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Four Sales Growth Strategies Sellers Need for a Volatile 2023

Sales performance improvement

Businesswoman leading informal meeting with colleagues at office workstation using sales growth strategies.

May 11, 2023Blog

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As we move into a year defined by uncertainty, sellers must develop agile sales growth strategies to be successful. Writer William Gibson famously remarked that “the future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.” The same could be said for sales opportunities in 2023 – they are here, but they will be concentrated in the hands of sellers who have developed the skills to navigate the uncertain economy of 2023.

So, what are these skills?

There are four sales growth strategies that will be critical for success. Sellers need:

  1. A deal qualification plan for identifying high-value opportunities that can be won
  2. A negotiation strategy to ensure deals get over the line without concessions
  3. A customer retention blueprint to retain existing relationships

  4. A method for understanding the customer’s plans for an uncertain year

Here we show how sellers can quickly develop each of these four skills and apply them when they are needed most.

1.Developing Hyper-focused Deal Qualification

Sellers need to focus their efforts on buyers who are serious about buying. They need to identify those opportunities that will allow them to access the decision-makers early in the pursuit. Without early access to this group, the seller cannot collaborate with stakeholders on the buying vision. This step has never been more important because businesses continue to reevaluate their strategy as economic factors change.

By understanding the customer’s core strategy, the seller can answer two crucial deal qualification questions. The first question is, what level of business impact can they offer the account? The solution must directly connect to the customer’s core strategy. Additionally, the seller must be able to articulate that connection clearly to the buyers.

The second question is, what is the value of the account to the seller? The answer to this question must be based on an honest and accurate assessment of the stakeholder’s willingness to buy and the financial value of the opportunity.

The longer it takes to answer these two questions the more time and resources are spent on inert deals.

Learn more about how to qualify the most successful deals with Richardson’s Reviewing Opportunities Training programme.

2.Building Negotiation Skills to Overcome Price Resistance

Supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressure persist. In this environment customers are bringing more scrutiny to their spending. Sellers need to be prepared with a clear framework for handling intensified negotiations.

Doing so means being able to quantify the value of the solution in a way that is ultra-relevant to the customer’s needs. At the same time, sellers must have the exceptional EQ skills needed to maintain their relationship with the customer throughout the ups and downs of a tense negotiation process.

Moreover, sellers will need the ability to up tier, because in a challenging economy, purchasing decisions often consolidate and move up. That is, fewer people have the authority to spend. This smaller sphere often consists of people that are higher on the ladder. Once sellers access these stakeholders, they must be equipped with a clear understanding of their value drivers.

3.Getting Proactive About Customer Retention

Existing customers cannot be counted on as a source of future revenue. These customers, like all others, may reduce their spending to weather economic challenges. Therefore, the seller has a responsibility to create a new sales strategy based on customer retention. Sellers must initiate conversations with these customers. They must understand where they can provide value in a context that is likely much different than the context in which the relationship started.

Learn more about the critical structure of sales conversation and how to build a powerful roadmap to success

It is easy to mistake a silent customer as one that is content. In fact, often the reverse is true; the customer is quiet because they are struggling with internal priorities. When the seller becomes proactive about contacting the customer, they have a chance to learn what those new priorities are and why they matter to the stakeholders. This information offers a valuable, early read on emerging needs. Using proactive customer retention conversations builds the customer’s awareness of the seller’s wider range of solutions.

4.Asking Recession Impact Questions

A possible recession will impact every customer differently and to different degrees. Sellers must update their questioning strategy to understand how a recession might change the customer’s business plans.

For example, a seller might ask how a recession would change the profitability of different parts of their business. They might also ask if a recession would create unexpected opportunities for them. It might also be important to know if a recession will accelerate the customer’s adoption of new processes or technology that were originally long-term plans.

When sellers ask these questions, they will almost always learn that the customer’s business is undergoing a transformation of some kind. It is the seller’s responsibility to understand how deep that transformation is, what new challenges it has surfaced, and what new opportunities it will bring.

While 2023 continues to change the buying and selling landscape, sellers can use these sales growth strategies for success now and in the future. Learn more about how your sales team can increase their negotiation skills with Sprint Negotiations Training Programme.

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