Wondering what to expect in 2023 as you plan your company’s sales enablement strategies?
The B2B buying journey has changed enormously in recent years and has grown more complicated. Newly empowered customers have shifted to conducting their own digital research. In addition to that, there are often multiple stakeholders involved in purchases.
AI and machine learning are now ubiquitous, with the rise of tools like ChatGPT, and more sales organizations are incorporating AI tools into their selling processes.
These changes require sellers to adapt to help buyers navigate the purchasing process. And that means companies need a new approach to sales enablement.
With effective sales enablement, you can empower sellers to satisfy the needs of prospects and customers and consistently meet quotas. But what are the latest trends that will impact how you shape your sales enablement program?
Gear up for these 2023 sales enablement trends
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, staying ahead of the latest sales enablement trends is crucial to drive revenue growth. In 2023, companies face new challenges and opportunities in the sales space – from shifting customer expectations to emerging technologies.
Here are some of the most important trends set to shape this year.
The rise of AI-enabled selling
“Sales enablement is no longer just a functional process or focusing on the distribution of the right content to the reps at the right time to help impress buyers and therefore support deal wins. We see an increased interest in the marketplace when it comes to utilizing artificial intelligence as part of the sales enablement motion. Therefore AI-powered solutions will help further streamline the process of driving successful sales conversations. Ultimately, it’s all about enabling all those incredible sellers out there, so they can act truly customer-centric and drive top-line revenue.”
David von Rothenburg, Pitcher’s VP of Sales and Alliances
AI-enabled selling technology to help sales professionals in aspects of the selling process. This can include automating repetitive tasks, providing real-time data and insights, and helping salespeople identify new opportunities.
Some examples of AI-enabled selling tools include:
- Chatbots and virtual assistants that help qualify leads and schedule appointments.
- Predictive analytics tools that enable sales teams to forecast sales and identify high-value prospects.
- Personalization and recommendation engines that help salespeople tailor messaging and personalize product offerings for individual customers.
- Companies can use AI-enabled selling tools to improve their sales productivity, reduce manual tasks, and increase revenue.
Pitcher’s AI-guided selling analyzes a rep or customer’s previous actions. Then it recommends what the rep can do next to help move the buyer further along their purchasing journey. With rule-based content recommendations, personalized digital sales aids, and rep-triggered emails, you can:
- Improve the effectiveness of your sales team,
- Deliver a better customer experience, and
- Lower your cost per sale.
Improving retention by focusing on engagement
In the post-pandemic B2B world, obtaining and retaining talented sales professionals is an ongoing challenge.
According to a survey of more than 600 US businesses, 63.3% say retaining employees is more difficult than initially hiring them.
Improving employee engagement is the key to keeping your best sellers, but overall employee engagement across industries continues to lag.
A 2022 Gallup survey of approximately 67,000 people found only 32% of workers are engaged with their work, compared with 36% in 2020.
One of the best ways to keep reps motivated and engaged is by developing a sales enablement program that cultivates positive seller experiences. For example, to gain insight into building a strong sales culture, give voice to your reps by creating a sales advisory council to encourage team feedback.
Sales enablement also needs to change to accommodate the shift to virtual work environments and buyers’ increased preference for online sales. Sales playbooks and training should support remote selling techniques and teach reps how to use digital tools effectively.
To retain top talent, train reps and focus on development. It will increase confidence in how they do their jobs and can maximize their productivity. Provide consistent coaching to help salespeople allocate their time and resources and share best practices from top performers.
Enablement-led onboarding processes can also strengthen your sales team by minimizing ramp time and increasing engagement for new reps.
Recognition-based company culture
In our new hybrid and remote work world, employers are rethinking what visibility means within teams.
Employee recognition is trending downward at the moment. A Quantum Workplace report showed that at the peak of the pandemic, over 80% of employees said they knew they’d be recognized for contributing to their organization’s success. That percentage dropped to 72% in May 2021.
This trend opens the door for companies that want to gain a competitive edge by improving their culture. Creating a culture that celebrates recognition – where employees feel appreciated – will help you attract and retain top sales talent.
In 2023, go beyond rewarding reps for their individual sales performance. Recognize them for behaviors that contribute to the culture and morale of your team.
