Sales Is Tough: How to Adapt to the Current State of the Market

When we look back at mid to late 2022, will we see the start of a major recession or a small market correction?

No one knows for sure.

What we do know is that because of this uncertainty, selling is hard right now.

So, we sat down with Asad Zaman, CEO of Sales Talent Agency, during our latest installment of the Closing Show Live. We uncovered the current state of the market and what sellers can do about it.

Click here to watch the full interview, or keep reading for Asad’s best tips.

Blog showing an individual thinking about the state of the market

The difficult state we’re - broken down

Asad recommends that we use a three-year outlook to really understand what’s currently happening. We just went through a pandemic with drastic spending freezes, then a time period of rapid growth and high demand for technology, and now we’re dealing with the correction of that demand.

Companies are being more prudent with their finances, either because they’re struggling or they’re expecting the economy to get worse. Expenses are scrutinized more closely, making life difficult for sellers. This in turn impacts layoffs, hiring freezes, and competition for open roles.

Hiring is one of the first things to be negatively impacted by an economic downturn, so Asad has seen the changes firsthand.

“Last year, employers had no leverage. I saw mid-market reps move from a 90K base to a 170K base. Companies made nonsensical moves like that because they had no other choice. Now, things are more balanced and employees don’t have as much leverage as they did last year.” - Asad Zaman

It’s not all bad news—here are 7 positive takeaways

Asad urges us to remember that some sectors are doing a lot stronger than we thought. Opportunities abound.

1. There are still plenty of jobs

There’s an overall sentiment that the market is terrible, and we’re in a full-blown recession. But the numbers tell a (hopefully) less dire story. There are still tons of new jobs for sales professionals, especially in tech.

“There’s enough demand for you to find a job. 28,000 software sales jobs posted in North America over the last 7 days.” - Asad Zaman

2. The best jobs can be won with your sales skills

Of all of the new jobs posted recently, 5 to 10% of them are the best of the best, in terms of earning potential, career possibilities, and working conditions.

To get these kinds of jobs, you can’t just apply and cross your fingers.

“You need to treat getting the best jobs like a sales professional treats getting a big client. You need to message the hiring manager, you need to have a cadence, it needs to be interesting and well written You need to pick up the phone.” - Asad Zaman

3. You can position yourself as an expert in this market

At this point in time, everyone is thinking about risk management. Especially hiring managers. To get a great job, position yourself as someone who will help reduce risks, instead of adding to them.

You should prepare for interviews more thoroughly than last year, when there was far less competition for great jobs. Make sure to discuss your expertise in closing during times of economic downturn.

“You have to recognize the market you’re in and recognize that companies are looking for salespeople that know how to drive demand and close deals in this market, and you need to be able to talk to that.” - Asad Zaman

4. More secure sectors will transform your career

During challenging economic times, it’s wise to take a step back and see which industries and sectors are performing well right now. These industries are important enough for executives to consider them as essential spending.

If you ensure that your next role is in a secure industry, you could set up your entire career for steady success.

Asad predicts that cybersecurity, sales tech, hybrid remote work solutions, and anything related to improving supply chains will continue to perform well in the coming year.

5. There are tons of opportunities to solve problems for sales professionals

As mentioned above, Asad thinks sales tech will be one of the sectors that perform well during this difficult environment. That’s because there are so many elements of sales that need to be improved and optimized to overcome current challenges. By the same token, sales enablement and sales operations roles will likely grow, as more companies seek to empower their teams.

Use this information to help you bring even more value to your current role. How can you make the sales experience better?

6. With difficulty, comes adaptability

We’ve all been through a lot. But due to the rapid market changes that have occurred over the past 3 years, we’ve all gotten savvier and more flexible.

We can use this moment as a learning opportunity. Consider it a crash course in success no matter the economic environment.

“Economies are cyclical in nature. Previous generations would see those cycles happening every ten years. You really couldn’t develop a lot of muscles around how to recognize this before it became a problem. We’ve had three extreme moments in three years, an economic shutdown, a boom afterwards, and now a correction again. We get to learn more during this period about how to manage our risk into the future. We should develop skills that drive demand and help us close deals at a favorable rate.” - Asad Zaman

7. A small bit of good news could turn everything around

Although it’s undoubtedly a tougher climate than it was last year, not all hope is lost.

A lot of companies are making decisions on market sentiment, not necessarily their own financial losses. We might be one headline away from spending that strikes the right balance between frugal and liberal.

“If we get 3 inflation ratings that all drop, you will see market sentiment change significantly. We’re moving towards that.” - Asad Zaman

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Sales Is Tough: How to Adapt to the Current State of the Market

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