Photo of Jeff Osness
2020 sales tactics

4 Sales Tactics to Adopt and 4 to Abandon in 2020

Any salesperson worth their salt will tell you the only tactics that matter are the ones that produce results. Just let data (and integrity) be your guide.

Anything likely to get your team making more sales or conversions is worth trying, and anything weighing your team down or driving customers away needs to be cut loose.

As customers grow wearier of old-school sales techniques, the key to making more sales is, ironically, to be less sales-like.

Technology should enable more human connections with your prospects and customers, and salespeople need to play the long game to win hearts, minds, and wallets.

Here are our top do’s and don’ts for your 2020 sales strategy:

4 sales tactics to improve team performance

What methods do the companies with the highest conversion rates and the best sales performance use to stay ahead? Most of them revolve around using the technology stack to improve efficiency and enhance the quality of communication. Here are the sales tactics to adopt in 2020:

1. Unify your data

How many data silos does your company have? The key to keeping your customers happy long-term is connecting that customer data. Your sales, marketing, and customer success teams should all be feeding off the same data and enriching the data collected by other departments with their own insights.

Your salespeople can gain a wealth of knowledge on prospects from marketing’s data collection during lead generation and targeted ad campaigns. Likewise, when it comes time to renew a membership, refill an order, or cross-sell a product, they’ll want to know about data gathered by support staff or customer service. Finding a platform that can connect those data points seamlessly, like customer relationship management (CRM) software, is crucial.

2. Improve your content strategy

There’s a saying in the content marketing world — sales is selling to one person, while content marketing is selling to many. Content marketing is one of the most powerful forces driving leads to your sales department. Compelling content is what pulls prospects into your web or social sphere, and gets prospects to fill out a lead capture form, or call your sales line.

Matt Shively Internet GIF by ABC Network

When done right, content can do 90% of the work for your salespeople. By creating engaging, informative content, your company can pre-qualify leads before they ever interact with your team. That means fewer wasted conversations, and more high-value ones. Good content can educate a prospect about a service they need, and go a long way in helping them determine if they are a good fit. Without content, all those questions will be filtered through your sales team, taking up precious resources.

For best results, bridge the gap between your sales and marketing team. Build the content strategy together. What questions and pain points do prospects continually raise? What competitors are you compared against? Who are the decision makers? Let real world interactions guide the content. Always focus on consistent, resonating information that builds relationships.

3. Know what to automate

You already know automation can give you speed and accuracy over manual processes. The problem is there are thousands of tools and types of automation in the sales and marketing sector. How do you know what’s right for you?

Always consider the speed/quality trade-off. Sales is about relationships so don’t let automation drag down the quality of your interactions.

joseph sikora quality GIF by Power

For example, one route many high-call volume sales teams opt for is an auto dialer. This software calls many prospects at once, and uses AI to determine if someone answers live. When they do, the call is transferred to a live agent.

The downside? That awkward moment of dead air as the system senses a live answer and transfers the call. This type of automation is likely to work against you. Many conversations begin from a place of skepticism, as the customer identifies the call as a sales call. Many more simply don’t begin at all, as the phone hangs up and the line goes dead.

Opt for technology that boosts productivity, without sacrificing quality. A power dialer increases dialing efficiency without contacts knowing software is being used. Using PhoneBurner, sales reps are on the line when contacts say “hello” so they can reply instantly as if they dialed by hand.

If no one answers, reps can leave a prerecorded voicemail in one click without waiting for the beep. They can even send a personalized email at the same time. All calls are automatically logged and post-call workflows automated, resulting in up to 4x more live conversations. All without old-school automation that drives modern customers crazy.

