What Can We Expect of Sales Agility in 2023 and 2022 Recap

Well, here we are at the end of 2022 and wow! What an interesting year in the sales training industry! Or better stated ‘What aninteresting several years in the sales training industry…?’ We find ourselves in late March 2020 in a global lockdown over the Covid-19 pandemic, an experience those alive today have never encountered. Not since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919 have we seen such global fear. And just like 2020, people in 1919 were required to wear masks and were protesting and fighting the authorities! Ok, back to 2022. Based on VantagePoint’s experience this year, following is a list of trends that emerged in our vertical:

  1. Recession fears and competitive-driven downward price pressures and adjustments, regardless of the out-of-control inflationary pressures
  2. The fears of an impending recession intensify fears that drive recessionary buying behavior – a self-fulfilling prophecy
  3. We’ve seen an exponential increase in Requests for Proposals – seems to be an increased perception of risk in making the right buying decision
  4. Continued plethora of sales technology platforms (the ‘Stack’) – industry consolidation and market leaders beginning to emerge
  5. Technical capabilities far exceed behavioral competencies. The theory is that is why new technology is so underleveraged and the ‘Adoption Curve’ is slowing
  6. There is more emphasis on Front Line Sales Manager development than ever before
  7. ‘Quiet Quitting’ and ‘The Great Resignation’ become buzzwords as workers are more willing to jump ship in increasing frequency
  8. Virtual selling has become widely acceptable and is increasing dramatically
  9. Virtual learning adoption continues to gain more acceptance and continues to increase exponentially. The pandemic accelerated this process
  10. Aggressive competition is resulting in message distortion, thereby confusing the customer
  11. The massive quantity of social media ‘presence’ is being mistaken for expertise in our field (sales) – anyone can be perceived as a ‘guru’

This list is not meant to be all-inclusive as I imagine you have other points to add. Please feel free to do so.

So, what do we think is in store for 2023? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Trends would suggest that companies are beginning to feel a little less concerned about an impending recession. Or, at the very least, executing the strategy of investing now in their sales teams while their competitors pull back on this investment. This in the hopes of coming out stronger on the other side and organically increasing market share.
  2. Sales technology stacks will continue to proliferate the market with outlandish claims of ROI. There will be a further shakeout in the industry and the market leaders will solidify their place in the market.
  3. The sales training space will continue to consolidate, and Private Equity will leverage their buying power to acquire companies with the latest innovative content and integrate that content into sales technology platforms. This is what the industry needs now more than ever!
  4. The ‘Great Resignation’ begins to subside while sales organizations look to backfill vacancies on their teams with graduates with degrees in Sales.
  5. Asynchronous learning in a virtual environment will be a must-have for any sales training company to be successful. TAAS (aka SAAS except ‘Training as a Service) will begin to take hold and be accepted by the buyers. We all know someone doesn’t change behavior just by attending a two-day training workshop, right?
  6. Unfortunately, the social media gurus will continue to gain presence and followers. They just can’t help themselves, I guess! And the audience is always looking for new insight into the sales craft.
  7. Virtual selling across industries will become more of the norm. The days of stopping by a customer’s office and bringing in lunch, etc. are over (for the most part).
  8. Front Line Sales Managers will get the training they need (finally!). We’ve been harping on this since 2011! Hang in there Sales Managers…help is on the way!
  9. The world isn’t what it was prior to 2020 and will continue to rapidly change and evolve. Wars, inflation, and global economic instability will continue and will impact us as humans. We will look for areas of stability and let’s hope we find it!

Happy New Year to you and yours! And much success to you all!