10 Digital Sales Trends to Watch in 2023

Here we are at the start of 2023. A new year. A fresh start! And with it comes more opportunities and challenges for us to address.

As I look forward to 2023, there are a handful of significant trends I see happening in the world of digital sales and marketing. In this post, I share the ten most important trends to watch and explain how they might affect your business. 

1. Short-Form Videos Dominate 

Social media platforms are taking note of the rapid rise in the success of TikTok. They’ve seen how short-form video content can quickly attract, and keep engaged, a large number of users. In response, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are likely to actively encourage their users to publish short-form videos in 2023. 

What does this mean for you? Now would be an excellent time to begin experimenting with short-form videos. Check out TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube shorts to see the different styles of short-form videos you can create. 

2. Social Selling Goes Mainstream 

Many business owners and sales managers had previously been on the fence about social selling. “Is it actually effective, or are my sales reps just wasting time on social media?” was the question being asked behind closed doors. But those days are over. Smart businesses “get it” now and understand the value of using social channels to develop relationships and manage the sales process. 

What does this mean for you? You need to know how to do social selling. You don’t need to be a major social media influencer, but you should be active and visible online. And if your company doesn’t support social selling, it might be a good indicator that it’s time you find a new job at a more modern company. 

3. Email Opens Get More Evasive 

I’ve always said that email marketing is one of the most underutilized tools in digital sales. It’s a list you own, with complete control over the content/design. But with advancements in email anti-spam technology and general email inbox behavior changes, the ability to get opens on your email sends is getting more difficult. If your emails are spammy or your list is not clean, there is a good chance it’s hurting your open rates.

What does this mean for you? You need to be intentional with your email marketing strategy. Your sales and marketing teams need an organized list of opted-in contacts in the CRM. When you do your sends, always run it through a professional email service using a verified domain. And, of course, NEVER send spam emails to an unproven list. 

4. Less Organic Search Clicks

Google’s search engine results page (SERP) has become more and more challenging to battle with each year. My prediction: 2023 will be no different. 

Google continues introducing more paid ads, featured snippets, and “instant-answer” style content to the page. This ultimately leads to fewer organic clicks from the results page to external websites. 

google search click graph

What does this mean for you? Expect more competition in organic search. You can increase your organic visibility by regularly creating great content, optimizing for SEO, and formatting your content for featured snippets. You also may need/want to supplement your organic search with paid ads for high-intent keywords. 

5. More Touchpoints in the Sales Cycle 

Budgets are getting tighter, and purchase decisions are getting scrutinized more. This likely means that your job of selling will become more difficult in 2023. Expect more touch points in the selling process, as your buyer has to understand the ROI of your offering fully, and all stakeholders involved are comfortable with the purchase.

What does this mean for you? You’ll be dealing with more customers facing anxieties about moving forward with your deals. Your job will be part salesperson, and part therapist, while you help understand the root of their fears and address them head-on. Digital content like educational blogs and webinars can provide excellent material to help relieve some of these concerns. 

6. Chat Adoption Continues

Online chat is slowly becoming the preferred method of communication for online users on websites and social media. It’s faster than email but doesn’t require your full attention like a phone call. And, god knows, many younger people are afraid of picking up the phone.

Chat functionality comes in a few different forms. The most common is live chat, where you can connect directly with prospects and customers via a website software add-on. The other is using Chat Bots, which are typically logic or AI-controlled, and provide pre-programmed responses to your users. 

What does this mean for you? It might be a good idea to add chat functionality to your website in 2023. Consider who your audience is, your ability to staff the chat program, and what chat software you have access to (some CRM platforms offer it). 

7. Return to In-Person Events 

Most in-person events came back in 2022 after a COVID hiatus in 2020 and 2021. And boy, did it feel good to see people again. In 2023, I’d expect even more events to finally move back in person, with the fear of having to cancel finally being (mostly) gone. 

What does this mean for you? While in-person events are not “digital” by function, your digital strategy around them is still essential. As you meet with people, are you connecting on Linkedin after? Adding them to your CRM? What is your marketing strategy to follow up with the list of attendees? Be sure to leverage digital channels to maximize your outcomes from in-person events. 

8. Intelligence and Automation Arrive 

Software is getting smart. In 2022, artificial intelligence writing tools like ChatGPT showed the world that AI-powered software could transform our work. In 2023, I see the acceleration of intelligence and automation accelerating.

While AI can’t do ALL the work for you, it can help you better prospect and message potential buyers. In particular, CRM and sales intelligence software have great tools to help you find the right contacts and personalize your campaigns to reach them. While these tools take some setup to get started, they can pay dividends in their results. 

What does this mean for you? Embrace intelligent software. Dig into what your CRM and marketing platforms offer, and see if they can help you enhance your sales process. 

9. Creators Fate in Flux

The “creator” economy blossomed in the wake of COVID and continues to be a significant driver of engagement on social media platforms. But now, social media platforms are unsure what to do with them. Do they continue to let creators dominate their platforms? Should they be paying them to incentivize certain content? How much can they change without upsetting creators? There are a lot of questions to be answered and strategies to be hashed out regarding how social media giants will treat creators in 2023. 

What does this mean to you? If you are a creator yourself, a lot! It means that your content might have a drastically different reach in 2023. It also means you might be able to monetize your content more easily. We don’t know for sure yet. If you are not a creator, then not much will change. Perhaps you’ll notice a general shift in who you see in your social media feeds, though. 

10. Job Market Divides

The job market was HOT for sales and marketing folk in 2021 and 2022. But in 2023, things will likely change. Facing more economic challenges, many companies will be more cautious about hiring. Likely, the job market will divide. Underskilled people will begin to have a challenging time getting hired. But with many job openings still available, skilled people will continue to be aggressively recruited. 

What does this mean for you? Always be building your skills. If you are near the top of your game, the job market will still be a great place for you.

New Year, Same Fundamentals

While the trends may be changing, it’s still important to keep your eyes on the fundamentals of a good digital sales strategy in the new year:

  1. Educate – Expand your online visibility by creating valuable content that educates your target audience.
  2. Capture – Convert your audience into leads by providing calls to action.
  3. Consult – Be a consultant who solves the root problem your prospect is facing. 

If you create a digital sales funnel for your business, and execute it, 2023 could be a great new year! 

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