In 2022, we saw a record number of emerging trends making themselves known in sales: the rise of artificial intelligence, a shift to virtual selling, the automation of certain sales processes, and more.
A year ago, we thought that the pandemic was the biggest challenge we had to face. Today, we’re staggering over the abyss of economic uncertainty, and if you’re worried about your sales teams hitting their targets this year, you’re not alone.
Your sellers have a lot on their mind, common concerns range from how they can achieve quota in the face of a potential recession, how budgetary constraints will impact the accounts they’re working on, and how they can maximise those precious moments they have in front of a customer amidst a sea of competition.
2023 is forecasted to be a tough year, but those who come prepared will have it significantly easier than those that don’t. It’s time to revamp your sales strategy to keep your business on track and afloat. This time, it’s a must.
In our recent European State of Sales and Marketing Alignment report, we interviewed over 750 sales and marketing professionals in the UK, France and Germany. 58% of the respondents identified the cost of living crisis as one of the top factors affecting their ability to hit their targets in the next 12 months.
Now, more than ever, leaders need to be proactively helping their teams to overcome challenges head-on. Some may still be hoping for normality to resume, but smart leaders have already adapted strategies to empower their teams and prepare them for our new reality.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top sales trends you can adopt in 2023 to stay ahead of the curve and arm your teams with the resources they need to win.
Continuous Training for Sellers
A critical part of the role of a sales leader is to ensure your sales team is provided with the right training that will prepare them to optimise their performance and productivity to be successful in those precious moments in front of the customer. Some sales leaders offer training as a lengthy one-time event, however, sellers can feel overwhelmed by this, making it difficult for them to devote their full attention to the training and embrace the learnings when their focus is on being in front of the customer and driving sales.
One-time training is an easily forgettable experience and is insufficient when it comes to sales leaders trying to build a successful salesforce, negatively impacting your business’s revenue. More than half (54%) of UK sales leaders identify engagement and retention of training as one of their biggest training challenges.
Continuous training, however, allows the information to be spread out in bite-sized chunks, making it easier for salespeople to digest what they learn and put it into practice effectively. This puts less pressure on sellers as they are not overloaded with information, but also keeps the momentum going with regard to productivity and workflow.
Continuous training gives sellers the ability to constantly develop their knowledge and keep pace with the customer’s ever-changing demands, ensuring every salesperson is your best salesperson.
Gartner predicts 80% of buyers want a digital-first buying experience from 2025. Yet, over a third (37%) of salespeople say they aren’t confident working in a digital selling environment to the same success as selling face-to-face. Successful sellers will need to match this by mastering digital sales engagement channels- being able to build their own digital sales rooms, recording video demos, audio descriptions and customer surveys and diagnostics.
The lone wolf with a telephone (or email account) will no longer be sufficient. Salespeople must adapt to the needs of their prospects to build a more tailored experience and stay ahead of the competition.
Unifying Your Techstack to Organise Your Content Efficiently
Streamlining your techstack is a key component when considering the customer’s experience, and the ability of a business to scale effectively. When a business’s techstack has fully integrated architecture, it allows for data and sales content to be stored in a unified perspective, instead of being distributed in silos across a number of different applications.
Technology can help salespeople to close deals more efficiently by speeding up the process so that they can quickly move on and engage with new leads. This is because all the content is organised and stored in a single location, enabling every seller to increase their productivity.
Unorganised content is a salesperson’s nightmare. Salespeople often find themselves sieving through different platforms, files and folders to find content, which is demotivating and time-consuming. Time is the most precious resource for all businesses, wasted time can be the difference between securing a quality lead and not.
When content is too difficult to find, sellers often settle for using content that isn’t up-to-date and also doesn’t resonate with customers. This is a frustrating process for both the sales and marketing teams and can often cause unnecessary friction between the two.
The most efficient way to equip sellers with the ability to find content quickly is by adopting a single source of truth. When content is stored in one place that is accessible to both sellers and marketers, this will help build a stronger relationship with prospects and the time spent by sellers searching for content will decrease dramatically. When sellers and marketers are singing from the same song sheet, it creates an efficient workflow that drives revenue from the bottom up.
Think of your business as a tree, and the roots as your SDRs. In order for your tree to consume as many nutrients as possible from the ground, the roots must spread far and wide. This is the same for SDRs when they are prospecting. If they aren’t branching out and using a single channel, they will limit their ability to maximise their reach and your business will not be able to grow.
Sales teams need to be more than an email factory to win in 2023. They need to be competent at building out a social presence, sharing valuable customer insight, and following this up across email, video, voice and social media. Prospecting through one channel constrains the opportunity to maximise a salesperson to hit their quota, ultimately hurting your business.
Multi-channel prospecting contributes to more touchpoints for prospects to be reminded of your brand, as well as increasing the opportunity for them to learn more about your product. Prospects are people, and people use different mediums to engage and learn about a product. Businesses must utilise SDRs as the connection point by utilising different channels as an outreach strategy. Multi-channel prospecting enables salespeople to adapt to the needs of their prospects and ultimately build a greater relationship between them and your business.
Personalise Your Content
Content personalisation enables sellers to deliver content to customers and prospects that they want to see.
Personalising content is not one-size-fits-all. It can range from simply adding the prospect’s name, to creating a whole new presentation deck, depending on the specific scenario. The key to personalisation is ensuring your sellers have the tools to quickly personalise content when it’s at the right time. With Highspot, salespeople are able to personalise content from multiple source files to craft the perfect story for every interaction by designing engaging experiences with custom landing pages, micro-portals, and email templates.
“Our sellers can easily find the most updated and approved assets with the ability to create their own customised buyer experiences.” Said Jackie Lynch, Content Marketing Manager at Guidebook.
Content personalisation enables sellers to deliver content to customers and prospects that they want to see. When content is tailored to specific needs it creates a more human connection and as a result, greater customer satisfaction. With effective content personalisation, your sellers will have a competitive edge to deliver the perfect customer experience, every time.
Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
Misalignment between sellers and marketers means exactly what it says on the tin. It stems from a lack of communication and coordination between the teams and ultimately hurts businesses’ revenue. 71% of sales and marketing professionals agree that a lack of alignment between their teams has had a negative impact on revenue. When results aren’t showing, it can often result in friction between the two teams and creates an unpleasant environment where the teams don’t value their counterpart’s contributions.
When the sales and marketing teams are aligned, however, it is the key ingredient for any business to gain a powerful competitive advantage and be successful. Alignment allows sellers and marketers to be on the same wavelength and work together as a unified team to achieve their goals. According to Forrester Research, companies that align sales and marketing teams achieve 24% faster growth rates and 27% faster profit growth, proving sales and marketing alignment is essential to sales success.
Bridging the gap between sales and marketing will give your business the confidence to thrive in 2023 and achieve its revenue goals.
Take Advantage of The Trends
It’s no doubt that 2023 will be a challenging year for all of us, which is why it is so important for businesses of all sizes to stay ahead of the curve and prepare their salesforce for whatever the next year has in store for them. These trends will equip your business with a high-performing sales team with the tools and ability to constantly hit quota and boost revenue.
To discover more about how to equip your business with salespeople that can deliver consistent results in 2023, download the European State of Sales and Marketing Alignment report.