9 Proven Sales Tips for 2021 Here are some helpful tips from experts on what to add to your sales strategy in 2021.

By Jonathan Herrick

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Teera Konakan | Getty Images

This year has been the year of adjustments. COVID has taught us that nothing is for certain, and if we want our businesses to thrive (or survive), we need to be one step ahead of what's to come.

Obviously, we have no crystal ball, and we aren't able to see into the future. So, how do we know what's to come in 2021 now that COVID has changed the selling landscape for the foreseeable future? How do we determine what sales tactics we should use in this COVID reality while still putting our customers first?

Here are some important selling tips from the experts to keep in mind as you prepare for next year. Hopefully, these insights can help you as you embark into uncharted territory.

Related: 5 Lessons That Will Help Your Business Get Through a Crisis

1. Automate wherever you can

"Investing in software can be quite the headache, but the end result can also save the day. If you automate mundane sales processes, it creates more time for reps to focus on what's important: building a relationship with the customer."

— Mary Clare Novak, Sales Content Writer at G2

2. Sales reps will thrive with empathy and understanding

"Sales reps, like BDRs and AEs, have always had a difficult job, but the pandemic's impact on the pipeline also hurt morale. The most successful sales leaders have embraced empathy and provided personalized, detailed coaching techniques to help get teams back on track and confident. While team-building and management may have been isolated to the sales floor, the future is understanding all of the conversations sales reps have each day, remotely and at scale. By navigating both the 10,000 ft. overview and small details of the sales team, we're able to build confidence, pipeline, and revenue together."

— Jim Benton, CEO, Chorus.ai

Related: 3 Reasons Empathy is Good for Business

3. Converting on camera will be EVERYTHING in 2021

"The basic principles of sales will never change. However, with the various ways COVID continues to affect our economy, businesses in every industry will need to learn several new skills. First, they will need to effectively identify and connect with ideal clients using social media. The nuances of nurturing and qualifying leads will no longer take place door to door, or phone to phone, but in DM's and PM's across a variety of social media platforms, so understanding how to do that will be increasingly important over the next 12-18 months. Lastly, it will be important for businesses to master live video and sales conversations online. Whether selling to thousands of people in a Facebook group during a launch or one-on-one over Zoom, having mastery over the skills required to convert on camera will be absolutely critical if you want to thrive during 2021!"

— Kelly Roach, Kelly Roach Coaching

4. Make sure your email messages are deep and provide value

"The pandemic has slashed traditional sales channels in half, meaning it's harder to connect with prospects when an in-person meeting, coffee, or dinner is off the table — a huge problem for sales teams across the world as we go into next year. Pre-pandemic, casting a wide net has never worked, and it certainly doesn't work now. Don't succumb to sending 1,000 emails, but instead, send a few emails per week with very specific and powerful solutions to get the attention of your best prospects. In an era where people are begrudgingly more connected to their devices than ever, it's easy to ignore an irrelevant or vague email, whereas solution-oriented ideas tend to stick."

— Chris Dessi, VP Americas & Australia, Productsup

5. Integrate sales and marketing teams

"For sales, the need for collaboration has gone from lax to necessary overnight, with distance selling necessitated by COVID-19 becoming the new normal and revenue-centric strategies taking center stage. Marketing and sales teams have historically worked independently to drive revenue. During a global pandemic, however, it's critical these two departments function as one to create a plan that works toward overall business goals. Mere alignment isn't sufficient anymore – the two teams need to be fully integrated in order to succeed. To integrate these two teams, businesses need to view and structure them as one revenue organization. While individuals are still focused on sales tasks or marketing tasks, it's important that they exist under the same umbrella. Being under this same umbrella fosters true collaboration – which will be essential for success in 2021 – and unites sales and marketing as one functional team."

— Mike Dickerson, CEO, ClickDimensions

Related: 3 Reasons Marketing Is The New Sales

6. Interactivity is the New Necessity

"As virtual and hybrid meetings and events are quickly replacing the in-person sales experience, leading companies must pivot to engage prospects online effectively. If you are planning to highlight key information via PDFs, product sheets, and slides, instead, try swapping out static data dumps for a relevant question regarding the customer's business in order to engage the audience right from the start. Keep decision-makers focused on a topic that requires them to continue thinking, creating a spotlight of attention. Then, engage customers with something interactive that they can control themselves, for instance, have them actually drive an application or a game-like experience in your next virtual meeting. Lastly, tie these activities into their world rather than your products – allow them to uncover for themselves how they can solve specific business challenges. This will increase knowledge retention and enthusiasm."

— Gavin Finn, President & CEO, Kaon Interactive

7. Ask your customers how the pandemic has affected them

"The pandemic has obviously affected every industry in a variety of different ways. So, ask your customer probing questions about how the pandemic has affected their specific business. You can use this information to craft custom-tailored solutions to their specific challenges.

For example, if your business manages a clothing store's website and social media, you'll need to help expand its e-commerce options, as well as their search and social ads. People are online more than ever now. Sales organizations need to be experts in helping their clients leverage online outreach to support their customers, gain referrals, and, ultimately, increase revenue in an unprecedented time."

— Jessica Pingrey, Senior Sales Analyst, FitSmallBusiness

8. Any outbound sales strategy requires multiple channels

"Up until recently, all you had to do was build an outreach cadence that systematically connected with prospects on multiple channels to help you stand out from the crowd. No more. Connecting with your prospects on multiple channels will no longer be a differentiator, it is now a requirement and will become table stakes for even smaller-ticket sales.

You can't get away with just relying on cold email or paid ads; you'll have to be doing it all. The easiest way to do that is to use a sales engagement platform. These platforms are user-friendly and contain a lot of robust personalization features."

— Sujan Patel, Co-founder, Mailshake

9. Create your own 'Virtual Bullpen'

"In a normal office setting, many salespeople occupy the same area of the office, which offers the opportunity to organically learn from each other. This could be listening to or shadowing each other's calls, sharing successful techniques, brainstorming new campaigns, or even just blowing off steam. You can take time to organize group video calls, to take turns shadowing calls, and connecting with your fellow salespeople, and share what's been working for you lately. Sales can be isolating on its own so take time to connect with your fellow salespeople to uplift each other morally and share successes with each other."

— Laith Masri, Customer Experience Analyst, Clutch

I know it can be scary heading into a new year with a pandemic sitting on our shoulders. Don't expect your sales numbers to bounce back so quickly. Just take things in stride and try new approaches. Consider some of the tips offered from the experts above and remember to always put your customers first.

Jonathan Herrick

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

CEO of Benchmark

Jonathan Herrick is CEO and chief high-fiver at Benchmark Email, BenchmarkONE and Contacts+, bringing together 150 employees serving over 25,000 customers and 1 million users in 15 countries and nine languages worldwide.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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