Prospecting by pain, increasing sales effectiveness, and win rate optimisation: Noki’s State of SaaS Sales Report (February ‘23)

4 min readFeb 3, 2023

Each month we talk to hundreds of SaaS salespeople across multiple roles, companies and regions to keep a pulse on the changing nature of sales.

To kick off the New Year we spoke to 122 people across 95 companies (me and Neil have been quite busy this month!), and the conversations we’ve had have been a mix of insightful, vanilla, sometimes a little worrying — but on the whole super inspiring! We’re always so surprised to learn how much sales changes from company to company, team to team, and salesperson to salesperson.

Here’s what we learned:

Low-value tasks make up 80% of SDRs week

  • At least 30% of their time is spent pre-qualifying assigned accounts from the CRM so that they can target companies who indicate a need for their services
  • Upto 50% of their time is spent researching prospects at pre-qualified companies to personalise their outreach, adding them to sequences and experimenting with messaging
  • Side note, not a single SDR said they see this as valuable work, and 85% of sales leaders mentioned that they’re looking to optimise SDR time away from non-revenue generating tasks

The best companies understand that SDR value lies in experimentation, human creativity and originality

  • SDRs want to spend less time on sourcing accounts and more time on experimentation, personalisation and getting creative with their outreach, as an example 89% of SDRs we spoke to said they wanted to use ChatGPT to add creativity to outreach strategy, but were unable to because of the lack of time in their week

Poor conversion rates between first and second calls have risen

  • 45% of AE’s complained that SDRs under pressure from monthly targets often pack top-of-funnel meetings with poorly qualified leads
  • As a result, more qualification and refinement are done on the first call, affecting the conversion between discovery to demo (1st and 2nd call)
  • 22% of SDRs mentioned they have been instructed by sales leaders to conduct 15-minute pre-qualification call for targeted prospects before handing over to an AE

Sales are trying to replicate MQL-level intent data

  • Even though MQLs can be off the mark when it comes to sales, the best sales teams understand that having structured event-based scoring of prospects reduces disappointment and friction down-funnel
  • A few awesome sales teams we spoke to are trying to replicate these triggers in their SQL process, looking extensively across the internet for intent data, event-based triggers and proxies to pre-qualify their outbound prospects before jumping on a call

As the recession bites, sales teams are switching to upsell

  • Interestingly, 33% of sales leaders mentioned that they’re increasingly spending more of their time working existing customers rather than reaching out to new ones, motivated by a harder sales environment and a desire to increase customer ACVs

Sales leaders are optimising by looking to cut sales cycles in half

  • Increasing the quality of qualification at the top-of-funnel through a combination of segmented targeting, account-based research and on-the-call qualification
  • Reducing the number of steps taken to proposal, through doubling up calls with stakeholders and booking longer scoping calls
  • Focus on productisation — 75% of sales teams said they have been overly reliant on selling a platform-level solution with lengthy sales cycles and low conversion, they’re now opting to split up their platform into smaller, digestible value propositions that easier to pitch to prospective customers, and easier to upsell for existing customers

Win rates are becoming even more important, but tweaks are no longer enough

  • Changes to the mid-funnel are seen only as temporary tweaks to wider problems, Sales leaders see the biggest factor affecting the closed won rate as initial targeting — piping quality prospects into the top-of-funnel (i.e. prospects who indicate they have a high need for their services)
  • As a result, Sales leaders are looking to an emergent class of new prospecting tools like, Slintel, Clay and Noki that get them much closer to the ICP bullseye

Massive thanks to everyone involved, we love you guys — you’re legends 🙏🏽

What is Noki?

We’re on a mission to make prospecting simpler. Our AI platform lets any B2B company discover new customers that suffer from the pain they’re solving, using proxies that live across public data on the web.

Like the findings? You can contribute to our research and help bring our mission to life — register your interest here




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