5 sales trends to watch for 2023
The key trends you can’t ignore if you want to be ready for the 2022 sales market.
By Donny Kelwig, Contributing Writer
Last updated January 4, 2023
We’re well into 2022, and, just like last year, sales are in a unique place. Buyers continue to work remotely, online sales increase, and the pandemic has left companies on edge.
Despite everything, your company’s goal for the coming year is probably the same as always: to grow and increase sales revenue. To do that, you’ll need to be more informed than ever about buyer behavior, recent trends in selling (including B2B sales), and trends in sales management.
In this piece, we cover the five most important sales trends for you to watch as we all move into 2022.
1. Buyers are more informed than ever before
It’s 2022: Over 90 percent of consumers research products online before purchasing. With this in mind, the priorities of sales representatives need to shift to keep up. Buyers already know the what about your products and company. What they need from your sales reps is the why. If your product is approximately the same price and quality as company B and C’s, why should buyers choose you?
In today’s market, a lot of brands produce high-value, low-cost products. As a result, buyers are faced with an overwhelming amount of choices and need to narrow down their options before making a purchase. When this happens, non-product aspects of a business start to stand out. How are you interacting with your buyers? How are you incentivizing repeat buyers? And, most importantly, are you treating each buyer as an individual entity, or are you generalizing your interactions?
According to a study by Forrester Research, only 15 percent of clients said yes when asked if they valued conversations with sales representatives. This says a lot about how quickly sales teams need to shift perspective. Buyers are expecting you to know about their business, to know about their pain points, and to offer them products and bundles that specifically solve their problems.
Buyers are doing their research, so they expect you to do yours.
In essence, buyers are doing their research, so they expect you to do yours. People are losing interest in hard sales and product-focused marketing. When they can research the products and the pricing with a simple Google on their phones, they expect you to meet them at their level. To increase your buyers and revenue, it’s time to stop looking at what they can do for you — and start looking at what you can do for them.
2. CX expectations are on the rise
Customer experience expectations are skyrocketing as we move out of the pandemic. In order to fulfill CX expectations, your company needs to be fast, accessible, personable, and technologically up-to-date. Why the rush to improve CX? Eighty-six percent of buyers are willing to pay more now for a great customer experience and companies are taking notice.
In the new sales market, it’s not just your company’s reputation riding on CX, it’s your revenue. Let’s look at two aspects of CX you need to focus on moving into 2022:
According to 2021 Forbes research, 98 percent of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships, and 91 percent of buyers report they are more likely to shop with brands that engage with them. These numbers prove that focusing on sales aspects beyond the products themselves is invaluable to any sales strategy, from B2C in-store sales to major B2B sales.
It makes sense that if a retailer is negotiating with two different suppliers and those suppliers provide similar products at similar prices, their choice is going to be influenced by the supplier’s customer-facing persona.
45.5% of businesses ranked CX as their most important priority for the coming year.
Moving into 2022, the influence of the buyer experience is so strong that buyers may be moved to work with the more amiable supplier, even if they have limited or more costly products. In fact, 45.5 percent of businesses ranked CX as their most important priority for the coming year over just 20.5 percent of businesses who ranked pricing. When the CX is strong, the buyer won’t need to struggle over the price because they’ll be satisfied with the product and the experience.
Conversational sales and social selling
A huge part of the customer experience now takes place on social media and in more casual communication channels (i.e. chatbots). Even if your company doesn’t have a huge social media presence, it’s worth noting that if a customer wants to look up your company, they’re equally as likely to check Facebook or Instagram as they are to Google your official company website.
Buyers love simplicity and immediacy. Texts, chatbots, and social media all allow buyers to interact with your company in a casual and efficient manner that doesn’t break your budget. Remember, more purchase options mean that you need to get information across to your buyers quickly before they lose interest. Take time to set up your social media accounts and your easy website communication. Your bottom line will thank you.
3. Focus on the happiness of your sales team
Throughout the pandemic, companies of all sizes made drastic changes to accommodate consumers and partners, but few made a strategic effort to maintain their sales teams.
This is not to say that sales teams are now inefficient—rather the opposite, actually. Fifty-nine percent of sales representatives felt more successful during the pandemic, and many enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and challenge that came with the job. However, 61 percent of sales representatives now report feeling underappreciated in the business industry.
