The COVID-19 pandemic is still causing uncertainty in 2022, but some clear trends are beginning to take shape across the sales, marketing, and recruiting fields. Companies continue to focus on being light on their feet — highly responsive and increasingly adaptable. While that won’t change in 2022, there are some additional things you can do to be successful. Here’s a list of the go-to-market trends you should incorporate into your 2022 planning.
Cement Your Organization’s Purpose
In an age where purpose-driven purchases are more popular than ever, companies with an intentional focus on their purpose are growing. Of course, customers expect brands to seek a profit, but they also want to hear about your company values and how they drive your operations.
A recent Deloitte survey of global executives shows that high-growth brands (those with 10% or more annual growth) are using organizational purpose to drive their progress.
Companies should also be laying out how best to report their metrics. Customers that care about a business’ social responsibility will check to make sure you’re following through on your promises. Deloitte’s survey indicates that 93% of high-growth brands have “established key performance metrics related to their purpose statement.”
Whether you’ve pledged to operate more sustainably, hire more diversely, or work more ethically, you should share your progress so your customers know that you’re putting your money where your mouth is.
Appeal to the Belief-Driven Employee
As the Great Resignation continues, employees are looking for more than just a bigger paycheck. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that employees driven by personal beliefs are much more likely to work for an organization that makes commitments to human rights, healthcare access, economic equality, gender equality and climate change.
You’ll also attract and retain more employees, as belief-driven employees are 76% more likely to stay with an company that aligns with their beliefs for several years and 76% more likely to refer others to the company.
Use Data to Drive Experience
Using consumer data to create a marketing experience that’s personalized but not intrusive will be a huge priority in 2022, and building consumer trust can only happen when this personalization is done responsibly.
A Deloitte study of consumer behavior and data utilization asked respondents to rate a series of scenarios on a scale of creepy to helpful. Interactions that received a relatively positive score included brand relationship sale alerts (57% helpful), favorite store foot traffic offer (38%), and brand repurchase alert (36%).
On the contrary, the sense that consumers were being listened to by their devices scored -27%, followed by geo-tracking recommendations (8%) and cookies following web history (11%).
The study reveals that marketing efforts that focus on brand relationships are viewed as more helpful than in-depth tracking and create a better customer experience. When using data to shape your marketing efforts, rely on strategy, poise, and building relationships rather than attempting to read the minds of your customers.
You have to understand the data you have at your fingertips — and the right way to use it.
“When engaging with a prospect in the early stages of their buying journey, it’s best to reference the general trends you’re seeing across the industry or similar clientele, rather than explicitly calling out the behavior the prospect has shown,” says Steven Bryerton, senior vice president of sales at ZoomInfo. “The former is helpful, the latter is too ‘big brother’ and often puts the prospect on the defensive, even though they likely are in search of your help.”
We’ve put together a guide to the data-driven sales funnel to help you better use data to find and sell to qualified leads.
Focus on the Fundamentals
As more interactions move to the digital world, it’s crucial to remain personable. Using technology that bridges the gap from seller to consumer can help you make conversations more personal, market your brand better, and create longer and stronger customer relationships.
You need to maintain the human aspect of business and pair it with high-quality data. We’re constantly stressing the importance of good data, because without it your data-driven efforts can fall flat. Incomplete or inaccurate data can definitely lead to lost deals and broken relationships — not to mention lost revenue. It’s estimated that U.S. companies lose over $3 trillion a year due to poor quality data. If you’re using tools that aren’t providing clean, accurate data for meaningful prospecting, you’re missing out.
Offer Remote Work Permanently
Since the switch to remote work across nearly every industry at the height of the pandemic, offices have been slowly reopening and employees have been beckoned to return to the more formal and routine workplace. But as we’ve seen, the pandemic is far from over. Spikes in COVID cases have encouraged many employers to make the tough call to reinstate or extend work-from-home policies.
Even without the threat of a virus, remote work will likely be around from now on. Studies show that remote work can improve productivity and retention, and allow companies to tap into otherwise inaccessible talent. And workers are continuing to look for opportunities that allow for more flexibility. An Ernst and Young survey of more than 16,000 employees across 16 countries found that 90% of respondents want flexibility in where and when they work. Continuing to prioritize remote-friendly work will be imperative going forward, regardless of what happens with COVID-19.
Add Branded Audio and Video to Your Toolkit
Brands across the map are expanding their audio and video libraries to increase interaction with their customers. The fatigue we’re all feeling from the past two years can weigh heavily on our attention spans, causing typical marketing and selling materials to flop with audiences.
Hubspot research shows that 53% of professionals find podcasts or other types of audio content an effective way for their companies to encourage engagement and increase brand awareness. As seen through the success of platforms like TikTok, leveraging short video content can be a great engagement driver. Compile a list of helpful (and concise) videos, along with podcasts about your product or from your CEO, to include in your future prospecting emails.
Read more: B2B Marketing Trends: What to Expect in 2022
Maximize Your Competitive Advantage
“As sellers, we should be the experts in our space,” Bryerton says. “We have far more information about our offering, the problems it solves, the challenges in the market, and general trends within the industry than our prospects ever will — and they’re in search of the knowledge we possess.”
Whether you’re focused on selling to customers or attracting new talent, recognizing these trends and your expertise in the market will help you maximize your efficiency. We’re moving forward into an age of demand unlike any we’ve seen before, where customers — and employees — have more bargaining power. Adapting to their needs and desires will help you thrive regardless of what 2022 may hold.