Last updated: B2B sales 2023: 5 trends that will make or break your numbers

B2B sales 2023: 5 trends that will make or break your numbers


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For many industries, 2022 was the first real step towards a return to post-pandemic normalcy. Organizations were able to start operating as usual, with fewer shortages as the global supply chain recovered. What can we expect for B2B sales 2023?

While 2022 was marked by recovery, the historically low interest rates that helped organizations drive growth through disruption came at a cost.

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Most global markets saw moderate to severe inflation throughout 2022, which quickly led to a rapid increase in interest rates. For example, the US Federal Reserve raised rates to the highest level since 2007 and signaled more hikes this year. Interest rates tend to have a reverse correlation with the stock market and many organizations faced rapid devaluation.

The S&P 500 lost 19.4%, notching its worst year since 2008. If you mix in inflation and ongoing global conflict, you have a socioeconomic recipe for a contracting market.

B2B sales 2023: 5 trends

With these market conditions in mind, here are the trends that will impact how leading organizations work toward their B2B sales goals next year.

  1. Focus will drive sales success
  2. Seller support will increase
  3. Mobile-first is transitioning to omnichannel
  4. New partnerships will emerge
  5. Bundle selling will be replaced with tactical offers with upsell

1. Eyes on the prize: Seller focus drives success

With interest rates high and stock valuations low, most organizations reduce budgets, which immediately impacts B2B sales pipeline.

According to survey of economists by Bloomberg, there’s a 70% chance the US will fall into a recession in 2023.

Potential deals may no longer be in scope or may be delayed. Overall, sales organizations face less potential business, so it becomes more critical that they spend their time wisely.

Sales organizations will tackle this challenge head on and quickly work to re-validate pipeline. From this exercise, the total pool will be more refined, allowing sellers to implement targeted account based marketing (ABM) campaigns.

Best-in-class organizations will use intelligent next-best action recommendations in conjunction with data-driven signals to identify intent for real time engagement. The more intelligently sales organizations can focus their sales efforts, the more success they will find in 2023.

2. No more guesswork: B2B sales  in 2023

Similar to sharpening seller focus, sales organizations will need to improve the quality of sales interactions and increase the overall rate of interaction success.

Less market opportunity often increases competitive pressure, which makes each seller touchpoint more crucial. Sales leaders will focus on account team collaboration and whitespacing to improve engagement.

They’ll work to remove as much guesswork as possible, leveraging guided selling, dynamic call scripts, engagement recommendations, and proactive sales coaching to improve sales interactions and win rate.

46% of sales managers and directors say that improvements in sales infrastructure and technology will boost their ability to achieve or exceed sales quotas, according to Forrester.

3. More than mobile: Omnichannel selling

With many organizations quickly shifting from traditional in person B2B selling to digitally-enabled remote selling in 2020, sales organizations discovered weaknesses and gaps in their sales process.

In 2023, sales organizations will need to fill these gaps and adopt a more seamless omnichannel sales model that helps sellers engage buyers on their terms, via the channel of their choice.

A McKinsey study found that B2B customers now regularly use ten or more channels to interact with suppliers, up from five in 2016.

Omnichannel selling (also called multi-experience selling) blurs the line between mobile, digital, physical, and B2B e-commerce into one unified and connected journey.

Effective omnichannel selling won’t grab the lions share of the market in 2023, but organizations that are able to start adapting a truly connected sales approach will enter 2024 and beyond with a serious competitive advantage.

4. More partnerships, new and renewed

With new challenges and smaller budgets, B2B sales organizations face the challenge of doing more with less, which makes strategic partnerships a very attractive option for expanding reach without expanding budgets.

B2B sales in 2023 will be a year of renewed partnerships and co-offerings, as well as a year where new partnerships emerge.

Top sales organizations will aggressively do both while leveraging prospect data (in line with GDPR and other data governance regulations) to refine focus and drive lead traffic.

Along these lines, organizations adopt a digital conferencing solution with deep integration to sales CRM will see the added benefit of better collaboration and engagement (like digital deal rooms).

5. From bundles to tactical offers

Tighter budgets mean more steps in B2B sales cycles and more scrutiny at every stage of the buyer’s journey, not to mention more stakeholders, but the big deal breaker in a contracting market is the final price tag.

In both consumer and B2B sales, bundle selling can be a highly effective way to sell more with fewer rounds at the negotiating table. But when budgetary constraints and cost pressure are an issue, a more strategic approach is needed.

Sales teams in 2023 will take a more focused approach, providing prospects with tactical, value-centric offerings that solve an immediate need. These offerings should have a built-in, logical set of containerized upsell options that can be added or removed easily, at any stage of the journey.

Leading organizations will make this simple with product recommendations, intuitive configure, price, quote (CPQ), and insight into inventory/availability. With this approach, sellers can expand and contract deals to navigate past objections, and easily present upsell opportunities as a structured follow up.

For example, after closing a deal that only contained the core offering, a seller could tell a customer, “I’m glad we were able to help you take care of this. I’ve put a note in my calendar to follow up with you in three months to make sure this took care of all your problems, and we can see if the Serenity Upgrade makes sense then.”

Tactical selling delivers incremental revenue that every sales organizations needs while laying the foundation for continued success despite tough market conditions.

According to Forrester, three times as many CMOs will make customer health a top priority, tilting B2B growth strategies heavily toward retention, cross-sell, and upsell revenues. 

What about social selling and freemium services?

Social selling can be effective, but needs a highly organized execution plan and a big chunk of dollars for paid spend. Organic social selling is highly limited to network reach and tends to mostly be a ecosystem of peers from the same industry.

Similarly, freemium as a business model tends to have mixed success and in most cases requires a dedicated team for conversion, including new training, staffing, and management to support it.

In both cases, organizations would need to spend a good deal of time and effort, and would see limited, short-term (one to three year) revenue return.

B2B sales 2023: Vision and execution

With market conditions as they are, sales orgs need to stay focused on driving immediate revenue to combat inflation and additional negative stock price fluctuation.

Focused selling, sales rep support, omnichannel, partnerships, and tactical offers will deliver results that move the needle.

The technical backbone behind these trends like artificial intelligence, machine learning, embedded collaboration, sales/process automation are also worth considering, but vision and execution will be the critical factor in 2023.

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