Creativity, advanced automation, value-based selling, and seven more sales trends inside
We’re not the same people we were a year ago. Back then, we thought that the pandemic was the biggest challenge we had to face. Today, we’re staggering over the abyss of the upcoming economic recession.
Right now, we’re going through what might be the last days of calm before the storm. Yet, nonetheless, we haven’t been staying still for the whole year.
In 2022, we saw an unprecedented number of emerging trends making their way into sales: the rise of AI, the increasing importance of creative sales, the automation of various sales processes, and more.
If you missed your opportunity to be the first mover in 2022, here comes another chance to revamp your sales strategy and keep your business on track and afloat. This time, it’s a must.
2023 is forecasted to be a tough year, but those who come prepared will have it significantly easier than those that don’t.
Read this article till the end to find out about the hottest sales trends in 2023 and pick which you’d like to pioneer.
Creativity is the new sales hack
One of the biggest sales trends in the upcoming 2023 is creativity. Yes, we know that sounds vague and not actionable at all, but that’s the whole point.
We’re still dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and the global lockdowns it brought along… But even worse than that, we’re going through extreme inflation, a war in the middle of Europe, and an upcoming global recession.
Yeah, that’s not what we dreamt of when we cheered the “Roaring Twenties” on New Year's Eve 2020.
But here we are, going through dark times. Let’s not sugarcoat it: our economy is declining faster than we can adapt to.
If you don’t want to waste all your money and effort on staying afloat by working increasingly harder, you should consider working smarter. You need to take risks and get the first mover’s advantage if you want to thrive and not (barely) strive.
To do that, you need to come up with unconventional techniques, methodologies, and approaches. You need to wow leads more than the world around shocks them.
We know, it’s an arduous task — but with our unconventional ways to get a prospect’s attention in a cold email, you’ll be more prepared for whatever comes next.
Remember. There’s a thin line between silly and different when it comes to creativity. At the end of the day, your creative efforts must remain respectful and backed by research. Instead of rolling out a scandalous blockbuster with added shock-factor, identify your target audience and create something they’d appreciate. Any creative ideas need to resonate.
Implement sales automation
Some trends are so trendy that they just become the norm. An example of this is sales automation.
A common misconception says that automation loses from creativity and personalisation as you try to scale the process, but this isn’t the case. It actually fosters creativity as you delegate more, laborious routine tasks to dedicated software. You have more time to spend on brainstorming and can come up with more creative ways to sell your products and better personalise your offers. A win-win!
Moreover, sales automation helps to reduce sales friction as it removes incompetent agents and manual data entry from the equation. Regardless of what the customer’s request is — the answer will be right in front of them, in a matter of seconds. That’s possible thanks to the unified database for all the customer information and the elimination of flawed or incomplete data and passing the customer from one sales rep to another until someone is qualified to answer their question.
The best way to automate your sales process is to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system. It allows you to automate your outreach, set drip campaigns, visualise your sales pipelines, and manage them more efficiently.
You just have to choose your CRM system carefully, finding the one that offers the most appropriate functionality to match your business' workflows. For instance, NetHunt CRM offers a marvellous ‘Workflows' feature to take a leap from a CRM system to a dedicated sales-growth hub. It automates webform capture, drip campaigns, and contact-email linking. Algorithms and notifications make life easier because sometimes working hard is too much hard work.
Still, it isn’t just a CRM system integration that can help you automate the sales process. Everything related to the sales process optimisation with the software and/or hardware means falls under this category.
Implement value-based selling
It sounds counterintuitive, but the best tip for boosting sales in 2023 is to stop trying to sell! Yes, even when we’re on the verge of an economic recession.
Gone are the days when you could shove an offer into a prospect’s face and expect them to accept it just because it’s ‘an offer they can’t refuse’. In 2023, customers have every right to refuse offers left and right — with everything becoming increasingly more expensive and their purchasing power declining, they have to be cautious about what they spend their money on.
Of course, you could base your sales strategy on giving out discounts to those in need. But don’t think that you’re exempt from the global economic crisis. Giving discounts like there’s no tomorrow will likely send you bankrupt before anything else.
So, in 2023, before you resort to changing prices, you should change your leads’ perception of your offers. Implement a value-based selling strategy.
Too often, prospects shut down an offer without even giving you a chance to elaborate on it because they think the price is too high. Value-based selling overcomes this problem. Identify your prospects’ needs and wants before tailoring your offer to them. Entry-level sales reps sell features; advanced ones sell the outcomes their product creates for the buyer. Make the offer appealing to leads by highlighting the benefits they’re going to get out of it! Know your product and understand why it works for customers.
