Focus On These B2B Sales Skills In 2023

b2b sales, sales skills, soft skills, Sell Smarter

This year, sellers who embrace forward-​thinking B2B sales skills will find themselves ahead of competitors who have yet to evolve. A lot has changed in the industry, and more change is on the horizon. Sellers must be aware of and adopt new tactics to meet buying and economic shifts. “Sales strategies in 2023 will incorporate more technology and smarter demos while seeking to generate high rates of customer loyalty,” Emily Heaslip writes for USChamber​.com

She shares the tactics and skills that sellers should embrace for success in the new year. 

  1. Digital touchpoints
  2. Client retention
  3. Smart demos

3 B2B sales skills to hone in 2023

Digital touchpoints

The first skill that Heaslip highlights is the increased importance of digital touchpoints. Communicating with leads, prospects and clients via digital methods is no longer simply an option; it’s an expectation. As SalesFuel’s Voice of the Buyer study found, buyers want to engage digitally with sellers. 

In fact, as Heaslip reports, “by 2025, Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B sales communication between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels, such as email, social media, text, live chat, or all of the above.”

To stay successful and competitive, now is the time to embrace these sales practices. Make 2023 the year that you move forward with technology. If you are unsure, seek out educational resources, training, and even a mentor for guidance. 

Also, consider new ways to add digital aspects to your own offerings. Self service will be a big topic in B2B sales; get a headstart by focusing on it now. SalesFuel reported that currently, approximately “39% of buyers surveyed want to be able to self-​serve.” Expect that number to grow even larger this year and beyond. 

How can you offer speed and convenience to prospects and clients via self service? How can you improve upon self-​service functions you already have in place? Asking yourself questions like these will help you advance your hybrid sales to another level. 

Client retention

When thinking of B2B sales skills, sellers often focus on gathering leads or making pitches. Few often consider the importance of working to retain current clients. Retention will be top of mind in 2023, especially as worries over the economy continue. “Customer retention has long been the goal for many business owners, and today’s business environment is leading sales teams to zero in on this key metric,” Heaslip explains. “Sales teams can start improving retention as early as the onboarding process.”

Focusing on keeping clients happy and engaged will be a key strategy as sellers are increasingly worried about the economy. Though the new year often brings new budgets, companies may be more cautious with their spending. Strategic sellers will be conscious of this and not devote all of their time to new business development. 

Additionally, SalesFuel research found that overcoming churn is increasingly difficult for sellers. This once again reveals the immediate need for honing B2B sales skills that nurture current clients and relationships. For specific tips on how to battle churn and boost retention, check out our professional tips

And finally, this client-​focused strategy should also include boosting revenue from existing business. “It's not enough to simply maintain existing customers,” Heaslip writes. “Your sales strategy should incorporate opportunities to upsell and cross-​sell to current customers.” Check out some of our own tips for doing so here

Smart demos

Whether in-​person or held virtually, sales demos will continue to be an effective way to get your offering in front of prospects. But sellers must be wise about how they are conducted. As mentioned earlier, buyers will increasingly expect digital-​driven convenience. Plus, buyers are seeking more personalized buying experiences. 

Each demo that you deliver must be worth the prospect’s time and be hyper-​personalized to their needs and goals. This will require thoughtful research on the part of sellers. While “doing homework” has always been an important B2B sales skill, today’s buyers are more sophisticated than ever and have even higher expectations. They expect buyers to deliver relevant information in a timely manner. As Heaslip suggests, “Use your demo to separate your brand from the competitive landscape. Instead of talking about your product or service features, speak to the customers' goals and personalize your pitch.”

A new year brings so many opportunities for a fresh start, and 2023 is no different. Economic changes, advancing technology and shifting buying habits will keep sellers busy. But those who prepare now and hone those specific B2B sales skills will reap the benefits this year and those to come. 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

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Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica reports on sales tips and credibility for SalesFuel. She is a graduate of Ohio University.