indicator: the percentage of salespeople who say video calls are an effective way to sell fell to 26% from 41.5% in 2022.
  • 65% of consumers prefer to interact with a salesperson in person.

I’d say there is a direct relationship between the lessening importance of virtual sales and the change in a salesperson’s role that I mentioned above. A consultative approach relies on building trust and relationships with prospects, and there’s no better way to develop that rapport than meeting face-to-face.

This is not to say that virtual selling will die out. If you’ve enjoyed using the channel, not to worry: hybrid sales pros are 28% more likely to outperform their in-person only and fully-remote peers.

4. Dismissing social selling as a passing fad.

Involving social media in the sales process was at the bottom of salespeople’s goals in 2022. I can understand this because, for some businesses, actually selling on social media doesn’t make sense. Can you imagine if you could buy Marketing Hub on Instagram Shops?

Social selling is much more than actually selling a product on social media. It’s also researching prospects, sharing helpful content, and connecting and interacting with audiences and potential customers on different platforms.

This year, social media is in the top four most effective channels for selling, and high-performing salespeople are 12% more likely to use social media when selling. And consumers spend a lot of time discovering, researching, and buying products on social media — why not join them where they already are?

5. Sales and marketing teams working in silos.

60% of survey respondents say their teams have become more aligned since last year and that Sales and marketing alignment is more crucial than ever. In 2024, I predict we’ll only see more of the silo walls between sales and marketing teams get broken down.

The benefits are too great for these teams to be misaligned:

  • Salespeople get higher quality leads when aligned with marketing teams
  • Alignment helps salespeople close more deals, increase win rates, and generate more revenue
  • Alignment stands to have the second-highest impact on company growth

Altogether, businesses with aligned sales and marketing teams say goal attainment is 107% more likely.

6. Saying that cold calling is dead.

Ah, the age-old adage “Cold calling is dead.”

Say what you want about the practice, but a dying trend in 2024 is saying that cold calling is dead.

Yes, the strategy can get a bad rap as consumers get frustrated by offers and deals entirely unrelated to who they are. That type of cold calling is certainly dead, but the practice can be more successful if the phone call follows prospecting and lead scoring.

Take salespeople’s word for it: 63% told us they conduct cold outreach and that phone calls are the most popular AND effective cold outreach strategy.

Back to You

Sales trends and best practices change when strategies don’t serve salespeople as well as before, often because of market/industry changes, tech advancements, or evolving consumer preferences. The good thing is that sales as a whole doesn’t change, so even if some of your practices do, you’ll just need to adapt instead of starting over.

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