➡️ Learn more about value selling and other modern sales methodologies in our article.
Social selling is essential
The rise in social selling further proves ‘obvious selling’ is dying out. If you want to increase sales, you should be delicate and unintrusive. Social selling as a concept has been in heavy rotation for a couple of years now. However, if in a previous couple of years it was merely advisable to wrap your head around the concept, in 2023 social selling is a must-practice for your business to stay afloat.
Instead of trying to sell your product right here and now, you should plant the idea into your prospects’ heads and keep developing it. Move into their heads by always being there for them, answering their questions, and showcasing expertise online. When they’re looking for a product to buy, you should be the first business that comes to their mind.
If you have a business profile on any social media platform, you’re already socially selling. If you’re not in control of it; not employing the correct strategies, social media activity can do more harm than good to sales. Increasingly, businesses get in on the trend and sell socially on purpose. Unless you match their effort, they easily win your customers.
In 2023, aim to dedicate at least half an hour a day to be active on social media: Write posts, repost insightful market research with expert commentaries, like posts, and leave valuable comments.
One of the biggest social selling trends in 2023 is personal brand development. CEOs, managers, and other representatives of a company should work toward establishing authority on social media, especially LinkedIn. They should gain the target audience’s trust, attract their attention, and organically direct them towards products. The most helpful social selling techniques in 2023 are...
- Social listening through social media monitoring.
- Posting relevant bits to your prospects' content feeds.
- LinkedIn groups, Telegram chats, and Slack channels.
Customer success over customer support
Another way to convince customers to make a purchasing decision is by persuading them that you’re genuinely interested in their business success. Instead of focusing on outstanding customer support, you should prioritise providing a more positive, holistic customer experience. Shifting your focus towards customer success lays the foundation for this. The importance of implementing a customer success strategy has been multiplied by the change in customer priorities caused by the pandemic and the upcoming economic crisis.
It’s no longer enough to produce a high-quality product and promote it to the right target audience. Customers are more demanding than ever before. Unless they’re one hundred percent sure the solution they invest their money in will work for them, they aren’t going to settle for it. You must be the perfect fit for your customers to stay loyal to your brand and keep generating sales.
32% of customers claim they’d walk away from a brand they love after just one negative experience.
You aren’t waiting for a problem so you can showcase your expertise and solve it promptly. Instead, you’re proactively reaching out to customers to educate them about your product and how it benefits their business. In 2023, the role of a sales rep and a customer success manager is to personalise a business’s product offer in a way that appeals to the customer’s specific workflows and processes.
In 2023, increase the number of demos and walk-throughs your team conducts. Show customers how to reach their full potential, getting the most out of your product. Enrich your communication strategy with assessment calls to review your customers’ accounts and suggest improvements.
Another sales trend that’s going to be huge in 2023 is relationship-building associated with proper customer success.
Like never before, you need to be attentive to your customers' needs and asks. You need to regularly reach out and check in with them to understand how the economy is treating them.
Look for possible solutions if they’re showing signs of churn and struggle to keep purchasing from you due to economic hardships. Giving in and discounting your product until they can afford the full price will not do you much harm but will show your customer that you genuinely care about them.
At the end of the day, the recession isn’t forever. It’s going to end someday, but the robust relationship you’ve built with your customers will stay — and having a brand advocate like that is absolutely priceless!
Bring your teams closer together
Sales is no longer just about the Sales team. The customer journey has moved into the digital plane, and all departments have a step in the path to conversion. Customer Support provides support to customers, the IT guys keep an eye on the website and other channels of communication, the sales team manages the sales pipeline and customer relationships, and Marketing - well, they do the rest of it!
Your marketing and sales teams can work wonders together. Provide value to your customers and boost your conversion rate by giving them what they want. Who has a better understanding of the needs and desires of the customers than the marketing team? They monitor the market and stay up-to-date with the latest trends, so they know everything about what makes your prospects’ heads tingle. It wouldn’t hurt Sales to consult them before you reach out with an offer to your next prospect.
The best way to ensure your sales and marketing teams are always on the same page is to implement a CRM system. Both departments will have access to all the relevant information about the leads, their position in the sales pipeline, and which marketing activities are needed to move forward.
Multi-channel, personalised experiences
The year 2022 proved that buying and selling processes are transitioning into the digital world at the speed of light. Some deals are already happening in the Metaverse, duh!
A large percentage of the buyer’s journey is now independent due to the ready availability of huge amounts of information to them. As a result, it’s impossible to predict exactly when a buyer will enter the funnel; it can happen at any stage. On top of that, buyers are no longer tied to a single channel.
Salespeople need to take this into account when developing their sales strategy for 2023. Different buyers have different preferences, which means they can’t expect the same approach to work for everybody.
