Sales Tech Trends to Watch in 2023 and Beyond

Sales Tech Trends to Watch in 2023 and Beyond

It’s officially the OOO season for most of us – the perfect time to look back at what we’ve achieved this year and make plans for the future. And while we’re nailing down the 2023 goals, it makes sense to look at the bigger picture and think about what may come next.

Being a huge SaaS enthusiast and a B2B sales professional, I always keep my ear to the ground to notice the slightest industry trends as soon as they emerge. That is one of the reasons I put together our catalog of sales tools. In just a few years, it grew from 400 to almost 850 tools across 50 different categories. Isn’t it the perfect representation of the booming sales tech space?

Last year, I made a brief overview of the 2021 sales tech landscape. Why not make it a good tradition and talk about the hottest trends to watch in 2023? 

Let’s go!

The 2022 sales tech landscape

First of all, let’s talk about the current state of the sales tech landscape. All in all the major categories maintain the status quo: the same companies, the same leaders, nothing really seems to change.

Image source: Tenbound

Image source: Tenbound

Here’s the sales tech landscape – main categories and market leaders – at a glance:

  • Lead Generation –> ZoomInfo, Clearbit, Cognism, Crunchbase
  • Email Finders –> Lusha, Hunter, Snov, LeadIQ, Wiza, Kaspr
  • CRM –> Salesforce, Pipedrive, Hubspot, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Zoho
  • Sales Engagement –> Salesloft, Outreach, Apollo, Groove
  • Proposals –> DocuSign, PandaDoc, HelloSign
  • Calling –> AirCall, RingCentral, Five9, Vonage
  • Scheduling –> Calendly, Chili Piper
  • Conferencing –> Zoom

But if the tech landscape remains the same, what’s changing then?

Well, I’d say that B2B sales don’t change on their own, but adapt to the changes in the world in general. Just like the 2020 pandemic led to the widespread adoption of virtual sales, some of the current challenges that businesses (or whole markets) experience may trigger certain shifts in paradigm.

Here are some of the meta-trends in B2B sales that I’ve noticed lately.

What’s next in B2B sales: 5 tech trends to watch

Over the past few years, I’ve been watching technological advances reshape the way sellers engage with buyers. More than anything else, the pandemic helped accelerate these processes, driving the birth and adoption of multiple software categories, including sales enablement, personalization at scale, automation, and intelligence.

Now, three years later, the adaptation is almost over. Rather than transforming their processes to meet the current needs, more sales teams are looking to build upon their current tech stacks.

So, here are some of the key trends that I see taking off soon.

No-code and low-code software aims at SDRs

As an automation geek and coding enthusiast, I’ve been keeping an eye on this trend for the past few years. While the concept isn’t new (it first emerged around 10 years ago), no-code and low-code software started getting traction in the SaaS communities a couple of years ago. And it has also found a few use cases in sales as well – mostly among the tech-savvy SDRs.

I’ve shared some of my top picks among no-code and low-code tools earlier. All in all, they allow you to do the following:

  1. automate as many tasks as possible,
  2. move data across all apps in their tech stack,
  3. speed up existing operations and tasks.

While most of them offer a universal solution to those needs, we can see the rise of no-code tools targeting sales departments specifically. These include:

  • Airtable is the spreadsheet on steroids. It can be used as an internal database, to build custom CRM, store and manage prospecting lists, etc. There are even multiple ready-to-use templates you can copy and customize.
  • Rows is another spreadsheet-like software often used for prospecting and list building. It allows you to organize your data, enrich it from publicly available sources, and automatically update it.
  • Clay is great for prospecting and list-building. Using this tool, you can get live data from LinkedIn, automate Google search, look up keywords, scour tech stacks, scrape info from job listings, etc.
  • PhantomBuster is the growth hacking powerhouse that allows you to streamline dozens of lead generation tasks across multiple platforms – from extracting data from any website to engaging with prospects on social media.

