While 2022 has had its share of challenges, the coming year will be one of adapting to a rapidly changing and already profoundly transformed market. The shortage of skills, the acceleration of the digitization of the sales cycle and new generational expectations will force sales departments to rethink the operational efficiency of their sales forces.
So what will be the major trends in B2B sales in 2023?
Attract and retain salespeople
According McKinsey97% of B2B sales departments consider skills renewal to be their top priority. Half of them also believe that their sales staff do not have the necessary skills to succeed in this uncertain environment.
In France, there would be no fewer than 200,000 salespeople, a figure that demonstrates the extent of the challenge to be met. Without a doubt, attracting and retaining salespeople will become an increasingly strategic issue for companies.
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To respond to this, sales departments, accompanied by their human resources counterparts, will have to pay more attention to optimizing thenew talent onboarding. Indeed, a premature departure of a salesperson has direct repercussions on the company’s turnover.
Therefore, it will be necessary to concentrate efforts on the training and the coaching sales representatives to support their progress and development within the company. The key will be to personalize training modules with particular attention paid to the adequacy of the programs according to the profiles of the salespeople.
Additionally, a survey of Gartner revealed that 89% of B2B sellers feel exhausted from their work. It will certainly be necessary to offer salespeople optimal conditions to exercise their profession. This will notably involve easy access to relevant and up-to-date information that they will be able to enrich with their own knowledge. The coming year will most certainly devote the democratization of learning with more accessible, flexible and interactive training.
A more complex sale
B2B buyers are now always better informed before entering into a relationship with a commercial. This situation will continue and strengthen with the digitalization accelerated purchase journey. The desire for immediacy, digitization and the strong personalization of the relationship make the B2B sales an increasingly complex process for salespeople. The study McKinsey raised the expectations of decision makers who wish for 72% of them a shopping experience consistent across all channels.
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With the generalization of teleworkthe interactions between buyers and sellers will inevitably take place within the framework of a distance relationship, or in an environment hybrid. According to the State of Sales study by LinkedIn, one in two salespeople say they found the remote work experience more difficult than they had imagined. Rethinking the approach to the purchase journey will be decisive in improving the commercial efficiency of the sales forces. To achieve this, salespeople will have to address all the communication channels likely to be involved in the buying process.
The arrival in the business ecosystem of new generations with millennials and Generation Z will be a game changer for the future of the sales cycle. In a context where the digital and the distancial will probably be preferred, the “ideal” interaction with a prospect or a customer will have to be imagined multichannel, personalized and above all consistent. It may start on social media, continue through an email channel and then become more collaborative. The challenge will obviously beharmonize your communication and adapt it according to each channel to improve the experience and strengthen the effectiveness of the sale.
Towards the ultra-personalization of the commercial relationship
The personalization is no longer an option and seems relatively well integrated by salespeople. 2023 will gradually give way to ultra-personalization. According to the study LinkedIn State of Sales, 73% of sales reps say they do more research than the previous year on their prospects before contacting them.
The diversity of buyer profiles, easy access to information and the development of social selling require adopting a commercial approach that is as close as possible to the expectations and needs of theBuyer.
Providing relevant, qualified information in the context of a business opportunity will become a key issue for salespeople. Responding to the specifics of each buyer will once again be a constant challenge.
Consequently, it will take more and more time to understand the situation, the issues and the objections of the companies. Generic approaches and cold calling will probably be behind us to make way for an increased business relationship.
Artificial intelligence and the machine-learning will allow us to better understand the behavior of customers or prospects. The integration of these technologies will become a “must-have” to improve the identification of commercial opportunities but also the key moments in the sales cycle.
The trend will certainly be the development of analytical tools and technologies conversational to make interactions and exchanges even more dynamic. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be essential to support and help salespeople administer an ever-increasing volume of data and information.
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What is the outlook for B2B sales in 2023?
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