What to Expect from the B2B Sales World in 2021


Jake Dunlap
Reading Time: 4 minutes



What to Expect from the B2B Sales World in 2021

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Jake Dunlap

CEO at Skaled Consulting

When you can’t meet with buyers face-to-face, where do you meet them?

You must go to their preferred channel and create a sales experience there.

In a recent episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, we welcomed Jake Dunlap, CEO at Skaled Consulting, to talk about what to expect in the B2B sales world in 2021.

With nearly 20 years of experience in sales leadership, Jake decided to pivot to providing sales organizations with consulting and tactical, hands-on support. 

Tactical execution is very important in a post-2020 world that has no space for red tape. “There’s no shortage of people who give you advice and come up with ideas,” Jake said. “The shortage we have in this world is the get-shit-done people.” The implementation of anything is just step one, but the most exciting part is the long run deployment. 

Jake focuses on deployment, follow through, and material change.

Let’s dive into his forecast for B2B sales in 2021!

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Everything that is B2C comes to B2B.

Jake Dunlap – CEO at Skaled Consulting

Predictions for B2B Sales in 2021

Jake recently went live on Clubhouse to share his predictions about the B2B Sales world for this year. 

Sidenote: Clubhouse is a new app that provides a platform for ‘rooms’ that you can join via audio – for live conversations about various topics.

Jake’s first conclusion is:

2020 accelerated how sales and marketing organizations need to digitally interact with people.

Gone is the one way interaction, downloading a white paper, blog post, or email. Marketing departments need to get more proactive to engage, interact, and comment. 

Similarly, sales reps need to create an experience that is both digital and also face-to-face.

“A lot of the conversations we were having the last half of last year is how do you create a pre-meeting experience by using content or screenshots? And then how do you start to share your screen during the meeting to make it more interactive? And then what do you do post-meeting to keep people warm?” Jake explained.

That’s the biggest trend: the evolution of creating a digital sales experience. This will continue to be mission critical for every company.

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You need to up your ability to interact and create meaningful interactions outside of just your charm and charisma face-to-face. That is going to be a universal skill for sellers as we go forward.

Jake Dunlap – CEO at Skaled Consulting

Trends that will stick

We have been forced to take that digital journey, and sometimes it feels risky taking it all online. However, some of the changes from 2020 are going to continue into 2021 because they’re actually great innovations.

If you asked someone a year ago if they could close a 6/7 figure deal only online, they would have said it was incredibly difficult – but miraculously businesses have done it. People who have been in sales for longer than a second know that the buyer has changed.

Gartner put out a report in November 2020 that 80% of millennials in B2B said they didn’t want to talk to a salesperson during the process. 

Given that millennials are involved in 40% of all decisions made, you have to grasp that many buyers just don’t want to interact – they don’t want to talk.

The key is to translate your in-person charisma into other channels. “The number one trend that most salespeople need to realize is that you need to mix it up and be able to meet people,” Jake said.

Find out if your buyer likes to text, then text them. Offer to send a video agenda for your upcoming meeting. Invite people to explore new communication venues with you, too. 

Bottom line: Be willing to operate on their preferred channels, your charming charisma won’t cut it everytime. This is a universal and non-negotiable skill for sellers as we go forward in 2021.

A corollary to the Gartner statistic is to make sure you aren’t gating any of your information. Instead, give information for free. It’s how you build trust with millennials online.

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Make sure every seller is playing the long, mid, and short game, not just the short game.

Jake Dunlap – CEO at Skaled Consulting

What else has 2020 changed in B2B sales?

Some industries have always struggled, but 2020 gave us a blanket sense that everyone is struggling. 

Not so. Some industries are doing really well, some just okay, and some are fighting to survive — just like before.

You have to approach a sale with the awareness that your product might not be a good fight right now – or at all. 

Before, we treated everyone like a buyer, when really what we should have been doing all along is engaging based on industry and situation.

“Make sure every seller is playing the long, mid, and short game, not just the short game,” Jake said.

No matter the size of the sale or the length of the conversation, a seller could choose to treat it like a transaction – or an experience. You have to give the same experience to everyone.

A salesperson should be curious, inquisitive, and excited to understand the why’s behind every No, just as much as every Yes. It’s incumbent on sales leaders to set the tone for what success means at the company, and it’s incumbent on companies to train sales leaders better than they are doing now.

Jake pointed out that most sales managers have gone through a tenth of the training that their sales development reps have gone through. It should be the opposite. “You’ve got to over-invest in training your leaders, and that makes all ships rise,” he said.

The main focus areas of 2021 are…

  • Start with a mindset shift. If face-to-face never returned to B2B sales, how would that change the way you interact with people?
  • Map the customer journey. Decide what the end looks like and decide where you create surprise and delight.
  • Multithread with people, connect with them, and interact with their content. Right now the B2B sales experience bar is so low – that if you create a better pre-meeting and follow-up experience, you’re going to stand out.

Connect with Jake on LinkedIn, by email at jake@skaled.com, or on the Clubhouse app.

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To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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