Artificial intelligence goes mainstream

If you haven’t yet played around with the new shiny AI tool called ChatGPT, I strongly recommend you do. We at Reply couldn’t be more excited about it and firmly believe that it will have a huge impact on the future of sales communications.

But that is only one way AI is currently affecting the sales tech landscape. There are more use cases I’ve recently noticed getting traction.

  • Conversation & revenue intelligence

These tools read your emails or listen to all the sales calls, collect best practices across the whole team, and suggest what each rep should change to improve their performance and conversion rate.

Some will also offer handy add-ons like real-time meeting transcription, the ability to automate the note-taking process, analyze talk ratio, etc.

In this category, the market leaders here remain the same: Gong, Outreach, Salesloft.

What’s more interesting is the fact that 4 tools in this category were acquired by other market leaders, namely:

  1. ZoomInfo acquired Chorus.ai
  2. Clari acquired Wingman
  3. Allego acquired Refract
  4. Mediafly acquired ExecVision

In addition to that, HubSpot also invested in Avoma a couple of years ago!

So, for me, it becomes clear that the top industry players like ZoomInfo and Clari are betting on AI and conversation intelligence as the next big thing in sales. This is a great addition to the core product that will allow them to retain their customers. Plus, I assume they will be building more features around Conversation & Revenue Intelligence soon to strengthen their selling proposition.

On the other hand, Conversation & Revenue Intelligence market is becoming more accessible. Over the past 5 years, mostly bigger organizations could afford to purchase software that cost $20k+. 

Yet, as cloud computing and cloud storage costs are declining, more affordable tools like pickle.ai, Jiminny, Rafiki, etc. enter the market allowing smaller teams to benefit from AI and conversation intelligence.

  • No-code AI

The two meta-trends – No-Code and AI – listed above go very well together, making the third emerging trend in sales tech. It’s no-code AI SaaS tools.

These tools allow non-tech people (mostly, operations staff) to build intelligent prediction models on their own. This means no need to bother or wait for the engineers who are always busy with product development.

Here is the list of the most interesting tools that target salespeople and customer-facing roles like support, customer success, and marketing:

  1. Levity works with unstructured data, including images, text, and documents.
  2. Akkio offers insights into customer behavior and the customer journey.
  3. MonkeyLearn allows you to clean, label and visualize customer feedback.
  4. Drafter AI provides the tools to create automation tools without a single line of code.
  5. Aito helps you use predictions with any automation platform.
  • Personalization at scale

This trend is the most interesting for me personally and Reply in general. Tools from this category allow you to source data about prospects from different sources (mainly, LinkedIn) and write personalized snippets, lines, sentences, and even whole emails based on context, leading to higher reply rates as a result.

There are a bunch of great products in this category, from up-and-coming tools like Quicklines to the powerhouses like Lavender. I’ve also recently discovered this YC-backed startup called Sonnet.

Typically, these tools integrate with your sales engagement platform of choice or offer email outreach capabilities out of the box.

Personally, I can’t wait to see this functionality inside of Reply (and we’re definitely getting there soon with our Email Assistant). Luckily, technologies like GPT-3 make this kind of functionality more accessible and easy to implement.

Product-Led Growth tactics meet sales development

You’ve probably heard buzzwords like “PLG,” “product-led growth,” “product-led sales,” etc. circulating around the sales communities. All that noise isn’t for nothing. This is clearly another trend in the sales tech world (which I already predicted last year among non-sales-led growth tactics). Simply put this means growing a tech or SaaS company relying solely on its product rather than the sales force or community. 

Some prominent examples of successful product-led growth strategies are Airtable, Zoom, Slack, Miro, and Figma.

In this case, sales teams are mostly focused on enterprise deals ($40k+), while the rest of the prospects can make a purchase as a self-service, without contacting sales.

When it comes to the PLG trend in sales development, such software usually integrates with the company’s whole tech stack – CRMs, data warehouses, billing systems, support tools, sales engagement tools, product analytics, etc. – to keep track of the buying signals and notify your sales reps when a prospect is ready to make a purchase. 

