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6 Major B2B Sales Industry Trends: Are You Prepared? Data is divine. Social selling is supreme. Mobile is magnificent. Pay attention!

By Danny Wong Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Mariano Rivera

The most successful salespeople are agile and flow with the times; they know that staying relevant depends on accepting and embracing change.

Related: 4 Sales Strategies to Increase Your Average B2B Deal Sizes

However, to be one of these successful individuals, you must identify the positive changes that can powerfully improve your productivity and at the same time avoid changes that will be costly and add little to your bottom line. Here are some insights on six important B2B sales industry trends that will prepare you and your organization to survive and thrive for the long haul.

1. Social selling is supreme.

While we may have heard about this new way of engaging prospects, the majority of salespeople have yet to fully buy into the benefits of social selling. And there is powerful evidence they should. According to SalesforLife, 73 percent of salespeople who used social selling as part of their sales process during the period studied outperformed their peers.

Salespeople should see this trend for the winner it is and map out a strategy for consistently utilizing their social media profiles to find, engage and connect with potential new customers. Social selling is perhaps the biggest disruption sales will see in the near future.

2. Data is divine.

Due to the implementation of customer-relationship management systems and other automated ways of gathering information, today's salespeople are blessed with an unprecedented amount of pertinent data. Unfortunately, they may find it overwhelming to determine just what the data reveals about their sales pipeline and efforts.

It is critical for sales teams to dive into the data and work with their managers to develop a process for comprehending the information gathered and ascertaining how to use it to forge greater productivity. Data is instrumental in showing sales team members what works and what doesn't, so they can spend their time on more profitable actions and minimize resource allocation on actions without strong ROI.

Related: 5 Strategies for Entrepreneurs to Improve Sales

3. Mobile is magnificent.

The urgency of mobile adoption has been a topic of discussion for years. However, if you have not yet adapted to a mobile environment, you will soon be left behind. "Going mobile" was recently the cherry on top of a smart sales strategy; now it is a bare necessity.

Salespeople who seek out new applications to make themselves more productive recognize that mobile is a viable new selling channel. Its effective use helps sales reps thrive and maintain their competitive edge.

4. Specialization is spectacular

The days when salespeople wore many hats are fading away. B2B customers expect value solutions instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, and that demand is bringing about a more educated, specialized salesperson.

It's an idea that requires more teamwork than ever, allowing each salesperson to capitalize on his or her unique strengths. For example, one rep might make the first contact, another might be brought in for the demo and a third might handle negotiation and closing. Specialization assists each salesperson in honing personal strengths, which results in a larger number of new customers.

5. Analytics is awesome.

Even though salespeople usually find analytics stale and boring, there is a gold mine of great information there that can be uncovered with a little work.

As sales tries to sell more in less time, meet goals and stay on top of business, analytics is the key to accomplishing all of this. By reviewing and quantifying past successes, savvy salespeople can duplicate best practices in the future. Flexible individuals who long to take their sales game to the next level will commit to reviewing analytics and making edits in their daily activities based on what they find.

6. Qualifying is queen.

For the last few years, we have all been so excited about inbound marketing leads that we've somewhat failed to see the validity of each of the contacts, focusing on quantity over quality. This pattern is changing rapidly.

According to a report by the B2B Technology Marketing Community, 61 percent of marketers surveyed said that the biggest challenge they face is generating high-quality leads. Smart content, automation and social selling allow salespeople to track leads and see just how interested each prospect is in buying. As lead qualification evolves, salespeople will spend less time chasing rabbits and more time moving deals through the pipeline to close new accounts.

Related: 6 Strategies For Overcoming Buyer Hesitation in B2B Sales

Agility is one of the most important facets of salespeople's DNA. The ones who watch for the next idea to help them be better, sell better and accomplish more are the ones who will consistently surpass their goals. Being familiar with these six B2B sales industry trends will prepare you to stay at the top of your game and be able to bob-and-weave with whatever the marketplace throws at you.

Danny Wong

Entrepreneur, marketer and writer.

Danny Wong is an entrepreneur, marketer and writer. He is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company, and leads marketing for Receiptful, a platform to supercharge all customer interactions for eCommerce stores, and Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. 

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