As the world of business services continues to evolve, go-to-market (GTM) models for the sector will be forced to adapt in tandem. In the face of cooling inflation and ebbing supply chain hurdles, economic malaise remains a key concern across verticals and continues to drive commercial and technological development. Looking ahead, the industry will face numerous challenges, including an imperative to adjust to new technologies, changing customer expectations and intensifying competition. In this article, we will explore some of the key trends business services enterprises can expect to emerge in 2023.
The Official Death of the Field Rep
Among the most notable shifts to expect is the demise of the field sales rep. The traditional field sales approach requires salespeople to visit customers in person. The hybrid approach combines traditional field sales methods with modern remote selling techniques and allows companies to reach more customers, increase their sales and reduce their costs. In 2023, we can finally expect to see a broader phase-out of in-person selling to enable convenience and cost savings for both sellers and their prospects.
As business travel ramped back up in 2021 and 2022, many commercial leaders have been wondering how much time sellers should spend in the field. The short answer: a lot less time than before. Although face-to-face time with customers is invaluable, moving forward sellers are likely to spend half as much as time in the field as they were prior the onset of the pandemic while maintaining the same level of productivity.
Softening Markets for HR and Talent
Similarly, a multitude of factors have catalyzed a softening of the market for HR and talent solution providers that benefited from strong demand in recent years. The most significant of these factors is the increasing availability of free or low-cost HR and talent solutions, such as those offered by cloud-based providers. This digitization has made it more difficult for traditional HR and talent solution providers to compete on price. At the same time, the demand for HR and talent solutions has shifted away from traditional products and towards more modern, technology-driven alternatives.
Business services organizations can expect to see an escalation of this trend throughout 2023, as recent reports have illustrated an uncertain talent landscape amid widespread layoffs in the technology space. In response, a large portion of GTM leaders are planning for flat sales and marketing headcount, a sharp contrast to the hiring influx of 2022. Extrapolating that trend and anticipating lower demand for talent overall paints a clear and challenging position for recruiters and HR talent solution providers in 2023.
Increased Demand for BPO and Outsourcing
The increased demand for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) — and outsourcing services more generally — is the direct result of companies seeking better leverage and cost flexibility amidst growing concerns of recession. This year, companies will look to reduce costs and increase efficiency by outsourcing certain processes and services to third-party providers, which will allow them to focus on their core competencies and reduce overhead costs.
BPO and outsourcing services provide companies with access to a wide range of expertise and resources that they may not have in-house. Historically, this sort of uncertainty has generated opportunity for BPO and outsourcing firms that can help reduce cost and risk while often increasing throughput for their customers. As uncertainty and hesitation to hire rises, we expect to see organizations opt for the flexibility that comes with automating and outsourcing various business workflows.
Business services organizations can strengthen their commercial positions throughout 2023 by examining these key trends and incorporating them into strategy and planning. Understanding that this year is likely to see the death of the field sales rep, softening HR and talent markets, and increased demand for BPO and outsourcing can help decision makers navigate the fluctuations of evolving industry GTM models as they evolve. Remaining vigilant for the industry-wide ripple effects of these trends will help to ensure resiliency and stability despite economic turbulence.