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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Sales trends & predictions for 2022: the future is digital

Date: Friday 25 March 2022

2022 could bring about the start of a new exciting era, but what could this new world look like for the future of sales?

Last year was a time of constant change, in more ways than one, we've seen lots of different challenges that we'd have never even dreamt of, across all different industries.

But we’ve all faced those challenges head on and come out of the other side stronger, and we've welcomed 2022 with hopeful arms and excited to see what the next 12 months will bring as we get ready for a time of epic sales growth.

We’re looking forward to what the world of sales could look like for manufacturers and distributors, and some of the new trends that will take off and will define 2022.

It will come as no surprise that the future is increasingly digital, and 2022 will bring new ways to look at selling, including new digital trends, and increasing adoption of sales enablement technology available for sales teams to utilize.

These 8 trends and predictions have the potential to improve the world of sales, and when combined with the right team and tools, could have a huge impact on your overall revenue for the next year.

1. Embracing AI and machine learning
Sales technology, including sales enablement tools and software, has been steadily on the rise for a few years now and has shown itself to be incredibly effective in helping salespeople sell smarter.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) hold the power to dig up a lot of information that you could need, and to find that data quickly in what would otherwise have been a very manual and time intensive task.

With the likes of AI and ML set to make a real impact on every aspect of our lives, having tools that make use of them will only make you a better salesperson.

From predicting the best products to sell to digging up new opportunities to cross-sell and upsell, AI and ML will make your sales team much more efficient and have more easy access to the data they need.

It will allow sales reps to focus their energy on selling, and dramatically alter the world of selling for the better, in a way that's much more productive and efficient.

AI is very much on the horizon for 2022 and holds an immense potential to change the way your team looks at sales and will only improve how you sell.

2. Attracting and retaining sales talent
So, what does this mean for the future of your sales team?

With an influx of new talent, and the younger generations making waves in the job market, there’s never been a better time to invest in your reps and build a solid team to set yourself up for success.

Thanks to what’s being named ‘The Great Resignation’, businesses are struggling to recruit talent in what is quickly becoming a huge open market for jobs.

It’s increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd and offer something enticing to potential candidates.

Taking advantage of the rise in new and young sales talent is going to make a big impact on companies in 2022, but competition for the best talent is fierce.

Many young people in the workforce, particularly in their 20's and 30's, are now putting a bigger focus on how much a potential employer utilizes technology or is willing to embrace innovation as part of their day-to-day working life.

Because of this, it's important that businesses offer effective and exciting sales enablement tools and are willing to embrace new technology or software over the next 12 months and beyond.

3. Creating synergy within your team
The last 2 years presented lots of challenges for sales managers, including managing remote teams, which then for many evolved into managing a hybrid team.

With lots of sales reps eager to get back on the road next year, that approach isn’t going anywhere. It’s crucial that to succeed, your team needs to be unified.

By now, many companies are used to relying on some form of technology to stay connected, and this can only improve and get better. Software and technology is allowing us all to remain connected, and this stands true for the workplace too.

Having a centralized system or sales enablement tool allows your team to work flawlessly together with total transparency.

Whether you’re an enterprise-size company or a small business, your reps being in sync with each other, and their customers, is going to vital over the next 12 months.

4. Personalization is everything
Thanks to the advance in technology, we’re being brought closer together more than ever, but it can be so easy to get lost in the digital world.

If we’ve learnt anything from the global pandemic, it’s that communication is key, but it has to be just right.

Showing your customers that you care about them and understand them is going to be huge, and demonstrating that they're more than just a number on a page.

We live in a world where personalization is everywhere, and it’s going to be crucial to react and implement this into your sales strategy in 2022.

Comprehensive and detailed business reports being prepared for every call is an extremely powerful way to do this, and being able to quickly react to any slip in sales and pick up the phone is another extra step to show you care.

These can be time-consuming to do, but with the help of the right sales technology to help, it becomes effortless to go that extra mile and show your customers you appreciate them and value them.

5. Continued focus on customer retention & success
2022 is going to see a shift towards sales teams focusing on cultivating meaningful relationships with their existing customers and seeing a bigger drive towards better customer relationships.

Having the right CRM in place is key to making sure your customers feel appreciated and is especially important in making sure that no customer is left forgotten about.

The right CRM tool is one that can be accessed by all of your sales reps, no matter if they’re in the office or on the road, and at any time too.

You’ll need a system that can easily tell you everything you need to know about any previous phone calls and being able to have a quick overview of your customers' sales is an added bonus too.

6. Mastering the art of value-selling
Thanks to the rise of digital selling, customers are getting savvier by the minute.

By now, people have seen or heard most of the tricks in the book when it comes to being sold something and will be able to see right through any sales gimmicks and one-liners.

With the obvious selling tactics being left behind in 2021, it leaves room for the rise of the more subtle value-based selling; the idea of selling the value or benefit first, rather than the product features.

People are becoming more and more focused on the benefits.

Anyone can talk about the features of a product, but the one thing that will make the difference between a ‘no’ and a ‘yes’, is all about the ‘why’.

With your competitors just a few clicks away online, it’s crucial that you instantly stand, and very clearly let your customers know how your product will benefit them and outline the value.

7. Virtual meetings are here to stay
One of the things we all collectively had to do during the pandemic was quickly adapt to a new normal.

This new normal is primarily based in the digital world, and this online presence is here to stay.

While face-to-face meetings aren't going anywhere either, we're expecting to see a continued rise in sales teams embracing a hybrid approach.

People expect things to be instantaneous, and the same comes to the sales process.

There are many benefits to taking some things online, one being that you'll be able to easily access everything you need for a call, and make sure that you're fully informed about what you're (virtually) walking into.

From sales insights to cross-selling and upselling opportunities, you may even find that your sales are boosted thanks to an online presence.

8. Harness the power of social selling
Social selling is when salespeople find, contact, and interact with prospects through social media, and along with the shift to a digital world of selling, it’s set to become much more popular, and it’s not hard to see why.

It makes a lot of sense to be where your customers and prospects are, and with huge platforms like LinkedIn, there’s such a huge opportunity for businesses willing to step into the world of social selling.

When teamed with a value-first approach, there’s also a huge chance of success.

Not only will you be able to focus on building authentic and genuine connections with prospects and customers.

You’ll also be able to grow trust in you and your company, and as trust plays such a huge part in the decision process, it’s important to get it right.

We’re sure that 2022 will come with its fair share of challenges, but one thing is for certain; sales is a very exciting field to be in right now.

2022 is going to be very digital, and there's plenty of room for salespeople to get creative in this new online landscape.

There's going to be more opportunities for innovation, for forward-thinking, and for growth, and sales-i is here every step of the way.

If you’re looking to brush up on some of your key sales skills heading into 2022, take a look at some of our other blogs for more ideas and inspiration.

If you want to find out how sales-i can supercharge your sales team in 2022, get in touch today