As a result, a sales rep gets a 360 degree view of every single prospect at every step of their buying journey.

This market is growing rapidly, so here are a few tools to keep an eye on:

  • Endgame helps you connect the dots between product signals and sales opportunities
  • Correlated – product-led revenue platform
  • HeadsUp.ai provides product usage insights to predict conversion and qualify leads
  • RevenueHero instantly connects qualified prospects with the sales reps 

Virtual product tours and on-demand demos are all the rage

As I mentioned earlier, B2B sales don’t change on their own but adapt to the changes in the world in general. And our next trend is a great example of this. 

Because of the growing popularity of product-led growth tactics, salespeople simply can’t interact with all the prospects that might be considering a purchase. And it’s totally fine for most of them (81% of consumers, to be precise). On the other hand, there will still be prospects who would want to have a demo of a product before making a purchase.

That’s where interactive demo platforms come in.

This category is relatively new – it emerged 2-3 years ago, probably driven by the global shift to remote work (and sales specifically). But there are already enough options to consider it as a serious sales tech trend.

Some of the most interesting tools in this category are:

  • Reprise helps you create live and guided demo experiences in a controlled environment
  • Navattic allows you to build, customize and share interactive, hands-on product demos
  • Walnut offers personalized product demos and lets you collect insights on their usage
  • Storylane – auto-personalized product experience on demand
  • Demoleap guides you in real-time to run perfect qualification, discovery, and live sales demos

Sales engagement is shifting gears

Well, this isn’t new – and I might be biased – but I would like to share some of my observations (and I do keep track of all our competitors). The sales engagement tech market has been growing like crazy and there’s still a huge room for growth.

The B2B sales market is getting wild in the face of recession. VCs want money – they require profitability because of the global economic uncertainty – revenue goals keep climbing and sales quotas are getting more aggressive. This puts salespeople under pressure to keep their pipeline moving, get more demos, and close more deals.

The most obvious solution to this is to reach out to more people, use more channels, etc.

As a result, there’s a growing need to automate routine tasks related to email outreach, LinkedIn engagement, and calls to name a few.

That’s why more B2B sales teams will adopt sales engagement tools like Reply in the future, looking for a way to scale their outreach while keeping things personal.

Automate and scale your sales engagement with Reply

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Other trends shaping B2B sales in 2023 and beyond

So here you go, these are the biggest tech trends shaping B2B sales right now (and in the coming years) in my opinion. However, there are way more sales tech categories to keep an eye on:

  1. The revenue operations trend is on the rise (often despite the lack of understanding of what it means) – the market size keeps growing and I keep seeing more relevant RevOps job titles on LinkedIn. Moreover, Gartner predicts that 75% of the highest-growth companies worldwide will adopt the RevOps model by 2025. 
  2. AI sales team training & coaching software, e.g., Spekit, Trellus, and Second Nature, is another up-and-coming use case for artificial intelligence, offering “just in time” insights for education and enablement.
  3. Sales commission & compensation software is pretty new for me, but a bunch of companies raised tens of millions of dollars this year (e.g. QuotaPath, CaptivateIQ, Qobra, PaletteHQ), so there’s definitely some action here.
  4. Email assistants are still going strong, so if you haven’t tried tools like Lavender and Humantic AI, this might be an opportunity for an experiment in 2023. As mentioned above, there’s an intelligent email assistant in Reply as well which is free to use and can help you generate unique templates and follow-ups in just a click.
  5. Social selling & personal branding for sales and SDRs is something that I personally feel very enthusiastic about. Although there aren’t many tools I could recommend (except, maybe Shield App), the sales community has been very active lately with more voices entering the scene. So make sure to explore this opportunity as well.

As they say, prediction is a thankless job. The world is changing quickly and often unexpectedly, so we’ll soon be able to see if my guesses are correct. 

With any luck, I will be happy to share my observations with you next year 😉

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