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Now that we've entered the new year, it's important for businesses to reassess their sales prospecting strategies in light of the current economic environment.

B2B sales prospecting can help businesses stay competitive during a recession, allowing them to identify and target companies that are still actively hiring and investing in their operations. Ultimately, keeping only what you have won't be enough to navigate a difficult market.

From account-based prospecting to automation and consolidation, these are the trends that will shape the future of sales prospecting in the coming year and help businesses succeed as they adapt to the changes to remain competitive.

1. Account-based prospecting will be table stakes

Recent layoffs have greatly influenced the way B2B companies approach sales prospecting. At less than a month into 2023, more than 46,000 workers in US-based tech companies had been laid off in mass job cuts, according to a Crunchbase News tally.

In the coming year, organizations will need to be more strategic and considerate of the current economic climate when pursuing potential customers. We can expect increased adoption of account-based prospecting to identify which companies are in a good position to buy and where salespeople should prioritize resources.

The shift to account-based prospecting will also lead to a greater focus on quality over scale, in the case of both the prospects being targeted and the data being used to identify them. Organizations will likely target businesses that are actively hiring and reporting no layoffs, as well as leadership roles within those organizations. Sales teams will prioritize access to detailed data on revenue, buy signals, and firmographics to help them identify the best prospects and maximize their chances of success.

Many companies have started to dip their toes into account-based prospecting, but 2023 will be the year it becomes table stakes.

2. More automation cometh

B2B sales teams will rely on automation to prospect more effectively by streamlining and simplifying the most tedious and time-consuming tasks.

For example, automation can be used to generate and distribute personalized, pre-filled, custom emails to large numbers of potential leads. That frees up Sales to focus on more high-value activities, such as building relationships and closing deals.

Automation can also be used to help salespeople prioritize leads. Machine-learning can deliver proprietary insights on which prospects are most likely to convert. Similarly, automation tools can ensure the timing and content of outreach is driven by company growth signals and news alerts so companies stay relevant in a fast-changing environment.

At the most basic level, a growing number of sophisticated tools for managing sales pipeline and tracking lead status will allow salespeople to stay organized and on top of their workload.

Expect more automation in 2023 to help B2B salespeople make prospecting more efficient and effective.

3. Consolidation will surge

In 2023, the consolidation of sales tech tools will increase as organizations seek all-in-one solutions to support prospecting. Consolidation can save costs, improve efficiency, and reduce complexity, all of which are important in a down economy.

More organizations will eliminate redundant or unnecessary technologies and streamline their stacks to save on licensing fees, maintenance, and training. However, those organizations will aim to reduce costs without sacrificing the value or sophistication of their technology, as prospecting is a revenue generator in challenging periods.

Expect a big push across industries to shift to unified solutions that can find, qualify, track, and engage with prospects from start to finish.

I also think consolidation will have a broader impact on the sales tech space, and it is likely to occur at the business level as well. More sales tech stack consolidation will trigger a wave of mergers and acquisitions as point solutions struggle and get scooped up by their more comprehensive counterparts.

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The future of B2B sales prospecting will be shaped by the economy, leading to new technologies and strategies emerging to make the process more efficient and effective. By keeping an eye on trends and adapting to them, businesses can position themselves for success in the new year.

More Resources on B2B Sales Prospecting

30 Must-Know B2B Sales Prospecting Stats [Infographic]

How to Get Sales Prospects to Care About Your Marketing Content

A Guide to Using Video in Your Sales Prospecting

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Three Ways B2B Sales Prospecting Will Evolve in 2023

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image of Ang McManamon

Ang McManamon is the VP of Sales at Crunchbase, a provider of private-company prospecting and research solutions.

LinkedIn: Ang McManamon

Twitter: @angenyc