This year is shaping up to be a changing and challenging environment for sales.
Economic uncertainty, digital transformation, supply chain disruptions, the Great Resignation, quiet-quitting, remote and hybrid work, sustainability, the metaverse, and customer experience trends are all affecting businesses across the globe in 2023.
Amid so much change, it's hard to know where to focus your sales efforts. To help, we've compiled 23 of our own best sales tactics for 2023.
1. Master virtual selling
Like it or not, virtual selling is here to stay. Across industries and job functions, reports from McKinsey, Gartner, and others agree that virtual is the new normal.
Sellers must go beyond showing up well in virtual sales meetings with the right background, lighting, audio and video quality, and a professional appearance. Sales reps must be prepared to seamlessly shift to selling in the digital environment: collaborating effectively, building relationships and trust, and using virtual tools.
2. Fill your pipeline each week
You must always be looking to add new opportunities to the pipeline, whether that means prospecting every day or reaching out to warm contacts weekly. Make pipeline generation a priority and a regular part of your work routine.
3. Follow up
Perseverance is a key to sales success. Buyers are busy, and it's hard to reach them. Even when buyers have the best intentions and want to buy, you need to reach out often to stay top of mind and on their priority list.
Don't worry about reaching out too often. Most sellers don't reach out often enough.
4. Bring the value
Sellers who bring additional value—over and above the products and services sold—will win more often.
There's a lot of product information online, and buyers know how to find it. What buyers want from sellers is their expertise. They want to know how you can apply your product to their unique situation.
Bring value to every interaction you have with your buyers, from prospecting outreach to negotiation, and you'll experience much greater success.
5. Get curious
A shocking 74% of buyers say sellers don't listen. How can you provide value and help buyers see how your products and solutions will help them if you don't understand their current situation, needs, and desires?
Get curious and ask great questions, then demonstrate how you can help them solve their specific problems and achieve their goals with your help.
6. Make strong cases for buying
ROI justification is more important than ever, especially when buyers are tightening budgets and scrutinizing spending. Work with your buyers to build an ROI case unique to their situation and show them how you'll achieve it together.
7. Set goals
You're much more likely to get to where you want to go when you have clear goals and a path to achieve them.
Maybe you have a quota, but how exactly do you plan to get there? Do you have a certain amount of repeat business you can count on? How many new leads do you need to generate?
The greater the clarity you can get on your goals and the actions you need to take to reach them, the greater chance you'll meet them.
Pro tip: Don't set easy goals you know you'll reach. Set challenging goals and you'll be more motivated to reach them, research has found.
8. Develop an action plan to reach your goals
Goal-setting is important, and so is having a clear path to reach your goals. For action planning, think 4-3-4: Break goals down into quarterly priorities (4 quarters in a year), monthly objectives (3 months in a quarter), and weekly to-do lists (4 weeks in a month). Then track the progress you make on your actions and toward your goals.
9. Run impressive sales conversations
A well-run sales conversation is like a sophisticated dance between the buyer and seller. You must know when to talk, when to listen, when to ask questions, and when to advocate for your solution.
There are no hard and fast rules, but remember RAIN:
- Build Rapport in your conversations
- Uncover buyer Aspirations and afflictions
- Demonstrate the Impact of working with you
- Paint a picture of the New reality (how things have changed for the better) once your solution comes to life
10. Lead a thorough needs discovery
Too often, sellers hear the buyer articulate a need and then jump right to the solution. When you do that, you miss the opportunity to dig into the needs further and uncover wants and desires.
Only 26% of sellers lead effective needs discoveries, according to buyers. Focus there to stand out and develop a solution that addresses the full set of needs.
11. Collaborate with buyers
The best sellers don't only present solutions to buyers but also work with buyers collaboratively to build stronger solutions together. The more you can involve buyers in the process, the more ownership they will feel over seeing it to fruition and working with you to make it happen.
12. Lead the sales process
Know where you are and where you want to go next. Always leave a meeting with a clear next step, and then follow through.
13. Manage your time well
We all start every year with at least 365 days on the calendar. How and where you choose to spend that time is an important consideration.
Determine your pursuit intensity—the amount of time and effort you're willing to invest in each opportunity. Carve out time for activities for your role, such as prospecting or account management, for each day or week (and use a calendar to set aside this time!).
Think about how you want to spend your days for the greatest success and happiness, and then align each day with those things.
14. Do your research
Whether you're reaching out to a new prospect cold, meeting with a buyer for the first time, or engaging in your third conversation in the sales process, always do your research ahead of time.
Get to know the buyer's company and industry. Read about it online. Review the company's annual report. Connect with its employees on LinkedIn. The more you know and can demonstrate knowledge of their situation, the more impressive you will be.
15. Address and overcome objections
Do you think buyer objections are a bad thing? If so, think again. Objections can be an indication of interest and intent to buy. It's important to overcome sales objections in the right way. My advice: listen, understand, respond, and confirm you've satisfied the objection.
16. Make the most of digital
Send value-packed emails to prospects and buyers. Update your LinkedIn profile and connect with buyers on social channels. Create digital sales rooms to share content and consolidate information in one place. Your buyers are online. Meet them where they are.
17. Attend to the risk
Purchasing is inherently risky. What if the product/service doesn't work? What if it takes longer than we think? What if it doesn't achieve what we think or expect?
Buyers consider a flurry of what-if questions as they evaluate your solution. To minimize the risk involved in choosing you, face those what-ifs head-on.
18. Don't give up
A lot of sales success is determined by your hustle, passion, and intensity. B2B sales—especially complex, with long sales cycles—feature many decision-makers and high dollar amounts, and they are not for the faint of heart. Stick with it, stay persistent, and remember that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
19. Build relationships and rapport
People buy from people they like. In the virtual world, relationships are harder to build. Take the time to build rapport with buyers and foster your relationships. Your efforts will bear fruit in 2023 and beyond.
20. Build sales opportunity plans and execute them
How are you going to win your most important sales this year? Who are the decision-makers involved? What role does each play? What are their various needs? How can you go above and beyond to outsell the competition to win?
Once you have a plan to win your most important opportunities, execute it. Your win rate will rise.
21. Prioritize growing your current accounts
When selling in a downturn, you need to nurture the relationships and business you already have. It's much easier (and cost-effective) to expand current business than land new logos.
Actively reach out to each of your accounts to gain a better understanding of what's important to them today, what their strategic priorities are, and what they're looking to achieve in 2023. By opening the dialogue, you may open doors to new opportunities.
22. Become a source of insight and advice for buyers
Top performers are 1.9 times more likely to excel at inspiring buyers to reach out for ideas and advice. Those sellers are seen as an authority and a trusted adviser, and buyers seek their point of view. It takes time to build that type of relationship and reputation, but once you have it you'll find more sales success.
23. Stay focused
Distractions are everywhere. If you've followed the other tactics above (you've defined your goals, have an action plan in place, and you've even calendared your time), but when you begin the task at hand you get lost down the rabbit hole of research or you're sidetracked by an email response, or the phone rings, or the dog barks, you remember something else you need to do...
Those who stay focused always have a greater likelihood of reaching their goals.
Pro tip: Lost focus? It's OK, we all do. Don't beat yourself up, just say to yourself, "3, 2, 1... stop," and get back to the task at hand.
* * *
2023 may be packed with challenges, but you can overcome them. Don't let the latest trends dictate your success. Follow the tactics in this article, and create your own.
More Resources on Sales Tactics
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