Sales News

The State of Sales 2022 🧐

Fresh thinking will marry the conventional, making the sales profession a go-to career for the ambitious and driven.

January 29, 2022

The State of Sales 2022

If 2021 was the year of Product-Led Growth, 2022 makes a transition to a new acronym – PLS – Product-Led Sales. Why the transition? Too many high-growth "PLG" companies like Asana, DataDog, HashiCorp, MongoDB, and Zoom have discovered a layered-on sales team is necessary to keep meteoric growth rates going.  

We scoured this hot-off-the-press sales benchmark report for other vital insights. In summary, fresh thinking will marry the conventional, making the sales profession a go-to career for the ambitious and driven. Let's go!

Go-To-Market Strategy

Over 85% of SaaS sales teams have a product-led growth motion or are moving to one, and 97% say sales are a central part of their GTM strategy. The myth that "products sell themselves" or that PLG companies don't need sales has been debunked.

Inbound and Outbound Segmentation Still Common

Almost three in four organizations have an inbound sales team. And the outbound sales motion is alive and well, with 44% of companies having a dedicated team to capture market whitespace.

PQLs Gain on MQLs

A new lead-gen type appears to be gaining in popularity – product-qualified leads. Hot on the heels of the more traditional marketing-qualified lead, look for product teams to become as essential as marketing over the next few years. Responsibilities for marketers may shift from top-of-the-funnel vanity metrics to building brand power.

The New Definition of Enterprise Sales

Long synonymous with field sales, selling face-to-face, and closing six and seven-figure deals, the enterprise sale enters a new era. Today, enterprise sales teams help potential customers implement products and services company-wide regardless of their size or the deal value. Over 80% funnel inquiring customers to "contact sales."

The Sales Tech Stack Starts with the CRM

Not surprisingly, Salesforce is still the category leader, but HubSpot appears to be gaining market share. Surprisingly, almost 5% say they sell without a database of some kind. Our customer data seems to infinitely grow, so look for sales teams to hire more support roles like CRM administrators, deal desk analysts, and contract operations.

Building a Sales Team

Almost eight in ten CEOs and founders make their first sales hire before revenue reaches $1 million. If any of us have taken this role, we know the title goes out the window on Day 1. The job is typically a grind that involves a prospecting-first mindset but makes for an exhilarating ride when equity is involved! The emerging "Sales-Assist" role sells and closes deals by getting users to adopt the product.

As revenue grows, so does the team. Here are the five most dominant hires:

  1. Account Executive (close new customers)
  2. Account Manager (drive expansion with customers)
  3. Customer Success Manager (keep customers happy but don't sell)
  4. Sales Development Rep (qualify leads and set meetings)
  5. Sales Operations (support and execute sales strategy)

The most progressive sales teams will prioritize career pathing, learning and development, and role tiering for more frequent promotions. And those promotions might appear more like a spider web of lateral moves rather than the traditional step into management.

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