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The 5 Worst Things Sales Reps Can Do in 2023

Kyle Boyd

Jan 10, 2023

The new year is here, and while some sales reps might be glad to put an end to a tumultuous 2022, it looks as if 2023 will come with its own unique challenges.

To be sure, there are signs that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, but it would be misleading to say that everything looks as if it’s on the up and up. Time will tell, but it’s safe to say that 2023 won’t be a year for coasting, (if any year ever truly is).

But there’s no reason that sales reps can’t make 2023 a record-setting year for themselves and for their companies. It will take hard work, a smarter approach, and going above and beyond, but those who are willing to put their nose to the grindstone and avoid miscalculating about the state of the economy and the business world will be able to break through and not miss a beat.

So what are those miscalculations that can hold sales reps back in 2023? We’ve put together a quick list of the worst mistakes sales reps can make this year. If you take stock of these and are able to take the opposite approach, then 2023 should be a year of success and big commission checks.

Here are the five worst things sales reps can do in 2023:

1. Wait for leads to come to you

If you’ve relied on your marketing team or hardworking BDRs to bring you new business, then you’ll need to adjust your expectations in 2023. As things slow down, leads will become more scarce and more valuable, which means that much of your time should be spent prospecting. When things get more difficult, pipeline is the only cure, and if you’re used to sitting back while the leads trickle in, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure in a downturn.

Start prospecting as aggressively as possible. If you do, then you’ll have the pipeline to smash your goals in the new year. If not, then you’ll just be another casualty of a down market.

2. Sell “nice-to-have” products / services

When the economy is going gangbusters, it’s easier to sell shiny objects, as evidenced by the madness we saw in 2021. Now that the tide has pulled back, it’s only the companies that solve real problems that remain in a strong position, while the ones that were considered “nice-to-haves” don’t get renewed, don’t get bought, and are left scrambling to try to find a way to survive.

Take stock of what you sell; if it solves a real problem, then 2023 can be a good year. If not, you might want to consider finding a company that does.

3. Avoid ROI conversations

Similar to the above, in 2023, you’ll no longer be able to get away with discussing your product in abstract terms without going into specifics on what kind of value your buyer can expect.

Discussing return on investment will become critical, as most buyers will have their CFO involved in buying decisions. And if you can’t directly show how your product will either make them money or save them money, then it’s unlikely you’ll get the accounting department’s sign-off on a deal.

This is an opportunity to come prepared, and if you can tell a compelling ROI story, then you’re bound to have a successful year.

4. Assume that one champion is enough

Internal champions can be the key to breaking through within an organization. But you can no longer rely on one champion to get you over the finish line as purchasing conversations have become more strict, complex, and precarious.

Not only that, but there is quite a bit of turnover happening at most companies, which means there’s a not-so-small chance that your champion might not even be at the company at some point.

This is why you need to multi-thread on all your deals, and build relationships with all the key stakeholders, not just with your internal champion. If you take the time to do this and to do it correctly, you’ll give yourself a great shot at winning the deal and having a banner year.

5. Think short-term

It can be challenging to look at the big picture when we have looming quotas, demanding sales managers, and our own bills to consider. But most deals don’t happen overnight, especially when belts get tightened and more people get involved.

This is why the reps who are able to balance short-term wins with longer-term efforts will be the ones that succeed. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, but the second best time is today, which is the approach all successful reps need to take.

Prospect every day; keep conversations moving; plant trees at every opportunity. And what will happen over the long term is that these trees will bear fruit in the form of interested prospects and closed deals. Succeed in the short-term but think long-term — it’s the best way to have a great year and a successful career.

Finally, a sales process that gives you the freedom to sell.

Use Dooly to keep your deals on track, and your manager off your back.

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Kyle Boyd

Kyle is a snow-chasing, beer-seeking, disc-golfing copywriter & marketer born and raised in Colorado Springs. Kyle began his journey writing and producing car commercials before going full SaaS. He'll get physically uneasy if he sees you use “your” and “you’re” incorrectly. When he's not getting creative with marketing strategy and content, you'll find Kyle sampling the newest IPA, floating on some fresh pow, or enjoying downtime with his wife, 2 children, and labradoodle Pickle.