Consider implementing a program that rewards non-selling behaviors like:
- participating in a sales advisory council,
- mentoring other salespeople, and
- engaging in high levels of learning and development.
Your company can allocate a portion of a salesperson’s bonus based on qualitative performance evaluations by a manager or sales enablement team.
Recognizing your reps in this way sends the message that contributions to the team and company culture are valued and recognized. This can improve morale and increase retention of your sales staff.
You can use Insights, Pitcher’s built-in sales performance, analytics, and reporting module. Insights tracks learning sessions and captures observations from the field to help you recognize the non-selling contributions of your reps.
Focus on core competencies
What qualities come to mind when you think about your top-performing sales reps? 2023’s trend is focusing on the sales team and seller competencies that align with your organization’s:
- Selling processes
To bring out the best in your team and successfully onboard new reps, document the knowledge, skills, and process competencies required for sellers at every stage of development.
For each role in your sales team, identify the characteristics, behaviors, and traits that represent the “gold standard” for your organization. Review them annually to address changes in the market or your offerings. Use the competencies list to shape your sales training and coaching programs.
With Pitcher coaching, you can create personalized training paths based on individual needs. These can include micro-learning and just-in-time (JIT) sales training to help reps develop the core competencies needed to succeed in your organization.
Gartner research on the future of sales indicates that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales transactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. On top of that, 33% of all buyers now desire a seller-free sales experience.
With this shifting sales landscape, delivering highly personalized content to buyers will be more critical than ever in 2023. Sales enablement can provide sales teams with tailored, relevant content that helps reps offer immediate value to buyers researching solutions online.
This 2023, your sales enablement efforts should focus on curating and organizing assets so reps can easily find what they need. Sales enablement solutions can also help your team:
- Share, update, and retire content when needed,
- identify underperforming content so that you can improve it, and
- ensure compliance.
Focus on seller effectiveness and buyer engagement
“ … business-to-business (B2B) sales organizations are not selling the way today’s buying committees want to buy. That’s creating a growing buyer-seller divide.”
– Alyssa Merwin, Harvard Business Review
In 2023, your goal should be to provide a buyer experience that exceeds expectations.
Make it easy for customers to find what they need when they need it. Create a list of touchpoints where your company engages with customers – then make a list of what channels and resources you need to reach them at the right place, with the right content at the right time.
At the same time, make sales reps more effective by having them focus on a more buyer-centric approach.
Do this by:
- Providing answers to buyers’ questions: Find out what questions customers are asking and where they’re looking for answers.
- Creating targeted content: When you know what your customers want, create relevant, useful content that’s easy for them to find.
- Using digital sales rooms: Let customers decide how much interaction they want with sales reps and assistance. According to Gartner, when B2B buyers consider making a purchase, only 17% of their time is spent with a salesperson.
- Becoming a trusted advisor: Take a consultative selling approach and earn buyers’ trust.
Giving your sales reps the right resources to make them more effective is critical in 2023.
How to maximize sales effectiveness in 2023
To achieve consistent performance, drive engagement, and create a fully optimized buyer experience, today’s B2B organizations must invest in the success of sales enablement teams. Implement these key strategies to leverage current trends, giving you a great start to your 2023 sales enablement planning process.
- Improved sales effectiveness: By providing your sales team with the tools and resources they need to sell more effectively, you’ll help your organization work productively, efficiently, and be more relevant to the prospects and customers.
- Increased revenue: As a result of improved sales productivity from sales enablement, you can expect an uptick in revenue.
- Better omnichannel customer engagement: Helping your sales teams better understand and engage with customers results in strengthened relationships and more successful sales interactions.
- Enhanced alignment with marketing: Organizations that align their sales and marketing efforts, will ensure both teams are working toward the same goals.
- Improved data analysis: Analyzing customer and seller behavior data will allow you to make more informed decisions and improve sales efforts.
- More effective onboarding of new sales reps: By improving onboarding strategies, you’ll train new sales reps more quickly. Getting reps up to full productivity means a more successful and productive sales team.
- Coaching: Having just-in-time training (JIT) and coaching for sales reps will help continuously upskill your sales team and increase seller effectiveness.
Pitcher for sales enablement gives you the tools to equip your reps with personalized content, guide them with coaching and training and measure the impact on your bottom line.
Request a demo to discover how Pitcher can empower your sales force to succeed.
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