Top 5 Southeast Asia B2B Marketing And Sales Trends in 2022

Top B2B marketing and sales trends that will affect organizations and teams in 2022

Top 5 Southeast Asia B2B Marketing And Sales Trends in 2022

Time to dust off the crystal ball and begin to look into the future and what 2022 will look like for organizations and teams in sales and marketing. The following are five predictions sales and marketing organizations and teams will see in the B2B space moving into 2022.

1. Mobile-first strategy

Organizations around the world know this but there’s still quite a lot of brands that are failing to adopt a stronger emphasis to “go all-in” on digital. According to a McKinsey study in October 2021 on B2B sales and the effects that COVID-19 has made in disrupting the traditional sales process, over 3/4 of buyers and sellers prefer to have a “digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions”.

Even as far back as 2017, the importance of mobile was emphasised with Boston Consulting Group concluded that mobile drives, or influences, an average of more than 40% of revenue in leading B2B organisations. Part of this mobile-first strategy overlaps the later part of this post, but put it simply mobile-first will mean:

1.1 Increasing accessibility and ease for buyers contacting sellers

This means creating a website that’s tailored to your target audience or the persona and behaviour of your customer archetypes. The mindset within the organization in terms of how they view the website needs to be reimagined and a balance between user experience first and compliance-driven second. Too often businesses, often large, traditional-driven or heavily regulated are so compliance-first in their digital approach that the creativity and differentiation of a brand get handicapped against their smaller, more agile competitors.  

1.2 Strong social media presence 

This means both the organization and the salesperson will need to show stronger credibility of their profession and contribution to their industry. There’s a number of ways this can be achieved from strategic content partnerships with Tier-A and Tier-B influencers to drive a brand’s digital footprint within the social space, to investing time to create content and syndicate through their organization’s network. 

In addition, this will also mean salespeople and even company executives will need to invest time and resources into updating their social profiles and aligning their credibility across all platforms. “84% of C-level/vice president executives use social media to support purchase decisions” - International Data Corporation (IDC)

1.3 Customer experience needs to be reimagined

Will be explained further down, but simply put as COVID-19 disrupted economies all around the world, consumers are becoming more conscious of the products and services they purchase. The hierarchy of needs have changed and will therefore mean, a stronger emphasis on brands to understand the consumer behaviour which will result in either removing various products or services from their line up or introducing new ones to cater towards the customers of the ‘new norm’.

2. Personal social media digital presence is key for salespeople

Gone are the days where the marketing, brand and communication teams focus solely on building ‘brand’ equity for their branded channels, in 2022 you will see a stronger emphasis on sales professionals and even executives building out their social presence.

This will mean brands will need to employ a suite of boutique agency suppliers specialised in developing the social footprint of various executives and sales professions to improve their thought leadership and credibility in their industry space. 82% of buyers look sellers up on LinkedIn before replying, 84% of C-level and VPs will use social media to make purchasing decisions, and 50% of B2B buyers avoid sellers who have incomplete profiles, according to the RAIN Group

LinkedIn and audio podcasts will be major social media platforms that B2B brands will need to focus on, whether or not this means:

  • Sponsoring a spread of industry-related podcasts/shows to maximise audience
  • Sponsoring a few large ones to cut through
  • Investing in building branded for the channels content 
  • Participating in established channels as guests

In addition, social media tools will need to be budgeted in for brands looking to optimize their workforce whilst gaining the insights needed to make actionable recommendations - identifying social buying intent.

Top 5 social media publishing tools for B2B marketers

Tools that are popular for teams to manage their branded social accounts include:

  1. Agorapulse
  2. Sprout Social
  3. Hootsuite
  4. Buffer
  5. BuzzSumo

 Top 5 Social Listening tools for B2B marketers

  1. Salesforce Social Studio - Radian6
  2. Talkwalker
  3. Adobe Social
  4. Mention
  5. Agorapulse

3. Consumer behaviour - RELOAD

In 2022, businesses large or small will need to invest in identifying, understanding and adjusting to the new customer behaviour of the ‘new norm’. Customer research isn’t really a new thing per se, however, given COVID-19 has swept the world and with various parts of the world still dealing with the multitude of variants, you can be sure that this will have an impact on both the safety aspect of product and service operations, but also how it will affect the economies of consumers. 

A recent study by Salesforce interviewed over 8,200+ marketers from all levels around the world with one insight highlighting the fact that the overwhelming majority of marketers out there (84%) say that customer expectations are changing their digital strategy. Moreover, since the start of the pandemic, Salesforce has noted that 60% of consumer interactions with companies have been digital, compared to 42% pre-pandemic.

4. CRM integration and email marketing

These can be separated into two, however, there’s you can’t operate effectively with one without the other.

With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes firstly introduced back in 2016 and subsequently other nations following with their own data protection - Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) in China (2021), Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in 2020 - and more recently Google’s delayed plans to phase out of third-party cookies in 2023, and iOS 14 updates affecting tracking and conversions, it is now becoming more clear that email capture and usage will become even more important for businesses in 2022.

 So the solution all stems back to your customer audience in particular creating a persona that identifies:

  • Who they are
  • What they do
  • What are their pain points
  • What are they looking for in a brand 
  • What are they looking for in a product or service
  • What do they general like / dislike
  • What do they believe in
  • Why do they choose one brand over another 
  • and so on

Capturing emails on your website isn’t just about adding them to your marketing list for sales and promotions, it’s also about understanding their preferences in terms of the content they want to consume. It could be just one thing or a number of things that they can subscribe to.

Giving users options, albeit guided options will enable the user and brand to build a fluid relationship. These people on your mailing list might not be “in-market” ready to buy, but at least you can slowly nurture them when they are ready.

5. Video calling skills need to be upskilled - digital rapport

The hottest topic for sales and marketing teams is upskilling and implementing best practices when it comes to video call selling. 

The days when you can regularly meet face to face and build some rapport before the “actual” meeting with your prospect is gone, especially as technology and of course COVID has dramatically shifted the workplace either a pure online element or a hybrid of offline and online.

Granted there will still be situations where physical face to face meetings will exist, but for the most part, buyers are beginning to become comfortable with video calling. 

The main challenge for video calling will be around capturing and maintaining interest throughout a sales meeting and avoiding ‘ZOOM’ fatigue.

Early this year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) released an article that introduced the notion of a new hybrid digital where B2B organizations will have to re-think the way they operate their sales force and suggested five imperative stages to transform your business into a digital-first organization. 

The main elements called for

  • Supplementary training and enabling more mobile tools to support customer insights and their sales opportunity pipeline
  • Targeted training in new skills like how to deal with customer objections over the phone or via video call, rather than face to face
  • Combine regular sales coaching with easy to use tech tools to minimize sales reps frustration

In addition, some training skills will need to be emphasised moving into 2022 including, but not limited to:

  • Asking the right questions with your prospects within 30 mins
  • Handling objections by anticipating them
  • Remaining fluid in your conversation approach
  • Removing the walls and building rapport in a video setting
  • How to get the right stakeholders involved throughout the sales process
  • Upskill and updating your business social profile

Another key trend that will be overt in 2022 is the timeframe of a typical sales cycle. There will be shorter meetings to reduce ‘video call’ fatigue and training to support it. 

This will therefore mean a longer discovery and nurture phase to enable the sales professional to build rapport and stakeholder buy-in from across the prospect’s organization, and nurture the idea and solution.

Feature image credit: Rameez Remy, LinkedIn Sales Solutions and Nathan Dumlao