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The best sales insights of 2023

December 19, 2023
Dan Morgese

Dan Morgese

Director, Content Strategy and Research

Revenue Intelligence Sales Engagement Sales Strategies

This article is part of the Gong Labs series, where we publish findings from our data research team. We analyze sales conversations and deals using the Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform’s proprietary AI, then share the results to help you win more deals. Subscribe here to read upcoming research.

From shifting buying behaviors to the best way to personalize your next email.

We covered a lot in 2023. 

The Gong Labs team was hard at work, analyzing millions of sales interactions in the past 12 months to bring you insights that help you win more deals. 

In case you missed any (or just need a refresher), here’s a look at this year’s rundown of the Gong Labs data you found most helpful in the past 12 months. 

Use them to finish the year strong and build a winning sales strategy in 2024.

Here’s this year’s Gong Labs, wrapped…

You made the most of every customer interaction.

The number of interactions buyers had with sellers decreased in 2022, which meant they completed more of their journey solo. With a dramatic increase in the number of self-guided interactions, they’re doing research, consuming content, and consulting peers and reviews long before they even engage with a rep from a supplier. 

In fact, Gartner found nearly 3 out of 4 buyers preferred to make a purchase without ever engaging with a sales rep. 

Our data showed that this decrease in seller interactions was two-fold. In 2022, sales reps had fewer active deals that they were working, while the average number of meetings/calls per deal had also decreased. Factoring both, on average, reps saw a 36% decrease in the total number of interactions with buyers compared to 2020.

While these numbers still might be alarming, they actually highlight the critical role a seller continues to have throughout the buyer’s journey. 

When buyers do engage with a seller, they are looking to make sense of information consumed during their hours of self-led research. As a rep, you’re helping them contextualize what they’ve heard and read, provide answers they haven’t been able to find on their own and act as a trusted advisor to help them select the best solution for their organization.

This was highlighted by the substantial increase in average call duration. Virtual sales meetings and calls were 15% longer on average in 2022 when compared to 2020, signaling that the perceived value for buyers is worth their time to make the right decision.

As we head into 2024, use this to your advantage. Working fewer opportunities allows sellers to shift the focus from quantity to quality. With the ever-growing complexity of the B2B buyer’s journey, reps can ensure they are multi-threading, driving next steps, and comprehensive in their follow-ups.

You leveraged competitive mentions as a key buying signal.

No one loves talking about the competition. But when they’re discussed early on, it’s a good thing. (Not so for late-stage mentions, but we’ll get there in a minute.)

Early mentions of the competition increase the odds of winning an enterprise deal by 32% over not discussing the competition:

When competitors are discussed early in the cycle, it’s a positive signal that the buyer has real intent to buy. Congrats! If they know other players in the space, they most likely are educated on your offering and understand the problem it solves. 

Alternatively, if the competition isn’t mentioned early on, that could be a sign that the buyer isn’t actually serious… and that the deal might not belong in your forecast just yet. Drill down to assess what’s happening. If the competition wasn’t mentioned, have the rep ask about the buyer’s evaluation process. (Some reps use MEDDICC to ensure their pipeline is truly qualified.) 

Use this competitive intelligence as qualification criteria in the new year.

You mastered pricing conversations to close more deals.

As deals got more competitive in 2023, nailing a pricing strategy was essential to success. With budgets tightening and increased scrutiny on purchases from finance, it was critical that reps master pricing discussions in order to be successful.

But how critical?

With this increased emphasis on value, our data showed that time spent on pricing conversations and negotiations had increased 62% over the past two years.

Want to handle pricing conversations with more confidence next year? 

Take a look at the 10 golden rules to follow in any pricing conversation. Each is backed by data from Gong Labs to understand what gets deals done, even with price-conscious buyers.

You talked to more executives than ever before.

In 2023, executives became more involved in the buying process. Since 2020, we’ve seen a 55% increase in the number of won deals where VP+ personas participated in one or more sales meetings.

Our data shows that this executive presence increases the likelihood of your deal closing. In 2022, win rates doubled in deals with CXOs involved compared to those without executive involvement on the buyer’s side. 

Continue to multi-thread deep into accounts and higher up the org chart. It will continue to be critical to close more business.

Jamal Reimer, an influential mastermind in the enterprise seller community, broke it all down for us earlier this year in an insights-packed webinar. Check it out and use his secrets to start your year strong.

You honed your email personalization strategies.

With execs getting more involved in deals, understanding how to get them engaged is critical. This includes using the right approach to email personalization. Our data shows that company-based personalization boosts replies from people who are higher up the org chart. 

In fact, engaging executive buyers (directors and above) using a company-specific topic tripled prospecting email reply rates.

It makes sense why this works so well with leaders. Consider what’s top of mind for them: They’re responsible for delivering on the business’s strategic priorities. By researching company websites, press releases, and financial reports, you can zero in on their organization’s big bets. 

This approach shows you’ve taken the time to truly understand their needs, which gives you credibility and allows you to showcase how your offering can help them deliver and exceed their business goals.

With SPAM concerns at the top of many revenue organizations’ minds, mastering email personalization will continue to set you apart from the competition.

We’ll see you with more insights next year!

There’s no doubt that it has been a challenging year for many sales organizations. But by harnessing customer interactions, we can derive insights that allow us to replicate success and win more revenue. We hope this data helped make you a better seller in 2023. 

From all of us at the Gong Labs team, we hope you have a warm holiday season and a prosperous new year. Happy selling in 2024!

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