How Revenue Leaders Are Rethinking Growth in 2023 

Turbulent, uncertain, hazardous, “an upheaval”: these are just a few of the many ways 2022 has been described by our industry. While aggressive revenue targets seemed viable earlier this year, the economic downturn came by surprise and caused 67% of companies to reevaluate their budget, headcount, and strategic investments mid-year with 40% directly impacted by layoffs and/or internal restructures. 

As we enter 2023 on the cusp of a true recession, revenue leaders at every level are asking themselves this difficult, but important, question: If I could have predicted the outcome of 2022, what would have I done differently? 

We recently interviewed top sales executives and learned that leaders across verticals and roles are rethinking and redefining what growth strategy looks like. From building a sales enablement strategy around the customer voice to investing in productivity tools and more effective coaching, here are the top ways to pivot and future-proof your go-to-market function for a brighter (and bigger) year ahead.

Button: Download the 2023 Sales Industry Scouting Report

8 Ways to Pivot Your Growth Strategy

Double-down on growth through your customer base

2023 is the year of the customer. Instead of focusing on converting net-new leads, find greater and quicker returns by investing in the relationships you already have. In fact, most B2B companies expect 77% of revenue to come from existing customers in the form of cross-sells, renewals, and upsells.

Emphasize the importance of partnerships, integrations, and affiliates 

Nothing is too precious not to share in 2023. Strategic partnerships are a foot in the door with a wider audience that will help you grow revenue and pipeline.

“If you are an organization going at growth alone in 2023, it is going to be a very hard road. Find the players in your space where there is mutual benefit and build a portion of your growth strategy around that. Everyone is trying to win.” - Sawyer Ritz, Director of Sales, Company Cam 

Surface ROI throughout the entire lifecycle 

The responsibility of CX in 2023 is to offer customized consultation services and surface ROI at key business inflection points. By helping implement and identify client success, accounts stay healthy for smoother renewal and expansion opportunities.

“Be sure to show proof points that you’re solving the problems your customers originally came to you for. Quarterly ROI and accurate dollar calculations help customers justify spend and see long-term business impact.” - Kelly Berg, VP of Customer Success, Ambition

Invest in best-of-breed talent and productivity tools 

According to Forrester, companies plan to expand product, marketing, and CX departments in 2023 before investing in additional sales headcount. This data sends a loud signal to our industry that we’ll be expected to hit increasing (or the same) goals with less, which means investing in the talent we do have is critical. To help with employee development, 78% of organizations are carving out bigger budgets for technology and talent/productivity tools

Percentage of Revenue Organizations Who Plan to Increase Technology Spend in 2023

According to a recent JP Morgan survey, a majority of companies are projected to increase their technology spend by 5.7% in 2023. Despite the current business climate, does this trend align with what you're seeing within your IT and Rev Ops organizations? 

Pie chart: Nearly 80% of revenue organizations are increasing their spend on productivity tools and other tech to fill gaps and create efficiencies for existing employees.

*Attribution: State of the Industry Survey, Fall 2022, Ambition

Pitch a point-of-view 

The best pattern interrupt in 2023 will be having a strong point-of-view. In this business climate, sales reps need to make it easy for buyers to say yes or no—and that will come by elevating the meeting. Doug Landis, growth partner at Emergence Capital, says discovery is dead (the kind where sales reps ask a million questions) because we need to make it a meaningful two-way business conversation. Build a case to earn your prospect’s time.

“Economic uncertainty leads to indecision. It’s hard to overcome the status quo as everybody settles into the wait-and-see mindset. Companies and salespeople must lead with higher conviction to have a chance at breaking through.” - Travis Truett, CEO, Ambition

Measure your managers’ coaching effectiveness 

According to Wesleyne, Founder of Transformed Sales, “Initiatives go to die in middle management” and 34% of revenue leaders don’t know if coaching happens at their companies. The role of a manager has traditionally been straightforward and their performance evaluated strictly on anecdotal evidence. Today, however, this role needs to be capable of executing on initiatives while working as a mentor, co-pilot, and empathetic leader. Being able to measure coaching effectiveness and frequency, at every level, with data, will be imperative to scale and grow into the future.

How often are your managers having coaching conversations with reps? 

According to Ambition-sourced data, sales coaching has a top-line impact that increases revenue metrics 5% YoY—and a glaring 34% of revenue leaders don’t know if coaching even happens at their companies.

Graph: 34% of revenue leaders don’t know if coaching even happens at their companies.

*Attribution: Revenue Performance Maturity Assessment, Ambition

Integrate customer voice into your sales enablement strategy 

Enablement leaders typically look to sales to help define and design their programs, but this model is biased and overlooks the most important factor in the equation: the customer.

“Instead of looking within your own organization to decide what to train on in 2023, think about how you can get customer feedback on the quality of their sales experience and find ways for reps to deliver better.” - Jen Allen, speaker and co-founder of Social Social 

Hire employees who display high levels of resilience and adaptability 

The only thing we can predict going into an unpredictable year is that it will stay that way. 2022 taught us that organizational changes arise quickly; 56% of revenue teams experienced these interruptions last year and the best way to be prepared is having a team who can respond, adapt, and add value at every twist and turn. In fact, Forrester reports that organizations grow 2.5 times faster than their competitors when employees exhibit mature resilience.  

Download the 2023 Sales Industry Scouting Report

From executive leader to individual contributor, it’ll take everyone to help you realize revenue growth and greatness in 2023. Download the 2023 Sales Industry Scouting Report to see more critical data, best practices, SDR benchmarks, and additional resources that will inform your growth strategy in the new year. 

Button: Download the 2023 Sales Industry Scouting Report

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