7 Sales & Marketing Trends
The phrase, 'survival of the fittest' when applied to business has not rung true over the last 12 months, with many well-established companies caught off guard by current circumstances. Instead, the proverb from Plato: “Our need will be the real creator” is probably more appropriate, which translated over the centuries to the more familiar, English proverb 'Necessity is the mother of invention'. Read here about some less obvious latest sales and marketing trends.
Sales & Marketing Trends 2023
Compared to previous years, the feeling is that trends haven't really revealed themselves as yet and as the current situation evolves, we are expected to see some big things on the horizon. Current Blogs and articles discussing predictions in 2022 and beyond have played it safe and been non-committal. Therefore, the Secret Source Trends for 2023 reveal items that are either; ones to watch, exciting or disruptive. Our sources come from the talented Sales, Marketing and Executive Leaders across different sectors, size, shape and geography. Secret Source has also consulted our sentiment analysis specialists who, via the surface and deep web environments, have surfaced some very surprising intelligence amongst the opinions and challenges faced by business leaders currently.
You will notice that I have kept away from the word 'prediction' for good reason. Last year many people had 'predictions' and forecasts which look laughable now. Take the former Prime Minister, with all his specialist advisors, who said himself: "This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain". Only a matter of weeks later he was battening down the hatches in an unprecedented national lockdown. Product and business launches were delayed, mergers shelved, events cancelled and sales pipelines shot to bits! Even the comedian Jack Whitehall (along with the rest of the world) retracts his predictions.
So for this reason, we willtake a look at some of the trends that may help, hinder or hurt sales and marketing professionals in the future.
1. AI Tools
With many sales and marketing professionals working from home, then it is no wonder that digital transformation has happened at an alarming rate. The use of digital assets, forums, reviews, e-commerce have all spiked over the last 15 months. With many conversations and research being conducted online, then so will the adoption of 'Audience Emotion', 'Sentiment Analysis', 'Opinion Mining'. Using AI tools can help to measure a brand, product or service is already happening. AI allows sales and marketing professionals, business owners to keep their finger on the pulse, in almost real time, offering competitive advantage. Machine learning tools have been around for a while, with well-established AI vendors algorithms learning during that time. For any B2B, B2C brands, Opinion Mining will become part of everyday monitoring for sales, marketing, product strategy, service and operational leaders. Discovering more regarding the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns will offer business leaders and analysts a clearer overall picture to future challenges and pain points experienced in different sectors.
Hubspot Trends in 2022 suggests that AI predictive analytics will replace A/B testing altogether, as sales and marketing professionals will be able to obtain the data concerning what is going to work and when, by sourcing (and understanding) the data that will help inform them to what is going to happen before it has even happened! With IoT (Internet of Things) and more accurate data crunched by some super clever AI software and tools, then life for a sales and marketing professional is going to get easier... or is it? Scared, excited, head in the ground, ready to embrace, or all of the above? To discover more regards how Secret Source is already using Sentiment Analysis.
2. Events Meet Social Networking
Other trending articles talk about events being cancelled and more Zoom, MS Teams calls happening throughout 2023 (other conference call platforms are available). More events on Zoom is surely a given!? However, how they are structured and run is evolving. TikTok saw a stratospheric rise during Lockdown across the planet and is already having to reinvent itself. Linkedin saw a huge adoption throughout 2021/22 and it feels like Linkedin is turning more into Facebook. Whereas Facebook on the other hand has helped many small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) move online and continue to trade. With Facebook about to change again as huge pressure from Governments, associations and society on the whole, then we will witness disruption within social media. Already platforms are jockeying to be the next 'big thing' where some are quietly (relatively speaking) making their presence known. No doubt using gamification style rewards system to encourage adoption and build equity into the platform, it already has the FOMO factor (the fear of missing out). The digital and physical landscape have merged with events companies now using online platforms far more and online platforms creating events. Clients are either setting up forums and opportunities to speak or looking for interesting relevant events themselves to attend.
