B2B Sales in 2023: Adapting to Buyers

Discover my intriguing journey of B2B sales this year, filled with new challenges, refined strategies, and valuable insights.
monthly recurring revenue cover photo
This year in B2B sales was interesting.

There were new challenges, reinforcing previous thoughts, finessing strategies, and more. To finish off the year, our team at SalesPipe thought it best to share our experience in the hopes of providing tips for others as we look into 2024 and beyond.

So, here we go: this is what my year in sales has been like.

What are B2B Sales?

B2B sales, or business-to-business sales, happen when one company sells things to another company. Instead of selling to individual consumers, B2B sales involve selling products or services to meet the specific needs of other businesses.

These transactions usually include negotiations and contracts and are customized to the particular requirements of the buying company.

B2B sales cover variousindustries and products, like selling equipment, software, materials, or services to other businesses. Unlike selling to individual customers (B2C), B2B sales involve more complicated decision-making, longer time frames, and higher values.

Sales Strategies That Worked

One of the things that I experienced this year was: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just finesse it.

What do I mean by this?

Yes, cold emailing may be experiencing new challenges, and people have a shorter attention span than ever, but many things still hold true.

How does this play out in the world of B2B?

By following the usual steps.

Accurate Messaging

Messaging has never been more important than now. Your prospects are receiving multiple emails, connection requests, phone calls. To stand out, you need your messaging to be accurate and to the point. From the first line on the phone to the subject of your email, you need to be clear in how you communicate.

Figuring this out can take some time. I had a client who saw a sharp increase in email opens starting in the second half of the year, and this was reflected in a significant increase in meetings booked. This was because we narrowed down messaging that accurately summed up the product, and the pain it helped, and offered how we could address that pain.

It took some trial and error before we reached that point, but from then on, it has been relatively smooth sailing as we have hit upon a formula that works. We can replicate it consistently and successfully with different industries.

Another client was happy to let me experiment with different subject lines and email messaging, so long as we kept the core ideas. This made sense and was a great way to continue keeping our daily emails high while ensuring we did not become spam.

Sending the same message and receiving fewer replies will land you in spam, especially with Google's new email policies. Divert this by switching out aspects of your messaging every 25 emails, or using different mailboxes.

Clear Customer Persona

Knowing and truly understanding your ICP.

It takes time and effort to get to know your audience. In the case of this client I mentioned previously, they took time to have various meetings, try different avenues, different job titles, attend meetings and conferences to best understand how to position themselves and who was best to sell to.

Once everything started coming together, we were able to hit on the magic formula mentioned above and replicate it for other personas. Of course, the messaging changed slightly to fit new needs and different aspects of the product, but overall, the base template was the same.

And meetings still came in successfully and consistently.

Your regular sales tools and strategies will always be good to come back to. Be open to experimenting and trying new things, but do so in a way that is informed and uses the research that has already been completed.

Thanks to this, we are currently experimenting with a purely LinkedIn approach with similar messaging to see if that gains more or less traction. We feel confident in our previous strategy enough to begin exploring other avenues now.

Qualification 101

While I had participated in qualification from a prospecting perspective, this was the first year in a while I was doing it via call, phone, or video.

Thanks to previous experience but also well-prepared clients, I was able to quickly adapt and find success here as well. With clear qualifying questions and customer personas provided, I could accurately move folks down the pipeline or offer alternatives that still benefitted my clients.

This was also helpful to them as in some cases it served as proof of concept for newer companies or products that were just getting started. Working together with clients to figure out questions to ask that would determine if they were truly a fit or if there was interest was very rewarding when it played out as expected during a call.

Additionally, connecting with potential customers and having a conversation about a potential partnership has continuously been a fantastic experience as a salesperson and negotiator.

Sales Strategies That Did Not Work

Same Old, Same Old

It boils down to insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Lack of willingness to experiment or do further research to fully understand the buyer persona were the things that caused issues in sales this year.

Yes, there were ups and downs, events outside of your control as a salesperson, but if your goal is to book meetings or figure out if they're a fit, you need to be open to experimenting or doing further research.

You can't simply say "this is how we always do things and it works". It may work for now, but it may not in four months. Or it may not if you're looking to expand or grow in new ways.

Constant Improvement

This goes without saying, but as salespeople, we're constantly trying to improve our sales strategy.

In the case of my client that picked up in the second half of the year, that means branching out to different, fun strategies and approaches now.

For qualifying, it meant constantly trying new questions or finding other ways to work with potential customers so as not to lose them, or learn how to move on if they were indeed not a fit.

When branching out to new personas, or even within the existing one, you want to be constantly aware and updated on everything related to their needs. And sometimes this requires research or one-off calls with non-fit roles to get you there.

If there's one thing about sales you can be sure of, it's that the fast-paced nature of the job and the constant need for re-invention won't go away any time soon. But by holding on to the tried and true aspects of any sales process, you can build new, innovative ways to connect with future customers and form long-lasting, worthwhile relationships with them.

As we head into 2024, if you're looking for SDRs that are ready and able to help you meet your goals, make sure to get in touch with us at SalesPipe!
Related articles
We Wrote 100 Blog Posts. Here’s What We Learned.
100 blog posts are worth celebrating!
SaaS Sales Models
Getting into how SaaS Sales work.
5 Ways to Improve Sales Effectiveness
Achieve success with these five tips.