In the era of low interest rates, companies might have been able to make do with inefficient sales teams, as money from investors – and buyers – flowed relatively freely. But as the last few months have shown us, dramatic change often comes suddenly. The mass layoffs across big tech show just how serious companies are about cutting costs and using their funds more intentionally. This is why many will be turning to sales technology to get more out of what they already have, rather than mass hiring.
Gartner predicts that sales enablement budgets will increase by 50% in the next four years. Analysts from Future Market Insights, meanwhile, believe that this growth will be led by increased investment in sales enablement tech, with the category projected to see over 16% in compound annual revenue growth over the next decade.
Growing demand amid economic instability makes sense in this category, as it can often directly lead to revenue growth in the enterprise. Sales technology generally revolves around simplifying the sales process for reps, which too often is complicated by tedious, operational tasks that take time away from the seller to do what they actually do best: sell.
The right tools can alleviate this burden and free up reps to focus more on revenue-generating activities and increase their overall productivity. Read on to learn more about the sales technology trends and strategies shaping the enterprise in 2023.
Increased emphasis on RevOps
Shorthand for revenue operations, RevOps is the process of strategically streamlining processes and integrating sales, marketing and other services to maximize an organization’s revenue potential. RevOps has seen a rise in recent years, arguably as a backlash to sales departments having been siloed from other business units.
While buyers might be unaware of RevOps, they experience the fruits of it in their interactions with sales reps, which are freed up for increased agility and fluidity. For customers, especially in larger organizations, there have always been points of friction in the sales cycle, as they are passed between reps and touchpoints that all too often do not communicate well enough with each other. This can impact both the likelihood of a sale and a customer’s long term retention.
“Your sales team doesn’t work in a vacuum — they work in conjunction with operations and finance teams as well”, said Gideon Thomas, CMO of DealHub, a CPQ provider, in a recent interview. “However, when information and processes are siloed, it becomes a challenge for these teams to collaborate effectively”.
“When the sales team has accurate, up-to-date information that is synced with other relevant departments”, Thomas added, “they can focus on selling instead of worrying about whether they are providing good data to prospects”.
RevOps has become increasingly popular among enterprise companies, as it can help foster better team collaboration and more efficient cross-company communication. In 2023, trends are pointing to more companies adopting the RevOps model as successful use cases continue to emerge. When the flow of funding is slow, more companies will pivot to a revenue focus in order to stay afloat.
Basic CRM is no longer enough
In the early days of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, sales teams were happy to just have a viable system to store all their data – but technology has come a long way since then.
Technology has advanced to the point where it can automate so many of the tasks that drain away time from sales reps. Considering the fact that 41% of sales reps’ time is actually not spent selling, according to a survey by Dooly.ai, tech solutions have become especially useful, if not critical. If a more advanced and integrated CRM can successfully foster greater productivity amongst reps, the effect on company revenue can be significant.
In the coming years, we will see a turning point where the advantages of automating tasks become too powerful to ignore. From lead qualification and scoring to engagement and intent signals, investing in automation was once a way to gain a competitive advantage, whereas now, it’s needed simply to keep up.
Because they required so much manual data entry to be useful as a single source of truth, early CRM systems were sometimes even more of a hindrance than a help to sales reps. Today, sellers do not want to spend hours navigating clunky systems.
The new breed of CRMs, and their ecosystems of related tools, are faster and get greater buy-in from sales reps because they actually save time and enable reps to close more deals, and more lucrative deals, more quickly.
More focus on customer lifetime value
In 2023, we can expect belts to continue to tighten for enterprises. Additionally, renewal processes are becoming more stringent, as customers are understandably questioning whether or not they are getting the best possible deal. As such, enterprises will need to place a greater focus on customer retention.
When you consider how much time and effort goes into making an initial sale, it makes sense for organizations to do everything they can to invest in retaining their existing customers rather than trying to gain new ones. Too many companies have focused on the absolute number of sales rather than the actual value of each sale. Enterprises should focus on maximizing customer lifetime value as a better use of their limited resources.
Sales leaders are becoming increasingly interested in optimizing some of the more “boring” parts of the sales process, such as contract generation and storage. It’s recommended to make these points as simple and as seamless as possible to make the customer’s decision to stay with you an easy yes.
“The reality is that most companies have decided whether to keep working with you or not well before the actual renewal date comes”, said Nikola Mijic, CEO of Matik, a personalization service. “One way to set the tone for the relationship is to ask the client what three things they hope to accomplish within the year. Then work with the CS, engineering, and product teams to do whatever possible to help those customers achieve their goals. That makes the conversations throughout the year and the end of the term much more productive and positive”.
Regardless of the tactics you favor, the less friction in your process, the less likely a customer is to shop around, because you’re demonstrating your investment in their success, keeping things simple and getting straight to the point. It would be a mistake to assume clients will just allow contracts to roll over as they have in times of abundance.
While there is genuine concern about the enterprise sales environment in 2023, organizations that can adapt to changing market conditions are the ones that will thrive. The technology and tools exist for companies to dramatically increase their sales effectiveness – even if you are on a shoestring budget.