In 2023, sales managers won’t need to take down the sales-motivating whiteboards, but they will need to change what they write on them. As we bring in a new year with the same crippling challenges of inflation, high interest rates and supply chain stalls, tracking the speed of sales or even the volume of transactions can no longer be how we measure success.
In fact, the new landscape for professional sales goals will not be deemed by speedy, same-day or even same-week deal-making. That’s because pipeline timelines have changed so dramatically, including the thinning out of commission-based upsells. But don’t despair, because the new age of sales success could be even better than the last. Here’s how.
The product market is being eclipsed by a professional market. Customers are still looking to buy goods and services, but deals will only happen when we shift our mindsets and that of our teams from selling and servicing to teaching and nurturing. The first step is to retrain ourselves as leaders so we can then guide our teams. Regardless of industry, whether you lead a team or you are stand-alone higher performers in real estate, manufacturing, technology, hospitality, retail, healthcare insurance or other sectors, you need to educate to move goals forward. This will require teaching and learning what your customers are facing and the relationship to your offering in terms of current economic trends.
Team leaders and independent high-performers must reach a higher level of professionalism that will provide guidance to customers to help them through every step of the journey leading to calm decision-making during chaotic times.
Successful sales leaders have perfected what it means to be proactive and approach opportunities with a sense of urgency. This attitude must now be accompanied by new tools and mechanisms that are suitable for the state of the economy now. We need to shift our incentives from awarding the close of a sale to the steps of the process achieved along the way. By recognizing that winning is no longer fast and immediate but rather thoughtful and deliberate, we must reward and incent team members who are creating new systems and skills that focus on client education and relationship-building versus the tools that promote risk and fervor, because that is what will bring more of us to the finish line.
For all of us, having the ability to change our mindsets will be what influences our success. It starts by recognizing that the indicators we once used to assess the health of our business are no longer relevant but how we communicate is. Being able to clearly and precisely say how the offering and solution are a match in the context of these turbulent times will quickly separate us from our competitors. By creating a shared lens of what the sale means in terms of today’s economic reality, we will establish the trust and confidence required to advance the process. And when it comes to customer relations and taking the sales movement forward, this is gold!