What will be the key B2B trends in 2023? The year 2022 was a tough one, but 2023 is likely to be even tougher. In this article, I share my concerns and hopes to stay the course in a storm that some call “perfect.” In particular, I reflect on strategies to go after B2B customers and to catch competitors off guard.
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We can read the B2B trends for 2023 through the risks for companies. We highlight 2 “horizontal” trends common to all companies and 4 “vertical” trends.
Companies can use B2B surveys to anticipate their customers’ reactions to make the most of these mega-trends.
- Recession in 2023: what consequences?
- Trends in 2023: a macroscopic reading
- Anticipating trends with a B2B survey
- The 6 axes of B2B growth in 2023
There is now a consensus that a recession will occur in 2023. Beyond the technical aspect of the recession, what worries me most is the reaction of companies. Companies are reacting more and more sharply to the slightest bad news. This over-caution amplifies the natural effects of a crisis and creates impacts that prolong instability.
Expect to see spending shrink in many areas. Everyone is already looking for savings to reduce their cost structure and offset the effects of inflation.
Rather than speculate on the micro-trends of 2023 in business, I prefer to take a macroscopic view. The current economic situation has become unreadable. The world has become a huge minefield that is increasingly difficult to navigate. Inflation, wars, geopolitical tensions, polarization, extremism, … To make a macroeconomic prediction more than 3 months ahead is currently a feat. It is much more relevant to return to more basic considerations and to focus on what underlies the current period: the risks.
The risks are multiple and come from many different areas. They complicate the company’s management and require much more skills than before.
Risks related to the personnel
It will have escaped no company manager that the job market is particularly tight. As our latest research on the recruitment market has shown, companies are redoubling their efforts to attract talent. With human resources, a company can function.
The supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid crisis are not behind us yet. The beautiful mechanics of “Just In Time” have been sustainably disrupted, and digitalization brings its share of tensions on some electronic components. The shortage of drivers does not help, and logistics will be a high-risk area for companies for several years.
Risks related to cybersecurity
The hyper-dependence of companies on computer systems represents a risk. Hackers are very imaginative when it comes to ambushing companies.
Risk of digital obsolescence
The final risk is strategic. The Covid19 pandemic, and the confinements it caused, caused an acceleration of the digital transition. E-commerce, for example, was a life-saver during the Covid crisis before undergoing a deceleration. However, the world will be able to go forward.
- The digital transition will continue (perhaps at a slower pace than in 2020-2021)
- Data exploitation needs will remain prevalent but will also be more pragmatic. Big Data projects that are too large fail in 80% of cases, and it will be necessary to focus on those that deliver value.
It is possible to anticipate before your competitors what the B2B trends will be. All you have to do is ask your target market the right questions.
A B2B survey is an approach that will allow you to orient your marketing decisions quickly. For example, you can:
- identify the most promising segments
- determine the best pricing
- choose the best marketing pitch
A B2B survey can be carried out in just a few days.
The macroscopic reading I have given of the next 12 months allows us to project into our near future reasonably.
The 4 vertical “risks” identified will be structured around 2 transversal priorities:
- finding customers
- controlling costs
If you are looking for what to bet on to sell services or products in B2B, this is the figure you should keep in mind. In 2023 growth will await those who fulfill the following 6 needs.
Requirement 1: Finding customers (especially abroad)
Any product or service that helps you find customers, whether inbound or outbound, will be appreciated. But be careful with your marketing promises and business model. Sensitivity to spending will be heightened in 2023, and your sales pitch will have to be oriented more than ever around Return on Investment (ROI).
Don’t waste time with sectors whose margins are under pressure. In retail, for example, any investment that takes more than 3 months to bear fruit will be systematically blocked. Unless you have a miracle solution, focusing on growth sectors and companies that can export their products and services is better. Increasing your customer base through export is a very under-exploited growth lever in SMEs. To take advantage of this, conduct a quick B2B survey to test the attractiveness of a market. Also, consider seeking customers abroad through inbound marketing.
Requirement 2: Controlling costs, especially energy
Any product or service that helps control costs, or even reduce them, will be in the spotlight in 2023 and as long as inflation persists (i.e., well beyond 2023). The immediate ROI of cost-saving measures is such that cost control will undoubtedly be the number one priority for companies. In this article, we have shared our tips and tricks to save money easily.
Devices that allow you to save energy or, more simply, to follow your consumption will be the Kings of business in 2023 and until the end of the decade.
Requirement 3: Ensuring supplies
In 2023, having a failing supply chain will be a deadly poison. Trade is normalizing, and ocean freight prices are back to 2019 levels. So, there will be no more excuses for not delivering to customers. Their expectations will be high, and not delivering on time (or worse, not delivering at all) will be a source of dissatisfaction.
The digitalization of the supply chain, real-time information feedback, and automation will be the main themes for 2023 and the years to come.
Requirement 4: Finding and keeping employees
Paradoxically, in the current crisis, employment has never been so good. Unemployment is at an all-time low, and hiring across the Atlantic continues to surprise with its strength. The war for talent is on, and companies must step up their efforts (see our December 2022 survey on this topic).
The Human Resources sector will have the wind in its sails in 2023. Whether filling vacancies or retaining existing employees, all HR services will be in demand in 2023. To win, however, you’ll have to deliver on your promises. Having the right people to deliver to customers and keep them happy is more important than ever. Like everything else, the return on investment must be positive. Remember to approach your prospects with tangible evidence of the value of your proposal.
Requirement 5: Digitalize the company
La digitalisation des entreprises a connu un coup de boost en 2020-2021. Cette marche forcée vers des échanges et des transactions toujours plus dématérialisés ne s’arrêtera pas en 2023. Les chantiers restent énormes, surtout du côté des PMEs qui sont encore sous-digitalisées. Que ce soit en SEO, e-commerce, digitalisation des processus, … les possibilités sont sans fin.
Requirement 6: Eliminating cyber risks
Digitalization and computer networks are central to the functioning of companies. Attacks are now legion and concern SMEs, and the consequences can be terrible. Beyond the monetary aspects (cyber-ransomware, operating losses), a computer attack can also threaten the durability of a company.
The heads of companies have understood this, and the activities around cyber risks will not know about the crisis.
The year 2023 will be marked by uncertainty. However, there are strong lines that will allow us to see the needs of companies. I have identified 6 areas that have very strong growth potential. Therefore, around these six areas, I will focus our development efforts in 2023. Our commercial approaches will also be adapted to meet our identified needs and continue our growth.
If you see other areas of development, do not hesitate to comment on this article or to write to us.
Tags: market research europe, marketing strategy