2024 Resolutions for Sales Teams Best Practices | Sales by Val Riley January 25, 2024 What are some key new years resolutions for sales people in 2024? As the year kicks off, what should sales people focus on to improve their craft and maximize their results? Insightly CMO Chip House tackled this topic in a recent webinar with sales consultant and keynote speaker Jen Allen-Knuth. This blog post explores what they shared. Market forces shaping 2024 sales outlook Why do sales people and leaders need to be making resolutions in the first place? What’s going on in the market that is mandating change? Before diving into 2024, let’s look at the market forces from 2023 that are shaping the 2024 outlook. Here are some market forces to consider: Force 1: Email deliverability/personalization. We had a collective scare back in November about mail deliverability regulations. Businesses that send more than 5,000 emails per day (and that’s a pretty low number) were going to be subject to stricter metrics on spam complaints by Google and Yahoo. It was walked back to ONLY apply to @gmail or @yahoo.com addresses, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to come around again. Therefore personalization, which has been having a moment for quite some time, is about to get even more important. Jen shared some data from author Dr. Howard Dover in his book, The Sales Innovation Paradox. With a 1,000% increase in the number of SDRs, and the SDR becoming 10x more efficient with sales engagement platforms, that yields a 10,000% increase in the amount of prospecting activities in the market today. As such, you need personalization more than ever to make an impact and cut through the noise. Personalization was a 2023 buzzword, and it’s not going anywhere for 2024. Force 2: Tech consolidation and COI Another ‘force’ is tech consolidation meaning that companies are doing more with less, reducing their SaaS tech stacks due to cost. This is combined with the cost of inaction, meaning that companies may be losing out on technology advances by sticking with the status quo. 2023 was shaped by businesses using fewer applications and often sticking with their current tech stack even after being in-market for something new. This will carry over into 2024. Force 3: Consensus sales without the seller Another force that we can’t shake and seems to be getting even bigger is the impact of consensus buying without a sales rep. It’s now estimated 83% of the buying group’s time is spent without the seller. Committees are making the consideration set without talking to sales people, and they are doing research on their own for the overwhelming majority of the buying journey. With this in mind, getting into that initial consideration set was huge in 2023, and it will remain a focus for 2024. As such, branding is becoming more vital than ever for B2B companies. Force 4: Higher buyer expectations Once buyers start to engage with sales reps, they want the seller to truly bring value. Jen shared some data from Gong about how buyers feel about their interactions with sellers, and the data was disappointing. Only a quarter of buyers felt the seller understood their role (25%), 13% felt the seller’s message addressed a relevant challenge within their organization, 9% indicated the seller’s message was personalized, and a mere 6% stated that they learned something from the seller. These numbers are abyssal at best. Sellers need to up their game and be able to provide value. With these 4 areas in mind, Chip and Jen revealed the 5 resolutions that they feel sellers and sales leaders should make in 2024. 2024 Sales Resolution #1: Learn what’s really behind objections Understanding objections – the types and their meanings. In 2024, ‘overcoming objections’ is over. Rather than focusing on overcoming objections, it’s vital that sellers understand them – especially those that are recurring – to close a deal and to become a better seller. Jen explains the difference between future vs. current objections and what they signal to sellers. Current objections signal that there may not be any or enough ‘pain.’ For example, with a CRM purchase, perhaps the prospect is OK with continuing to run their business on spreadsheets and post-it notes. A future objection is the what if – “what things could go wrong if I buy?” In the case of CRM, an example would be “what if the implementation fails?” Jen further shared the need to flip the script on objections. They are not a dead end, but rather they are in fact feedback for you as a seller. If you have recurring objections, perhaps it’s time to revisit your outreach, your messaging, or your target audience. 2024 Sales Resolution #2: Love my personal pipeline report Everyone has heard sellers lament that the pipeline report is ‘busywork’ and not something they derive value from. It’s something they do for their manager, weekly or biweekly, out of obligation. Jen feels like this is a big miss, since it’s the only opportunity to look over the body of your work, rather than deal by deal. Revisiting your pipeline report over time can help savvy sellers see trends and react to them. She shared something she learned by looking at her pipeline report as a seller was viewing closed won and lost and pipeline trends. With this view, you can see where in the pipeline there was some velocity and where perhaps there are slow-downs. These are patterns that you may not see looking deal-by-deal. There are lessons in there for the sellers who are open to them. Your resolution is in this mantra: Your pipeline report is a tool you can use and analyze to learn patterns in your processes. 2024 Sales Resolution #3: Embrace COI Chip shared some recent data from Gartner that estimates that 40-60% of B2B buying journeys end in ‘no decision.’ This means that B2B sellers are losing to the status quo more frequently than any other real competitor. When selling against the status quo, sellers need to show the negative consequences of it. Jen has coined this as “COI” or Cost of Inaction. Sellers need to learn how to paint a picture where the pain of the same is greater than the pain of change. So often, sellers are pitching ROI which could possibly happen vs. COI which is real and will happen. Indecision is a byproduct of risk, meaning buyers stick with the status quo to avoid risk. Therefore it is part of the seller’s job to derisk the buying process. This is a shift that sellers will need to make, so being aware of COI and how to sell against the status quo is a resolution for 2024. 2024 Sales Resolution #4: Make real email magic As mentioned above, email regulations are likely going to change again soon, given the proposed anti-spam initiatives that Yahoo and Google rolled out in early 2024. Sellers need to be writing personalized, powerful emails every day in order to cut through the noise. Writing emails that work and embrace COI is on your resolution list for sure. It also pays to see what tech is out there to help you write better emails (e.g. Lavender.ai.). Jen also shared her outlook on problem prompting – assessing whether or not a problem exists within an organization prior to offering a solution. This can save sellers a lot of time since many people are willing to hear a pitch even if they don’t have enough pain at the time that makes it a priority. If sellers can research to determine if the pain exists first, they can save a lot of time and a lot of pitching to the wrong people. 2024 Sales Resolution #5: Finally commit to social selling 2024 is the year to get your social game off the ground. Chip talked about the power of your personal brand via social selling. Jen explained what she calls social ‘sparking’ which is using social media as a place to discuss ideas, offer guidance and create awareness of a brand without pitching or overtly selling. An area she particularly recommends is groups and communities where sellers can join and listen to hear what concerns their ICP has and how people in their ICP are reaching out to peers for advice. LinkedIn still reigns supreme in 2024 for business social, so whether or not your ICP is on LinkedIn, it’s time to engage. If you don’t get LinkedIn Sales Navigator from your company, it’s time to pay for it yourself according to the experts. Learn time blocking tips (e.g. spending 1 hour per day engaging on social media) is a great way to build up that discipline. Another great use for LinkedIn is to follow job change announcements. Has someone you sold to changed to another company? That could be a great time to engage and see if they need your services in their new gig. Chip pointed to experts Mandy McEwen and Sam McKenna for more tips like these. What’s next? 2024 is in full swing. Get out there with these resolutions are start your best year yet of selling. And if a new CRM is on your horizon, or if you’re simply tired of the one you have, check out Insightly with a free trial, a demo on demand, or a personalized demo. Customer Relationships | Sales team | Trends Val Riley Val Riley is a tech marketer with more than 20 years of experience. She specializes in Content Marketing at Insightly and previously worked for a marketing automation platform as head of Product and Content Marketing. Also known as The Decaf Marketer, Val is a regular contributor on LinkedIn.