Year 2022 has been quite eventful. Skilling, Reskilling and upskilling gained momentum. Hybrid selling was the flavour of the season, the selling ecosystem witnessed a lot of changes to adapt to new norms. Same time last year, opportunities were high and changing jobs was easier as the great reshuffle was in full swing. Exactly one year (fast forward) and we are in a different spot. Fear, anxiety, uncertainty has taken over. Layoffs are a common thing, companies are holding back on new investments and recruitments, employees are sitting tight on job changes and adaptability has become the most important skill set to deal with the uncertainty ahead.
In these uncertain times sales and selling becomes all the more challenging and demanding, and 2023 will bring new ups and downs for all sales professionals.B2B buying & selling is evolving and the sales professionals that will find success this next year are the ones who adapt to changes, upskill/Reskill themselves, focus on innovation and creativity, instead of holding on to traditional and mundane sales approaches.
To help sellers sell better and stay ahead of their game, here are four Big changes that will have the greatest impact on B2B sales this year and how sales professionals can leverage them to their benefit:
Change 1: Buyer focus on cost consciousness & Seller focus on Value/ROI based selling.
Come 2023 and buyer focus will shift to cost rationalisation. Every business leader will evaluate every line item in their budgets to not only rationalize investments, but also ensure they’re operating in the leanest and most productive ways possible this year. Decision makers will face a tough task as their every decision will be under scrutiny. Decision makers will adopt a cautious approach and will not commit easily to the buying decision.
Sellers need to understand this shift and focus more on Value selling and ROI driven approach. They need to give more emphasis on how their product or service will be able to solve the problem in less time, less resources and all this within a competitive budget. While challenging, this moment will present an opportunity for sales professionals to build on their solutions, help them to rethink how their solution reduces risk for buyers, and finally evolve their approaches to meet the buying behavior of today’s decision makers.
Change 2: Buyers will prefer trusted partners & Sellers should focus on Rapport.
In 2023, doling out Features and benefits of the product/services will not take the seller anywhere as they are likely to hear “Will discuss later” and “not right now” more than in years past as many buyers will prefer to do business with sellers who have their best interest in mind and help them in this trying situation. Demand will be reduced(even if not reduced the decision making will go slow due to uncertainty and curbs on investment), the best seller will invest more of their time nurturing existing relationships and mapping out new strategic relationships. Rapport building, transparency, right communication and right channel of communication will be the key going forward. Sellers need to gain enough mindshare by consistently being there at the top of the buyer’s mind so that when the budget restrictions open up they are in a strong position for consideration.
Change 3: Empathy will be the driving force and client retention will be the key
Empathy always been the most neglected factor with sales professionals as many of them are target driven having little consideration to the buyer ecosystem (however, this has changed to a great extent post pandemic). In a period of economic slowdown, decision-makers will have to ruthlessly prioritize resources by layoffs, hiring freezes, and reduced budgets and manage the status quo. In this environment, the buyer’s focus and mindset will be occupied by constantly changing scenarios in his background and he will be dealing with this day in and out. If the seller focuses only on his product or services without being empathetic of the buyers ecosystem it will leave buyers with a negative impression of the seller and likely damaging that seller’s chance of closing the deal. Empathy will be cornerstone of success and it will be all the more important in 2023 than ever before. Client retention will be important and new customers will be hard to come by. Excellent and seamless customer service will become the norm in 2023.
Change 4: Re-skilling and Up-skilling to gain more prominence
Companies that foster a culture of learning and skill development will be able to keep its sellers motivated during challenging times and prepare them to emerge stronger when demand returns. Many online/offline programs are available which will help the sellers to upskill themselves in different genres of selling. This will help them to stay ahead of their peers (who do not prefer in skilling themselves) and always be in high demand. The pandemic permanently changed the way people buy and sell. New tools have emerged, systems have evolved, expectations changed and those professionals who continue to invest in their career and skills during these challenging times will reap the benefits in the near future.