March 13, 2023

5 Top Tech Executives Share Insights on SaaS Sales in 2023

The B2B sales landscape has undergone a major transformation in the past year. With the rise of hybrid work environments, shifts in customer behavior, and economic challenges impacting the tech sector, it's more crucial than ever for sales organizations to adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

To help your team succeed in the new economy, we're excited to share an exclusive opportunity! Leading executives from New Breed, HubSpot, Semrush, Teamwork, and SaaSWorks joined a fireside chat to discuss the future of sales and share their invaluable insights. For specific examples and actionable tactics you can start using with your teams, watch the full episode of "How to Streamline, Motivate, and Tech-Enable Your Sales Team" below.

SME Insights on the New SaaS Landscape

#1 As the sales landscape evolves, take note of changing customer behavior. Customers expect more guidance and support from sales reps, which can result in longer sales cycles and increasing push rates. In response, successful teams are updating their approach to discovery, land-and-expand, and empathic selling.

#2 To provide customers with a seamless buying experience, minimize human involvement, tailor the experience to their needs, and leverage automation. like the emerging AI tools. This approach lets buyers engage at their own pace and ensures a personalized experience that reflects unique requirements.

#3 As buying committees are growing, sellers need to pitch to new personas. It's worth the time to understand the ICPs, personas and decision makers in your sales cycle and train your team.

#4 Data-driven performance management, setting clear expectations, providing coaching and support, and celebrating top performers can help motivate sales teams in challenging markets.

#5 Exploring the use of chat to engage with customers and build bots, using lead routing tools to refine distribution, and shortening the buying process with workflow automation can help test and improve the tech enablement of the sales motion.

The Sales Leader's Guide to Selling in 2023: Download Your Free Copy

Top Sales and Revenue Challenges in 2023

Sales teams face significant challenges due to changing customer expectations and the evolving sales landscape:

  • Modern buyers seek out more information from trusted consultants before making a purchase, resulting in longer sales cycles with more stakeholders. With each additional decision maker in the process comes a new set of concerns, preferences, and priorities that need addressing.
  • Leads backing out last minute has also become a common trend, leading to lost opportunities and revenue. This trend can be attributed to several factors, including growing competition, more information and self-education opportunities online, and the desire for more thorough and personal buying experiences.
  • As a result, sales reps are finding it increasingly difficult to predict monthly revenue, develop accurate quota forecasts, and allocate resources effectively.

  • A significant number of sales professionals in the current talent pool have limited experience with the buyer's cycle outside a growth economy, and they're finding it challenging to adapt to the new environment.

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To address these challenges, Tara DiCristo-Schmitt, the VP of NAM Small Business Sales at HubSpot, suggests focusing on strategies that prioritize empathy, streamline the sales cycle, and manage indecision.

By assessing customers to gain a better understanding of their mindset, creating joint evaluation plans, and providing recommendations to establish trust, sales reps can close more deals. It's also crucial for sales leaders to coach their teams for future changes and upcycles.

The Sales Leader's Guide to Selling in 2023: Download Your Free Copy

Driving Efficiency in the Sales Process

To meet the ever-changing needs of modern customers, sales leaders must prioritize better sales management with smarter use of tech and data. Channing Ferrer, the CSO at Semrush, recommends creating a personalized "hands-off" engagement model that allows leads to interact with brands at their own pace without hindering the process with excessive engagement.

The ultimate goal is to enhance the buying experience by offering opportunities for self-education and involving sales reps at optimal times. To achieve these objectives, Channing recommends leveraging MarTech tools such as sales sequences, workflows, chatbots, and SMS automation.

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Managing Upmarket and Enterprise Deals

Expanding into new markets and managing enterprise deals can be a daunting task. The panel of experts advises sales leaders to be intentional, strategic, and patient in laying a solid foundation and delivering an exceptional customer experience. It is also essential to prioritize the needs of existing customers when expanding into new markets.

Suneet Bhatt, CCO at SaaSWorks, shared his approach to enterprise deals and going upmarket. He emphasized the importance of taking stock of existing businesses and understanding the needs of the current customer base. Suneet also discussed the growing need for discipline and not chasing easy revenue for deals that will be challenging to implement or renew.

SaaSWork's approach to both closing deals faster and implementing them better is to establish a growth roadmap with natural extensions for the customer.

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Performance Management and Retention

The experts highlighted the significance of implementing impactful tactics to enhance team alignment, morale, and retention. Celebrating top performers, providing proactive coaching and support, and fostering a positive work environment were among the top recommendations to achieve a cohesive and motivated sales team.

Beau Brooks, VP of Sales at Teamwork, emphasized the positive impact of his team's weekly film reviews, where they listen to sales calls and share constructive feedback. Teamwork also redesigned its reporting structure to focus on metrics such as deal cycle length and push rate, which are also reviewed weekly based on HubSpot CRM's data insights.
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Motivating and managing remote or hybrid sales teams requires innovative strategies. The experts suggest implementing formal incentive programs and offering opportunities for greater business ownership to foster engagement and alignment.

To foster a positive and engaging work environment, Patrick Biddiscombe, CEO at New Breed, proposes using tech creatively to enhance team events. New Breed's sales gamification app UPonent, for instance, offers KPI challenges and leaderboards, and plays a "win song" on Slack every time a deal is closed, to recreate the energy and camaraderie of a traditional sales floor.

The Sales Leader's Guide to Selling in 2023: Download Your Free Copy

Testing Out Tech-Enabled Sales Process

The panel of sales leaders shared innovative ways to evaluate the effectiveness of tech enablement in their teams. Channing recommended utilizing chat to improve customer engagement and simplify sales procedures. This conversational approach allows for personalized communication, gaining insights into customer needs, and sharing brief demo clips to expedite the buying process. 

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To speed up the sales process, lead routing automation can be used to ensure leads are directed to the most suitable account executive at the optimal time.

Beau shared that New Breed's lead routing app, Distributely, can strategically assign leads and experiment with how they are distributed among the team. In addition, Beau emphasized the significance of streamlining lead distribution to ensure they reach the appropriate account executive at the perfect time, without any unnecessary steps.

The Takeaway

To thrive in the constantly evolving sales arena, revenue leaders must cultivate empathy, utilize data-driven performance management, lead with a strategic vision, generate innovative ideas, and use tools that can adapt to their dynamic operations. 

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Elizaveta Shkurina

Sr Creative Strategist specializing in B2B brand creation, sales enablement, and SaaS demand generation. With 8 years of experience, she excels in driving ROI and revenue-driven KPIs through collaborative innovation.

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