4. Prioritize technology to enable your sales team

Alongside automation and CRMs, software and other technology can make your salespeople more effective. Between predictive analytics and tools that ease communication with customers, you have many options. Here are some you should consider:

  • Sales intelligence software: Half the battle of cold-calling is knowing who to call. Your target business might have several key decision-makers, and they’re often hard to find online. Sales intelligence software pinpoints the relevant data your sales team needs to reach potential buyers and get noticed.
  • Sales analytics software: When you’re in the throes of back-to-back sales calls, it’s challenging to take a step back and consider what’s working and what isn’t. Sales analytics takes the guesswork out of it. It allows sales teams to track, evaluate, and improve their performance. The right technology presents critical insights in a digestible way, letting you zoom in on your results and change strategies where needed.
  • Power dialers: If salespeople can speed up the rote tasks of dialing prospects, they can reach more contacts and land more sales. Power dialers are feature-rich and enable your sales team to forge ahead quickly, blending phone, email, and even SMS communications. With PhoneBurner, reporting is included so admins can ensure every rep is meeting goals for productivity and performance.

Keep in mind, no one wants to have to log in to a dozen different sales and time automation apps each day.

Part of succeeding with technology is balancing the automation you need with manageability of your stack. Choose technology that integrates well so you can keep your stack lean and simple.

4 sales tactics to avoid

The world of sales is always innovating new methods and disrupting old ones. Customers are becoming savvier and more calloused to anyone and anything that attempts to sell them something. The tactics that worked in the 1970s, a decade ago, or even three years ago aren’t what’s driving sales today. Here are a few once-great practices to leave out of your sales strategy in 2020 and beyond.

1. Telling and not asking (a.k.a. Selling and not solving)

In the olden days of marketing and sales, the primary strategy revolved around telling. The power of suggestion ruled all. Sales callers told prospects what they needed, and they listened. However, if you’re selling a solution to just anyone, they’re bound to figure out pretty quickly when it isn’t a good fit.

Schitts Creek Do Not Want GIF by CBC

Instead, ask the right questions to get to know your prospects on a deeper level. Make sure you have a solution for their real-world problem. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time, and your own. When you’re on the phone with your key decision-makers, remember that 96% of them are more likely to consider you if you have a clear understanding of their business needs.

2. Leaving the next steps unclear

Too many salespeople end a sales call without a firm follow up. If your sales team is ending their calls with, “How about I give you a week to think about it?” and thinking that’s the path to a yes, you’re missing golden opportunities.

Think About It Jo GIF by ABC Network

Having a well thought out (and thoroughly tested) sales process is key. Going into every call with a clear goal and next step in mind. Whether it’s a discovery call, or a live demo, or a proposal review, clarify what will happen next, and set a firm appointment. Otherwise they’ll lose focus and attend to any of the hundred other things competing for their attention, leaving you stuck in a game of phone and email tag.

Get on your prospects’ calendars, and they’ll be less likely to flake.

3. Moving too quickly

Pushing for the one-call sale can give you quite the rush. However, you can also miss out on those warning signs that the customer isn’t the right fit. Without taking the time to get to know your prospects and build a connection to your brand, those customers might only stick with you for a few months. An overwhelming 84% of unhappy buyers say their sales rep was too pushy.

ready digital short GIF

If you’re more focused on making a sale than finding the right fit, you’ll eventually damage your reputation. Before long, the customers you steered in the wrong direction will start recommending their connections stay away from you. Pushing to make a quick buck is undoubtedly a sales tactic to avoid in 2020 and beyond.

4.  Not training your sales team

It’s a common misconception that only new hires and entry-level sales reps need training. Everyone benefits from honing their skills, even the elites.

celebrity GIF by Brimstone (The Grindhouse Radio, Hound Comics)

In fact, the best-of-the-best often demand it. How many chart-topping singers don’t have vocal training? How many pro athletes walk on the field having missed practice all week? Exactly — none.

Your sales team is just the same. They need refreshers on the fundamentals and to stay up-to-date on the techniques that are driving conversions. They need to refine their scripts and their pitches. They need to know and analyze the competition. Your sales team wants nothing more than to make more sales, and training done right will give them that edge.

Learn more about our power dialer

Do you use the phone as a sales tool? Looking to grow your sales in 2020 and beyond? Learn how PhoneBurner makes outreach more personal, more productive, and more profitable. To see how our dialer and sales acceleration platform turn good sales teams into great ones, check out our product overview and start your free trial.