Set up a wide range of different channels to serve buyers so that they can choose whichever they prefer best. You need to ensure consistency of customer experience, regardless of the channel each customer chooses. You should be able to provide the choice of switching different channels without losing any information for a seamless buying experience. To do so, it’s necessary to experiment with many different promotional, distribution, and purchase channels. Try one at a time.
➡️ Learn how to maximise the impact at each customer touchpoint in this article.
On top of that, you need to ensure to integrate each channel with a dedicated database. Try a CRM system to collect and organise all interactions with individual leads across channels. A great option to consider is our recent Intercom integration, check it out here!
Video for sales
An image is worth a thousand words. The standard for videos is 24 frames per second, so you can imagine how much information a short video clip can communicate! International lockdowns have sent the world into a global video-craze: Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. Images flash in front of our eyes faster than ever, and we’re getting used to it.
In 2023, leverage video and step away from long text content to communicate the value of your offer. The year 2021 saw video make its grand entrance into the world of sales, and it’s here to stay. For example, for MediaValet, the introduction of videos into their sales process meant they cut their sales cycle by half! There are different ways in which you can incorporate videos into your sales process...
- A subject line that contains the word “video” is 8x more likely to be opened.
- Video tracking gives insight into how much of content viewers watch or skip.
- It helps your follow-ups stand out, which ties with the trend for creativity.
Don’t invest in strategies you can’t vouch for
Every other year we’d predict a bizarre new sales trend everyone would be head over heels about. And — just like any other fan of growth and innovation — we’d recommend hopping on the trend and seeing where it takes you. Cutting-edge businesses are the best kind, right?
Well, yeah. That would be the case any year but in 2023.
Unfortunately, this year, you won’t be able to take wild guesses and shots in the dark. To keep your business alive no matter what, you want to have a reliable emergency fund and not blow it on something with a laughable ROI.
In 2023, all your sales initiatives and decisions need to be data-driven. So, it’s essential that you turn CRM updates into a team habit to keep your data clean and reliable and encourage your team to put together regular sales reports.
You need to know exactly what is a waste of time and money and what is a great sales practice that needs to be scaled and replicated.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking over
You can’t ignore the importance of forecasting and analysis in the sales process. To some extent, it can be considered the backbone of sales. Sales teams must conduct a thorough analysis of metrics to justify the choice of their strategies and assess their current performance.
In 2023, analysis promises to become easier, more accurate, and significantly less time-consuming. Step by step, AI is taking over every aspect of our lives; sales analytics is no exception. Sales forecasts formed with the help of AI-powered software can boast enhanced precision, protecting you from the risk of losing demand on the market. Almost every AI-powered product offers insight that can tell you which activities perform well and which ones need to be altered.
Some of the sales tasks that can be improved through the use of AI include...
- Clients buying trends, data collection, and interpretation.
- Dissemination of suggestions to customers based on recent purchases.
- Buying and selling trend forecasting and planning.
A conversational customer experience
Not to say that cold calling is a thing of the past, because you still can do wonders with a bit of good old cold calling if you have your ways. But… It's definitely getting old. In 2023, businesses are improving sales with the help of live chat and chatbots!
This is a direct continuation of the previous trend. Conversational customer experience is closely connected to the rising popularity of AI in sales. A conversational customer experience implies better personalisation of communication through an ongoing business to customer conversation. If you know the history between you and your customers, you can offer them better solutions!
52% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases if the company offers support via live chat.
Moreover, 79% of companies say that live chat has had positive results for sales and revenue, with 47% of consumers would be open to making a purchase completely from a chatbot.
- 76% of B2B buyers find help speaking to someone in-person or on the phone.
- Around 15% want to speak in-person with a repeat company.
- Only 4% of buyers prefer to always communicate digitally.
Source: Finances Online and McKinsey
Therefore when implementing a conversational customer experience, you need to ensure that you balance out digital communication with human one.
Conclusions from sales trends 2023
“Competition drives innovation, but so does the aftermath of a worldwide crisis.”
We have a bone to pick with whoever is writing the scenario for the grand show our life is because this was the conclusion we made the last year when predicting the sales trends for 2022.
Little did we know coronavirus-related economic hardships were merely a warmup before something even more detrimental.
It’s obvious that we’re about to step into a challenging era — but you shall not worry! Where one business sees threats, another sees opportunities.
It’s up to you whether your company will be at the front and centre of implementing new strategies or not.
And remember, you don’t have to adopt every sales trend there is; there are plenty to choose from. Opt for trends that work best for you and enjoy the benefits of being a cutting-edge business that thrives through the economic downturn.
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