Selling is different this year...

Plus: why sales reps should make more assumptions

Happy World Greatness Day! Today we celebrate all the great salespeople out there who have mastered the art of convincing people to buy things.

In today’s Follow Up:

  • The 2023 State of Selling 🚨 

  • Sales in the news 🗞️

  • Sales weapon of the day 🛠️

  • Cool jobs at cool companies 📞 

  • Chart of the day 📈 

Sales Fact of The Day

61% of marketers send leads directly to sales, but only 27% of those leads are qualified.

Source: Salesforce

Selling Has Changed in 2023

Salesforce and CRM go together like peanut butter and jelly. You can’t think of one without thinking of the other. After all, their stock ticker is literally $CRM.

Salesforce is used by more than 150,000 companies and is the digital scoreboard for most sales teams.

With all of this access to sales teams, they just finished their 5th annual “State of Sales” study. The study surveyed over 7,700 sales professionals across 38 countries, to understand wtf is going in on sales.

The 26-page report covers all things sales, but as always, your 5ft 11in (can dunk on a 9ft rim), sales bestie is here to tell you everything you need to know in less than 3 minutes.

But before you set the stopwatch, check out this quote from the Salesforce EVP of Sales, on the current sales landscape.

For many of our customers, the past couple of years were all about figuring out how to grow faster. Today, that's changed drastically. We now live in an era of tighter budgets and higher operating margins. The challenge isn't about finding growth, but about maximizing efficiency.

Adam Gilberd, EVP Sales @ Salesforce

Salesforce breaks the report into 4 sections covering the sales rep’s experience and the strategies they’re using to hit quota.

1. Maximizing impact in a challenging environment

This is code for: “Growing revenue is really hard now, so we’re shifting our focus to profitability and doing more with less.”

69% of sales reps say selling is harder right now. Economic factors such as supply chain issues, inflation, and shifting regulations are forcing buyers to tighten budgets and sales leadership to take fewer risks.

Instead of targeting 10x growth, they are concentrating on slower, dependable growth.

Why you should care: To be successful in this economy, you need to adapt. In uncertain times, proven strategies are more reliable than taking big swings on high-risk opportunities.

Some low-risk strategies for b2b sales teams include working closely with other internal teams, cross-selling and upselling existing customers, and improving sales data.

Prioritize the easy wins. Hit home runs in the next market cycle.

2. Meeting buyers where they are

Buyers now expect their sales reps to be Jake from State Farm and show up where they need them.

Where are buyers meeting their reps?

Online → 57% of buyers prefer to engage with companies through digital channels.

The average company is using 10 different sales channels to reach prospects. Top-performing sales teams are engaging with buyers across multiple channels like chat support, online portals, mobile apps, etc.

But adding another channel or increasing online presence isn’t the top priority for sales leaders. It’s cross-functional alignment.

Cross-functional alignment is sales leaders' #1 tactic for driving growth.

Sales teams need to collaborate with sales ops, marketing, CS, etc., to give buyers a smooth experience across every channel.

Why you should care: Buyers need to feel like they are working with one team (not 7 teams within one company). Sales teams need to focus on working closely with every other team involved in the sales process, to ensure the customers aren’t receiving a fragmented experience.

3. Sales Ops is important

Sales operations is the production team behind sales reps.

They’re the behind-the-scenes crew helping you do your job better (but only if you let them).

In 2020, 54% of sales leaders said sales ops were key for their strategy. Now that number is 65%.

A major problem is that reps only spend 28% of their week actually selling. The rest is filled with activities like updating Salesforce, creating proposals, and prospecting.

Sales teams are using an average of 10 different tools to close deals (which is way too many), and 94% of sales orgs want to consolidate their tech stack this year.

Why you should care: Efficient sales teams win. The top sales teams utilize sales ops to do this. Sales ops were ignored when times were easy, but now they’re more important than ever.

4. Sales Teams are under the microscope

Sales teams are turning over faster than Denny’s pancakes.

Nearly 1 in 4 reps are either looking or planning to look for a new job within 12 months.

So how can companies retain their top salespeople?

Salesforce, State of Sales Report

2023 is all about doing more with less. Retaining your top sales reps and empowering them to create more output will separate high-performing sales teams from the average ones.

Why you should care: Coaching, training, and empowering sales reps with the right knowledge and tools needs to be a major area of focus for sales leaders in 2023.

Reps that receive weekly 1v1 coaching are more likely to hit quota, but only 53% of leaders are using coaching tools.

Do you expect to hit quota this year?

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Sales Tip of The Day

Make more assumptions.

Using the line “I assume that xyz…”, will allow your prospect to correct you and set you on the right path.

Example: Let’s say you’re selling HR software and your prospect told you they’re already using a competitor of yours.

You respond with: “I assume you signed a 3-year contract with them, meaning you’ll be renewing in 2026…?”.

If the answer is yes, you now know that it’s not worth putting more time and energy into and can restart the conversation in 2025.

But if the answer is no, you uncovered more information you can use in your pitch.

People naturally want to correct you if you’re wrong, so give them the opportunity to do it.

Sales in the News

  • Daniel Jones (Giants QB) goes undercover as a Hugo Boss Salesman.

  • GTM strategies are changing with the current business landscape, and growth is no longer just a sales & marketing problem.

  • The next era of selling will involve AI-guided nudges.

  • Sales reps should have an emergency fund of 6 months of living expenses.

Sales Weapon of The Day Find the contact information of over 250M leads, and create automated email, phone, and LinkedIn campaigns - all in one platform.

Cool Jobs at Cool Companies

Chart of The Day:

🏢 Offices are still empty 🏢 

Source: Visual Capitalist

Reader Review of The Day ✍️ 

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