One of Aaron’s key sales trends for 2023 is buyer centricity. Sales leaders have a tendency to view things from a seller’s perspective, and often neglect to see things through the eyes of the buyer, particularly within Saas.
Linkedin’s State of Sales 2022 report revealed that the skills that buyers want to see in a seller are completely at odds with the skills that sales managers are looking for in salespeople they employ.
Sales leaders are looking at the years of experience a seller has and how many targets they’ve hit – a buyer is more concerned with soft skills, knowledge of the product, and an understanding of the challenges they’re facing.
The role of a salesperson in 2023, compared to 15-20 years ago, has changed dramatically. Salespeople tend to get involved much later in the process.
The influencing and awareness stages of the buyer journey have usually already happened by the time the buyer first speaks to a sales person so they have a smaller part to play in that process.
This is why in 2023, industry expertise has become an essential skill that buyers are craving from sellers. They want the seller to have an in-depth understanding of the problems that are unique to their industry, and be able to acutely articulate how their product solves that problem.
Tackling buyer indecision
According to the book The Jolt Effect by Matt Dixon, 40-60% of your pipeline is just never going to buy, and this is mostly down to buyer indecision.
This indecision isn’t driven by status quo, or by the prospect deciding what they’re doing at the moment is better, it’s a fear of messing up. They’re petrified about signing a contract and the adoption of the product not working, or the implementation not working, and their name being on the contract.
Understand the emotions of the buyer
Most sellers understand that buyers want to be reassured that they’re making a good decision and a sound investment when buying a product. What many don’t realize is that what they’re looking for goes beyond ROI justifications, case studies and ROI calculators.
95% of purchasing is emotional, but the focus of salespeople is on the rational, logical parts of selling. Buyers want to have confidence in themselves and in the decision they’re making – appealing to the buyer’s emotions should be on your radar as a key 2023 sales trend.
Speaking of appealing to the emotions of the buyer – video outreach can be a fantastic way to humanize yourself and get your personality across.
On top of that, the statistics around it are staggering – 68% of people will watch a business related video if it’s under one minute. In comparison, just 24% of people will even open a cold sales email, and even fewer will fully read or absorb the content.
Video can be used throughout the sales process and not just in the early stages – it can help with stakeholder alignment to send a short video to all the stakeholders within a buyer group, rather than trying to get everyone in the same room or even on the same call.
The success of video is partly down to the novelty of it – it helps you stand out from the crowd and gets you that extra bit of attention. This will likely wear off in the next few years, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the most of the novelty while it lasts! Aaron predicts video outreach is going to be a prominent 2023 sales trend.
Strategy, not tactics
The sales tactics that we often see going viral on Linkedin – cold call openers, email subject lines, etc. – tend to have very little impact on sales results, because they focus on such a small part of the process.
The main effect they have is that buyers are inundated with emails with identical subject lines until the next piece of advice starts making the rounds. Truly valuable advice doesn’t tend to go viral on social media, because it involves more work than just using a particular magic phrase.
The focus should be on an overarching strategy that places the buyer’s interests at the center. The strategy of an SDR in 2023 should be to educate the customer on as many problems and challenges as you can, and to help the customer as much as you can. Your overriding objectives and goals should all revolve around those two pillars.
Is cold calling obsolete?
58% of the C level execs said they would take a cold call, which is quite astounding especially when you consider that email response rates are so low.
One of the biggest barriers to cold calling in 2023 is simply access – people are hard to get hold of reliably with a mixture of home and office working, but that doesn’t make cold calling obsolete.
On the plus side, familiarizing the buyer with your name and your face prior to the first cold phone call has never been easier thanks to Linkedin.
You can connect and chat with buyers, comment on their posts, and send them relevant content to show them that you understand their needs and you can help them to solve their problems.
Aaron’s top tip: Knowledge and expertise
What’s Aaron’s biggest piece of advice for sales in 2023?
“Become an industry expert monster”
Your goal for this year should be that any time someone talks to you about your industry, they learn something and get value from the conversation.
From business acumen to the way buyers buy and the challenges in the market, learn as much as possible about it so that you can understand your buyer better than anyone else.
Challenge and educate your buyers, impress them by knowing more than them, because they want someone who they can trust to help them overcome the challenges they’re up against.
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