#1 Data and technology bring new issues
By using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and machine learning, sales professionals can sell in a more targeted and effective way. For example, they can automate certain tasks and use data to better understand what their customers are looking for and how to meet their needs. The growing use of chatbots are a result of this. Important issues ahead revolve around data protection and the ethical and responsible use of AI’s capabilities. For example, is it desirable to manipulate people into buying more based on reading emotions through expression and eye movements? To maintain consumer trust, it is important to be transparent and allow customers to manage their data.
Marketers will also increasingly have to deal with content creation by AI. Indeed, the foundation of this article was laid by asking CHAT GTP to create an article outlining the key sales trends for 2023.
#2 Personalization continues to evolve
Consumers increasingly expect brands to tailor their products and services. Sales professionals can use data about customers to personalize their offers and tailor them to their customers’ individual needs. In this time of uncertainty, it also makes sense to tailor your offer to what this uncertainty does to your target audience.
In BtoB, a development is taking place in which it is observed that buyers in the discovery phase are increasingly looking for information themselves before they sit down with a salesperson. This calls for fewer lead generation forms and more comprehensive information on the website, for example. Video can be of great added value here.
Personalization and digitalization are also closely related to guarding the balance between digital communication and human interaction. Because human contact remains an irreplaceable necessity of life, also for your customers.
#3 Use of video, influencers and social media
More than 80% of consumers do online research before buying anything, so social selling and online presence is essential to the sales process.
Videos remain popular and will be an important part of many companies’ marketing strategy. This can include videos on social media and demo videos, as well as video ads or video content on a website. Again, you see an increase in the use of personalized videos.
By the way, we see opportunities in zero-click content. This is content that does not redirect to your website but serves the recipient within the (social media) platform where he is currently active. It is about content with intrinsic value and content aimed at realizing interaction. Difficult to measure the effects concretely, but if you do it right, you can realize a greater reach that does lead to an increase in website traffic.
Entertaining content is also booming. Keywords here are video and short. Influencer marketing, where brands collaborate with influencers to promote their products or services, remains popular. By working (long-term) with well-known and trusted influencers, brands can convey their message to their target audiences in an authentic and natural way.
Active in BtoB? Promote your personal brand and then be actively present on social media yourself on a daily basis, with posts, likes, reposts of interesting information, proof of your expertise and valuable comments.
#4 Sustainability higher on the agenda
Sustainability is the idea that people and organizations take responsibility for preserving natural resources and the environment for future generations.
There are several ways in which sustainability and sales come together. For example, more and more consumers are interested in sustainable products and services, which means that companies that offer sustainable products or services can have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In addition, offering sustainable products or services can contribute to a positive corporate image, which can lead to more customers and higher sales.
It is also important for companies to consider sustainability in their sales processes. This can mean, for example, using environmentally friendly packaging materials, or paying attention to reducing their carbon emissions in their distribution chain. By integrating sustainability into the sales process, companies can not only meet their sustainability goals, but also make their operations more efficient and save costs.
Of course, it is also possible to use sustainability as a marketing tool. For example, a company can show that they offer environmentally friendly products, or that they are actively working to reduce their environmental impact. This can help attract customers interested in sustainable products and services.
#5 Starting with podcasts still promising
By 2022, the popularity of podcasts will have exploded to half of all Dutch people over the age of 18. And they will be listening more often and for longer. So there’s still plenty of opportunity. It’s certainly not too late to start a podcast for your organization.
Frankwatching offers the following tips for starting a podcast:
- Make sure you have good sound
- Create episodes of equal length and structure.
- Make at least 6 episodes
- Make sure the podcasts can be listened to over a longer period of time.
- Integrate and combine your podcasts with other content.
- Make sure you have a communication plan to promote your podcast.
#6 Online sales normalizes
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, online sales have become increasingly important and are likely to remain so in 2023. By the way, the online hype during corona created sky-high expectations and corresponding investments of online sales channels. Now the recession is throwing a spanner in the works and sales are dropping again. 2023 will probably be more of a recovery year where expectations and goals become more realistic. The expected growth after corona has not materialized and you can already see many online tech and sales companies cutting staff to cut costs.
#7 Increasing resistance and reducing budgets
Selling in a cooling macro environment is obviously more challenging. Consequently, 2023 will be a tough sales year for many companies as followed by the impending recession that makes budgets tighter to set and spend. It is important that sales professionals learn to deal with customer resistance and know how to handle it in a professional manner. This can be done by learning techniques for managing ROI sales calls, resolving conflicts and especially by applying solution selling. It is important to think about how to mitigate the risks to your customers. Investing (countercyclically) in the skills of your sales team is also definitely recommended.
By the way, not only customers are keeping their hands on the purse strings, but marketing budgets are also expected to be cut by an average of 10% in the coming year. If you want to use your marketing budgets wisely, you need to find ways to keep customers happy and retain them in the long run. After all, the cost to acquire a new customer is five times higher than to retain an existing customer. That makes customer satisfaction not just a “nice to have,” but a key driver of ROI. An additional challenge that requires creativity.
There are undoubtedly many more sales and marketing trends that sales and marketing professionals should consider, but these 7 will play a big role in 2023 (and beyond) anyway. Choose the trends and developments that fit your company and its values to work with. And above all, experiment a little. Creativity and out of the box thinking remains necessary, because the trick now is to surprise your leads more than the world around them shocks them. Are you prepared for that?