3. Account Based Marketing (ABM)
Speaking with B2B Marketing Specialists in particular, ABM will get more prevalent and sophisticated, as Sales and Marketing professionals will need to think of more engaging ways to nurture their audience. This is a large topic in itself so be sure to follow Secret Source where we will reveal our ABM campaigns throughout the year on behalf of our customers.
4. Ding Dong
Remember post? Well it's back! Despite the global pandemic, people are still comfortable ordering all kinds of 'stuff' and what is more, everyone is in! Deliveries saw a 31% Increase according to Royal Mail figures and this has continued to rise. B2B Sales and marketing professionals need to embrace the physical world, as you cannot build trust on web alone. Door drops will see a resurgence and the use of personalisation to the recipient a must. There is no better way to remind your audience that you are thinking about them. "Having a parcel delivered is the highlight of the day, research by the Royal Mail has revealed".
Combined with point number three, ABM, then using physical items to help your audience is going to see a rise in adoption. Gone are the days of basic flyers, when you can receive personalised and useful items to help you do your job more efficiently. Posted items are getting under the nose of your audience, they are personal, non-intrusive and can't be deleted. Whilst rembering to respect the environment, physical marketing can be also sustainable, so doesn't need to cost the earth.
5. Open Banking
Any business involved in Ecommerce will want to consider open banking as part of their overall strategy. Open Banking is a secure payment mechanism that offers a commercial advantage and can deliver up to 90% operational savings, combined with substantial risk mitigation to banks, payment providers and ecommerce merchants.
Tesco Bank have been disruptive and introduced open banking, which will offer benefits such as cost savings to the customer and vendor. Open banking legislation will change how B2B and B2C companies transact with their customers. If you have e-commerce, making multiple small transactions or large payments, then you may want to consider open banking as a viable option. Certainly, Secret Source are offering Open Banking on e-commerce website builds as standard, as it enhances the experience, offering clients more on their bottom line because the transaction fees are competitive. Soon all e-commerce sites will offer open banking, but for now it is first mover advantage. If you want to learn more, then Secret Source Specialists can show you how it works (Source: Payment Industry Intelligence)
6. Get More Human!
Your prospect audience are selecting partners they can trust. Sifting through your competitors websites and social posts, with the usual, "This is my product/service it's better than..." white noise out there, whilst avoiding all the, "Free Cake!" 'clickbait' content material. Your real prospect clients are looking to deal with real people! It is tough for B2B sales and marketing people to stand out from a crowd. You do not have to aim for world peace, just a way of showing how your people actually help other people. Groups of people within businesses need to find a way to embrace change and make a difference to help their customers. At Secret Source we are positive that we are going to see some amazing ideas, campaigns and extraordinary people in 2023. We hope to see even more collaboration, discoveries and innovation being driven by sales and marketing professionals in 2023.
7. Marketing Budgets
In 2022, executive leaders needed to go further than simply reallocation of budget. 2023 innovators will be establishing new models, born from necessity, when it comes to budgeting. An increase in research budgets to gain more market intelligence. Budget activities will include opinion mining for both B2B and B2C Sales and marketing professionals. Working with outsourced specialists will also rise where a physical location is no longer the normal mode of operation. A shared service marketing execution model will give businesses access to the right talent whilst combining salary and sales/marketing budgets, offering consistency in marketing spend. Given the right Service Level Agreements (SLA) and deliverables are established then outsourced marketing can help grow a business. The model will be adopted by more companies as they have to compete against their competitors that already use an outsourced marketing team.
2023 will see new ways of working (and living). This will bring with it new technology, reporting, strategies, models and tactics. As people continue to work remotely, we will experience the positives and negatives of doing so. We hope that as we work further apart, business communities actually come closer together with collaboration high up on the agenda for all businesses leaders, irrespective of their size or sector. The Secret Source Research Team will continue to scour the horizon for new emerging trends, so follow us on our social channels or subscribe as we discover more in 2023!