It’s not hard to see how this happened. Sales representatives were the key to keeping many companies alive in 2020 and into 2021. As we start to reopen and restart, however, companies are diving right back into stressful quotas and revenue goals without any recognition for the work sales teams have done.
No one is saying companies should eliminate quotas and revenue goals, but perhaps it’s time for a perspective shift. By taking the time to reward smaller sales successes, you create more incentive to work hard—and happy employees are far more likely to put in that extra effort and improve the bottom line than disgruntled ones.
When you create an atmosphere of encouragement for your team, that reputation travels.
There’s an additional benefit here as well. When you create an atmosphere of encouragement for your team, that reputation travels. A satisfied and motivated sales team won’t just bring in more customers: they’ll bring in more employees. Your HR department is already looking for motivated candidates. Why not give those candidates a reason to come to you?
When you focus on your team, the results follow naturally.
4. Use data and analytics to drive revenue
Sales analytics are never a crystal ball, but they have become sophisticated enough over the past decade that your company can make realistic predictions based on current sales, industry trends, and financial health.
Understanding sales analytics and using the right analysis tools place your company in the best possible position to increase revenue. For example, by looking at something as simple as the timeline of email-open rates, your sales, and marketing departments can see that potential buyers are 300 percent more likely to open a company email when it’s sent within a week of the first interaction.
They can also look at those same emails to determine the demographics of the most frequent email openers and adjust marketing and strategy accordingly. If a blast for a new product goes out to the general populace, but it’s primarily opened by male-identifying individuals between 25 and 45, that tells your team who their target is. It might have been your target from the beginning—but the confirmation lets you know that you’re on the right track.
Sales data also tells you what isn’t working, or what might need a bit of help. If you’re shifting a product online and are getting great click numbers, but struggling with purchase counts, it might be that something about the buying process is inaccessible. For example, if you’re distributing an item often sold in bulk, but there isn’t a bulk-buying price option, retailers won’t be incentivized to make that purchase at individual item cost.
5. Embrace technology and digital sales
In our 2021 Sales Trends Report, we found that 41 percent of sales leaders say customers want to communicate more digitally and 38 percent say customers want to make more purchases online. With hundreds of thousands of people still working remotely, 2022 is likely to see those numbers climb. Gartner analytics predicts a whopping 80 percent of B2B sales interactions will occur digitally by 2025.
The shift to online and digital sales is happening, whether we like it or not. The important thing is how quickly companies adapt to it. Just because your sales team is no longer face to face with your customer, doesn’t mean the culture of that interaction has to suffer. Work with your sales team to personalize their email and chat communication and train them on CRM software. Smoothing your digital workflow with a full tech stack smoothes your sales pipeline.
If your mobile site isn’t up to scratch, 50% of buyers will stop visiting.
This may sound like common sense, but it’s also crucial to make sure your efficiency software is competitive and functional. We talked earlier about the importance of data analysis—if your software isn’t giving you accurate analytics, then your entire sales and marketing departments are going to be scrambling to catch up. Meanwhile, studies show that poor tech loses customers. If your mobile site isn’t up to scratch, 50 percent of buyers will stop visiting, even if they value the products.
With even small-scale hobbyists moving to online sales, it’s essential that your company keeps up with the times and focuses on simplifying product and service access online and on social media.
The most important trend is a strong CRM
Of course, none of these trends has the potential to change your revenue like investing in a powerful CRM. Per the 2021 Sales Trends Report, 92 percent of sales teams either currently use or plan to purchase a sales CRM. With a percentage like that, companies with a poor CRM or no CRM at all are facing an uphill battle against the competition—you can’t afford to be one of those companies.
Luckily, a cost-effective, efficient, state-of-the-art CRM is just within reach. With Zendesk Sell, your company can stay competitive and feel prepared for the fiscal year to come. Zendesk Sell can help you maximize productivity, pipeline visibility, and revenue. Additionally, our software integrates easily with hundreds of other systems, so incorporating Zendesk into your current sales process is a seamless transition.
Stay on the cutting edge in 2022. Request a demo of Zendesk Sell today.
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