Meeting Sales Goal for 2023: What Trends to Watch
CEO Insights: Market, Capability, and Learning and Enablement Trends for 2023 and beyond
As the President and CEO of Richardson Sales Performance, I have the pleasure of working with the world’s top sales leaders. In doing so, I have the opportunity to get a rare preview of the challenges they anticipate in the coming months.
To meet sales goals for 2023, a series of fast-emerging market trends will require sellers and sales managers to develop a new set of capabilities and enablement. Meeting these challenges means focusing on a small but crucial set of capabilities based on the current market trends, capability trends, and learning and enablement trends outlined below.
Purpose-Driven Buyers are Making DE&I a Priority
Millennials are ascending to leadership roles. This trend is clear in research from Forrester, showing that 73% of millennials are involved in buying decisions. This trend is changing selling because millennials want to see their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) principles reflected in the solutions they purchase and, in the sales teams presenting them. Success means understanding the buyer’s DE&I priorities and showing how the solution supports those strategies.
Burnout is Leading to Increased Turnover and Lower Productivity
Employees continue to search for the right work/life balance as fatigue from the last three years sets in. As a result, many sellers are moving to other opportunities or even careers. This development has increased turnover in many selling organisations. Therefore, sales leaders are seeking ways to use capability development explicitly as a tool to drive engagement and retention. Leaders are also rethinking the onboarding process because tenure usually equates to productivity in most sales teams.
Organisations Seek a Return on their Sales Tech Stack Investments
Sales leaders want to know how they can maximize the value of their investment. Doing so means finding the next 10%. That is, leaders are focused on driving even more incremental gains from existing resources. For many, doing so will mean pushing their sales tech stack to support the development of capabilities needed to close the gaps that prevent a win rather than just provide data on activities performed.
Negotiation Skills are Critical Amid Inflationary Pressure
Sellers cannot reach their sales goals for 2023 without strong negotiation skills. They need to be effective in this area for two reasons. First, they must be able to present existing customers with price increases without losing the relationship. Second, sellers must be able to use negotiation skills to protect the value of the sale as buyers work within tighter budgets. Sellers need to have a clear framework for navigating the negotiation phase of a sale.
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Sellers Need to Gain Efficiency with a Stronger Opportunity Qualification
As deals become harder to win, sellers will need to be ruthless in determining which opportunities are worth the resources needed to succeed. Early qualification is about having the ability to gain early access to those with decision-making power in the buying organization. When this access is prevented for too long, the seller needs to end the pursuit. Better opportunity qualification also means determining if the prospect’s needs are a fit for the solution early in the pursuit and determining if the ROI of the deal is sufficient.
Effective Business Writing Skills are Needed to Bring the Buyer and Seller Closer
Gaining the customer’s interest and expressing the differentiation of the solution through writing is critical and represents a new competitive field. The seller must present the most important ideas in the first sentences. Following this, the body of the piece must represent a flow in which one idea leads to another. Finally, the conclusion must make the message memorable by illustrating the contrast between the customer’s business with the solution and without it.
Learning & Enablement Trends
Learning Must Be Delivered Exactly When and Where it is Needed
Leaders need to be agile so they can quickly deploy learning at the point of need. Just-in-time modular learning will increasingly become the preferred approach, as it builds more than skills. It builds morale because the sales team sees that the leadership recognises a need. Giving sellers a boost when and where they need it will go a long way toward easing the burnout and loss of productivity cited earlier.
Leaders Need to Distill More from Data and Analytics
Both sales leaders and sellers need ways to make better use of existing data and analytics. Sales leaders need to develop and use data to better understand where coaching is needed. Sellers need to be able to independently use data to determine what specific actions are needed given their stage of the pursuit. Doing so means using CRM platforms as more than a management tool. Instead, sellers need a responsive system that prompts them to apply specific skills to achieve key milestones critical to winning the sale.
The Performance Journey is Becoming an Ongoing Process
An effective performance journey clearly identifies the steps necessary to change selling behaviours over time. Such a journey must deliver a sequence of connected experiences that link to one another. The seller must advance from their baseline to an awareness of skill gaps. From here they must learn concepts in theory, put them into context, and practice them before finally applying them. To eventually reach mastery, this journey must be supported by tools and managers.
The sales landscape continues to shift in 2023, accentuating the need for an agile approach to selling. Agile selling practices equip sales professionals with the skills to adapt and succeed in a quickly changing industry. Richardson’s Sprint Selling programme empowers sellers with the confidence to know what to do, when, how, and why. Download our programme brochure today to learn more about how Sprint Selling gives sales teams the ability to embrace volatility and use it as a competitive advantage.
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