What sets successful sales teams apart from less successful ones? What role does data play? Discover which B2B sales trends will be hot in 2023.
What sets successful sales teams apart from less successful ones? Of course, experience and perseverance play a big role, but instinct is not enough. How is it that some always target the right companies, while others receive one rejection after another? In 2023, the answer is as simple as it is logical: It’s always down to the use of data and information.
Contacting the right person is no coincidence. Telling the right and relevant story is no coincidence. Calling at the right time, when there is a need at the target company, is also no coincidence.
These decisions are always based on the right data. It reveals which company is currently most interested in your solution and who makes the decisions. This makes work in sales efficient and effective. Efficient, because the data moves the focus to prospects with a high probability of closing. Effective because data makes it possible to automate processes.
At the same time, today’s world is characterised by unpredictable external influences. In the past few years, the pandemic has had a massive impact on the business world. Today, the climate crisis and international conflicts pose a constant threat. It is therefore the task of sales teams to build a resilient and future-proof sales pipeline. Data is what drives growth. Accurate, up-to-date and relevant data on customers and prospects provides a deep understanding of customer needs and ensures intelligent targeting. In times of recession and tight budgets in particular, data gives sales the valuable insights needed to contact the right person at the right time.
Solet’s dive into the most important B2B sales trends for 2023, starting with a growing focus on personalisation in sales.
Sales trend #1: A direct line and greater personalisation
Calling the switchboard on the off chance of being connected to the person you want is something nobody has time for any more in 2023. That’s why one sales trend is the direct line, i.e. the telephone number, email address or professional social media profile (usually LinkedIn), to the contact person you want in the company. And that’s not all. Sales teams want more information about the person. After all, they need to know what topics interest the target person. They are then able to bring the right story into the conversation and provide their contact with relevant information. Customers and prospects want to hear what they don’t yet know, so don’t sell them products, but tell them how to do business better and more efficiently.
Sales trend #2: The right timing (intent data)
The right timing is the name of the game in sales. Every company may have a need for the products you offer, but often only in a limited time window. Let’s take office furniture as an example. Companies that are expanding or relocating have a need for furniture, printers, etc. They will search the internet for these items. Because they don’t do it on your website, you won’t know about it – unless you use third party intent data. This allows you to see which companies are currently searching for which topics on the internet – also on third-party sites. When we call these companies, we do so at the precise moment when they want to hear from us.
- Learn more about intent data in the article “Intent data: The game changer in B2B sales”
- Or download the free white paper “Intent data: The practical guide from Dun & Bradstreet”
Sales trend #3: Risk management
Expanding business relationships with companies that act sustainably will remain on the list of priorities for many companies in 2023. However, risk management is also about finding financially strong and solvent business partners. Every sales organisation therefore needs an intact risk management system to weed out unstable companies at an early stage, before they are approached. A deal with a customer who does not pay or does not adhere to compliance requirements quickly leads to financial losses or damages a good reputation. Sales teams therefore have an increasing need for risk data. They use this data to identify risky companies at an early stage. This is done either manually or ideally in automated onboarding processes.
Sales trend #4: Automation and data integration
The topic of digital transformation is an ongoing issue in sales departments. Only those who consistently digitalise and automate will increase sales efficiency. There are two aspects to efficiency here. It is about doing the right things, i.e. identifying leads with high potential and a current need. On the other hand, it is about doing things right. Manual activities are time-consuming and prone to error. Automation is the key to leaner processes and greater speed and quality. If salespeople spend most of their working time maintaining the CRM or struggle to obtain information, this is a problem.
However, automation is only successful if the processes are based on validated and correct data. This makes data integration necessary. Yet IT resources are usually a scarce commodity, which is why integration projects often fail or do not even get off the ground. The trend is therefore towards standard connectors that enable fast and uncomplicated data integration into the most common systems such as SAP, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. 0
Sales trend #5: Relevant data
What is true in marketing is also true in B2B sales: It is becoming increasingly important to become data driven. Sales teams need data and information to identify leads with a high probability of closing. No one is willing to phone through unqualified lists of companies anymore. It inevitably leads to frustration and wasted time. The strive to become data driven affects all companies, not just large corporations. In the SME sector in particular, companies that get the most out of their available resources will survive. An important building block here is validated data and solid automated processes based on it.
It is crucial to create a 360° view of customers and prospects. The three building blocks for this are high-quality master data, powerful online data and timing information. In combination, they ensure that sales teams address the right target companies at the right time with the relevant story.
- Learn more about this topic in our article “Data-driven B2B sales: Explained from scratch”
Download our 10-point checklist on how to keep your team efficient, maximise your selling time and build a resilient pipeline here.