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The Best Practices for Sales: Adapting to the Fast-Changing Selling Environment

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Diverse, equitable, and inclusive selling organizations are stronger than ever.

In today's rapidly evolving selling environment, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for sales professionals. The landscape of sales is constantly shifting, driven by advancements in technology, changing customer expectations, and emerging market trends. The core of these changes, however, comes from an increase in diversity among customers.

Understanding the needs of a diverse group of customers requires an equally diverse group of sellers. To effectively coach a diverse sales team, sales leaders need to understand the unique qualities of each individual seller. With the power of a diverse sales team, sales leaders can better understand and communicate with their customer base.

To thrive in this dynamic environment, sales teams need to embrace the best practices that empower them to connect with customers, build trust, and close deals effectively.

A survey of 500 B2B sales leaders determined that organizations with leading diverse, equitable, inclusive (DE&I) practices experienced an increase in the average lead-to-opportunity conversion rate. The average jumped to 54% compared to 26% among organizations that were lacking in DE&I practices.

This finding illustrates that diversity brings a richness to the selling team, a necessary factor in sellers truly connecting with the modern stakeholder group. A DE&I focus equips sellers with better communication skills, prevents groupthink, and reflects the modern customer’s priorities. To adapt to this changing landscape, sellers need to adopt the current best practices for sales. First, though, they need to understand how the selling environment is changing.

Download our white paper to learn more about how DE&I Practices are Becoming a Part of Selling

The CFO’s influence is growing in today’s cost-conscious setting

More of the people involved in buying decisions now report to the CFO, giving them more control over purchases.

As economic conditions present new challenges, CFOs are becoming a louder voice in nearly every cover of the business. Moreover, they are re-forecasting often, leading to frequent changes in solution needs, ROI requirements, and willingness to spend. More than ever, the strategy for the customer’s business is being channeled through the CFOs rigorous review of bottom-line profitability.

Best Practices for Sales Professionals:

Sellers need to do more than provide a credible ROI argument, they must also convince the CFO that the ROI can be realized within an acceptable period.

There is a trust gap between customers and sellers – and it’s wide.

Most businesses believe they have more of the customer’s trust than they do. This might be because many organizations are not aware that satisfying the customer’s definition of trust means far more than it did even two years ago.

When a customer group makes a buying decision, they are staking their professional reputation on the outcomes. This increases the amount of trust required from their sellers. Sellers need to clearly communicate the value of their solution to increase trust with customers.  

Best Practices for Sales Professionals:

Building trust means candidly discussing risks while also delivering unilateral value in which useful information is offered, without requesting anything in return.

Negotiating has become more difficult over the last five years

Originally, an opportunity to gain higher price negotiations was an attempt to protect the price of the solution. As interest rates rise, businesses are getting more aggressive in their pursuit of lower costs. As a result, sellers are experiencing more difficulty in the final stages of the sale. The large stakeholder group of today affects two parts of the sale. First, sellers must satisfy more pricing demands. Second, they must do this while also addressing an intensified ROI analysis.

Best Practices for Sales Professionals:

Preserving the value of the sale means entering the negotiation with a clear list of tradable items and their specific value. With this method, the seller always receives something of equal value in return. Learn more about building your sales negotiation skills with Richardson’s Sprint Negotiations training program.

C-Suite Executives are resetting the budget and they are starting at zero

More executives are initiating a zero-based approach to their cost transformation. Business imperatives have changed. Leaders are completely redesigning budgets by clearing the slate and starting fresh.

This approach is necessary because business leaders realize that succeeding in the future will require a new strategy. This strategy must work in a setting characterized by ESG needs, supply chain challenges, and superior customer service. To recognize these needs, sellers need to execute a plan that shows the value of a solution immediately.

Best Practices for Sales Professionals:

Selling to the C-suite means that the seller must prove credibility in the first 5 minutes by showing that they understand the customer’s business, have the right solution, and can marshal the resources needed for implementation.

Business leaders need solutions to help them expand, innovate, and increase demand.

The most compelling solutions are those that have a direct line to the customer’s strategic initiatives. Research analyzing the responses of 1,602 business leaders shows that sellers need to consider how their solution will help the buyer boost demand, access new markets, or improve their own products and services. 

Best Practices for Sales Professionals:

Sellers must show how the value of a solution exceeds that of the status quo and all competing solutions. Value must be proven and measured.

The world of sales is undergoing a profound transformation, with diverse, equitable, and inclusive selling organizations leading the charge. In this dynamic selling landscape, embracing these best practices will set sales professionals apart and enable them to thrive amidst change. By staying adaptable, forward-thinking, and customer-focused, sales teams can navigate the fast-changing environment and achieve long-term success. Click here to set up a meeting with us today to learn how Richardson can equip your sales teams with the ability to adapt to any change in the selling environment.  

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