Everyone knows field sales is a fast-moving profession. Covid introduced new ways of doing things and updated old sales methods to accommodate customer requests.
Some of these updates massively interrupted the field sales game. But we think things are going to get back to normal in 2023. By normal, I’m referring to pre-Covid field sales success. In fact, field sales reps are spending 28% more time on the road this year than in 2021.
While it’s likely that some new trends will stick around, it’s more likely that old methods of success will resurface.
Given our prediction, here are three huge field sales trends to keep in mind for 2023:
- Focus on the customer experience
- Social selling will continue to increase in popularity
- “Just in time” engagement will be critical
1. Focus on the customer experience
Before Covid, customers were demanding more value before and after buying. They were seeking a buying experience akin to their personal life.
With an ever increasing number of competitors, field sales pros quickly pivoted in 2019 and began to build stronger levels of trust. One of the ways they did this was by proactively offering solutions to their customers’ biggest problems—without the need or ask for a sale.
During Covid, field sales pros had to get creative to improve the customer experience. Using video conferencing tools like Zoom helped some, but field sales pros had to deal with longer sales cycles and lower response times.
With travel restrictions at an all time low, field sales pros are set to resume improving the customer experience while shortening sales cycles.
What to do about it in 2023
Customers missed the face-to-face interaction these past two years, but there are three tactics you can do to improve the customer experience in 2023:
- Proactively schedule roadtrips to your territories. Some of our clients have scheduled week-long trips to territories a month in advance, filling up their calendars with 2-hour long visits.
- Use a geolocation lead finder on roadtrips. While you’re already planning on scheduling visits with leads and customers, you should also plan to proactively deliver value to prospects. Using a geo lead finder on road trips can help you quickly find nearby prospects and optimize your routes for visits.
- Work with marketing to create drop offs. Everyone loves a present, even if it’s work related (and the heavier the better!). As I shared earlier, customers missed you and the face to face meetings. They’re going to be excited to see you again, so why not add a multiplier to that excitement by dropping off a branded care package.
2. Social selling will continue to increase in popularity
72% of salespeople who actively use social media as a sales channel exceed their quota.
Social selling was definitely a pre-Covid trend that rose in popularity with remote selling. LinkedIn Sales Navigator rose 30% in 2020, and more sales teams used LinkedIn Events as a new channel for demos, seminars, and webinars.
Sales intelligence platforms also expanded their capabilities the past few years. Sales reps started to seek out the Twitter handles of key customers to discover new intel not found anywhere else.
Furthermore, applications such as Veloxy started centralizing all sales intelligence on a single mobile screen in preparation for the return of our favorite sales road warriors. By reviewing social content prior to a call or meeting, sales reps have greatly improved their initial talking points and overall in-person engagement.
BONUS: Use these 10 Social Selling Tips
What to do about it in 2023
Social media has always been a treasure trove of unique insights into buyer thoughts and opinions. Here are three tactics you can use to exercise social selling in 2023:
- Use a sales data provider with social profiles. Not all sales data companies include LinkedIn URLs and Twitter handles. Be sure to use a data tool like ZoomInfo, and be sure that the social addresses are discoverable in Salesforce.
- Centralize your sales intelligence on your devices. Your inside sales counterparts have had this feature for years. Us field sales pros have needed to swipe screens and drill down tabs to find this data (and we don’t have the luxury of time prior to in-person meetings). Be sure to use Veloxy to get a 360° view of your customer, including their social conversations.
- Share your value-added insight with the world. You just walked out of an in-person meeting where you blew the socks off of your customer. Now, what was it about that presentation that you can share with the rest of your connections on LinkedIn and Twitter? Stop, hit record, share, and continue to repeat this process. As you connect with future customers, they’ll review your profile and consume your valuable content, further improving your trust factor.
3. “Just in time” engagement will be critical
As I mentioned earlier, customers were demanding a better buyer experience prior to 2020. But one of the most eye-opening elements of that demand was their request for complete personalization.
This isn’t a first name, company name level of personalization. They want the whole phone and email outreach, content, and presentation experience to be personalized so they feel prioritized. Why? Well, because they can take their business elsewhere.
The most critical form of personalization is “just in time” engagement. What do I mean by that? I’m referring to the calling, emailing, and texting of your prospects, leads, and customers at the most optimal time. This is either when your customer wants to hear from you, or when they’re predictably engaged with each communication channel.
We live in an overcommunicated world where customers are receiving personalized emails, calls, and texts every day. Knowing when to click send or schedule an email can make all of the difference.
What to do about it in 2023
Sales engagement is a game of numbers and optimization. Here are three tactics you can use to predictably reach your customers at the right time in 2023:
- Use tracking tools for email and calls. You need to start using these tools immediately because both require history to accurately predict when your customers want to engage on each channel. Start using Veloxy for email tracking and CallRail for call tracking. Both systems will automatically queue engagement at your customer’s optimal time.
- Integrate tracking with Sales AI. Just in time engagement is more than mere opens and pickups. It’s also focused on purchasing decisions. When you integrate email and call tracking with a sophisticated Sales artificial intelligence algorithm, you’ll begin engaging at the optimal times your customers are most ready to buy.
- Keep the volume of calls and emails up. Many field sales reps make the mistake of pulling back the number of emails and calls as their engagement rate doubles or triples. This is a mistake. “Where there is frequency, there is familiarity.” This is one of my favorite sales and customer service quotes of all time. Let them tell you when to pull back, and maintain an honest and helpful approach that is never pushy.
Final thoughts on Field Sales Trends
We love helping field sales teams across the globe. Companies such as Tommy Hilfiger, Wex, and Comcast come to us for field sales advice and solutions.
Would you enjoy a 30 minute Q & A with our Field Sales guru, Jeff Grice? You can schedule time on his Calendly here.
And be sure to share the following field sales resources with your team: