This past year, 2022, has ushered in loads of changes in the world of sales. Sales technology has advanced, video prospecting has gained serious momentum (hello Loom), and sales teams are increasingly becoming remote with work-from-home culture thriving.
But that was then, this is now. The year 2023 is upon us, and if we want to get a leg up on our competition, it’s vital to know what’s in the pipeline for the future. What can we expect this year in terms of hot technology, new developments, and emerging sentiments in sales? What kind of insider baseball can we leverage for our success?
These are all great questions. And whether you’re an SDR, an account exec, a sales leader, or a company founder, today you’re going to learn everything you need to know about sales in 2023. Or at least my predictions for what’s to come. (And FYI – it’s not all sunshine and roses.)
So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
1. Access to better information/data
We will have more access to information than we ever dreamed was possible. Even today we have ZoomInfo, Outreach, LinkedIn Sales Nav, SalesForce, and the list goes on and on. These are all incredibly powerful tools we have at our fingertips. But next year the intel we’ll have access to will become even more impressive.
Already there are AI tools that record calls and help to optimize conversions. There’s AI that tells you which opening lines get the best results, which tone of voice people prefer, and more. With technology exploding (in a good way), it’s the leaders who are early adopters who stand to capitalize the most. So it pays to do your research and continually be looking for the latest sales tech and tools.
2. AI and emerging tech will increase output to 1,000 cold calls per day
Today, the average SDR or BDR makes between 30-50 calls in a day. This isn’t terrible, but rockstar sales people aren’t hanging up their headsets until they hit 100 calls in a day. Over a big enough sample size, twice the calls means twice the meetings set (and twice the money). Now, 100 calls might be a solid standard to shoot for today. But I know software is in the works to get salespeople making upwards of 800-1,000 calls in a day.
But here’s the thing. Just because you can make 1,000 calls in a day doesn’t mean you should. I’ve found that when a system is scaled to the moon, quality is almost always sacrificed. Do you think that those 1,000 leads will be good leads? Not a chance. I’d rather call down a list of 50 carefully curated leads than a list of 500 garbage leads. So even though sales is going this direction in the future (quantity over quality), the salespeople with a laser-focus on calling healthy leads and filling the pipeline with qualified decision makers are the ones who will come out on top.
3.Tighter screening: bot recordings that require salespeople to state their name and reason for calling before the gatekeeper answers
In 2023 I predict we begin to see the widespread adoption of gatekeeper bots. “What’s a gatekeeper bot?” you’re probably asking. A gatekeeper bot is a recorded message that prompts the caller to state who they are and why they’re calling. It allows busy executives to screen their calls in a consistent manner, without needing an assistant to do the dirty work. (Some bots come before the gatekeeper answers!). Now, at first this sounds like bad news for salespeople. I mean, it’s hard enough getting past a human gatekeeper, now we have to deal with robots? Sure. But I argue this is a positive development.
If you’re a salesperson or SDR, you are much more than your title. You’re a value-provider. You help people overcome obstacles, you alleviate their pain points, and you lead them to greater success. If you truly hold this belief, then you are doing them a huge favor by calling. Your passion and masterful use of tonality will charm their socks off and get them excited to answer — bot or no bot. While other salespeople shrink back, you double-down and make a real impact. Like Warren Buffett so wisely said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
4. Salespeople will become more respected
My prediction is that salespeople will become more respected in society at-large. And sales, as a career track, will be cast in a more positive light. Will this happen overnight? No. But the paradigm will continue to shift in 2023.
As more young people become disillusioned by the status-quo university path, they will continue to look for alternative ways to make a living. They will follow high-paid trades like electrical engineering technician, radiation therapist, dental hygienist, and so on. Most trades require schooling of some sort — but they typically don’t require thousands of dollars in student loans (sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt!).
Enter sales. There are plenty of highly-salespeople who have a) never went to college, b) have no student loan debt, and c) make more money than doctors and lawyers. As more people look for high-paid trades, the sales field will be patiently waiting; and as more people follow this career path, I predict the awareness and respect will follow.
5. Cold calling will STILL be alive and strong
In 2023 people will still have smartphones and phone numbers. And as long as people have phones and phone numbers, they can be dialed and reached by salespeople. And if decision makers can be reached by sales people, sales will happen over the phone. In other words, cold calling is here to stay, folks.
And let’s be honest, even when smartphones and phone numbers are obsolete (the year 2050), people will still have problems that need to be solved. So sales will remain, even if the mode of outreach changes. Maybe it won’t be called “cold calling.” When our brains are hooked up to neurolink (not mine!) maybe we’ll call it “cold downloading” or “cold telepathy.” I don’t know. But my point stands that as long as humans are alive, sales will continue to flourish in one way or another. It’s the natural order of things.
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Those are my big sales predictions for 2023 and beyond. Better data will become available, AI technology will allow upwards of 500-1,000 calls in a day (by a single salesperson!), there will be tighter screening with bot gatekeepers, salespeople will become more respected, and cold calling will still be alive and thriving.
Sure, times are going to change, but we should be flexible to change with the times. As they say, the flexible will not be broken! So get out there and fill your pipeline to overflowing.
Until next time…