It’s time to start your sales prep for 2023. Try these tactics.

There’s an old adage in sales: “If you’re on time, you’re late.” If you’ve just started prospecting for 2023, you’re already late. There’s only a few months left to go, and your pipeline won’t fill itself.

I’ve always said that the last quarter of any year should be 25 percent about closing business for this year and 75 percent about building a robust pipeline for next year. Sure, one tactic to close the sales year is ensuring reps close business in their forecast and make quota, but if you’re only focused on finishing 2022 with a bang, then you’ll be starting 2023 with a fizzle. Some companies have unused budgets you need to grab (although that is a less likely scenario than in previous years), but most buyers have shifted their focus to next year, and smart sellers have, too.

Full transparency: I’m late this year. I have excuses, we all do. But excuses don’t matter. I’ll have to live with my inertia and lack of sales prospecting the last two quarters. I really should listen to what I tell others.

What about you? Have you told your team their top sales priorities for Q4? Is prospecting for 2023 a key focus? If not, then what are you waiting for? Getting a jump-start on business development for next year is non-negotiable. The holidays will be here in a blink. Now is the time to complete your sales prep for 2023.

Prospecting for 2023: Set Strategic Goals

The close of each quarter presents the same challenge over and over—close business for that quarter and meet your sales goals. But that thinking is not strategic and doesn’t give us the time or permission to build a longer-term sales pipeline. Account based sales reps quarterback complex deals that rely on an exquisitely crafted, fine-tuned prospecting strategy—not a last-minute free-for-all. Yes, we have goals to meet and tactical, day-to-day business to address, but  signing new clients shouldn’t be the entire focus in Q4.

(Image attribution: fauxels)

Savvy account-based sales reps know the one or two deals they can close this year because they’ve outlined the steps to get there. Those deals are already in the works and fall into one of three categories:

  • Waiting for the agreements to be signed: They’re stalled in legal but you know the steps to get them out.
  • One more reference to check: You’ve coordinated with the client who is giving the reference and ensured the conversation has happened.
  • Decision is stalled: Do you know the reason? It could be time to bring in your CEO to close the deal.

If there are any other hurdles you need to clear, the deal is not far enough along to close this year. Don’t let your team waste time chasing that last deal for 2022. It’s time to think ahead and start prospecting for 2023.

Close What’s Closest to Cash

‘Tis the season to prioritize. You need to make time for sales prep for 2023 but still wrap up Q4. My advice: Do what’s closest to cash.

Sometimes a client asks: How soon can we start? More frequently they tell me they’ve slated our referral program for Q1 or Q2. OK, that’s not as close to cash as I’d like, but it’s a deal I can include in my sales prep for 2023.

(Image attribution: fauxels)

But sometimes I can successfully make the case for a Q4 start. A prospect told me they wanted to offer my referral program, but they’d need to wait until January for budget. Well, I wasn’t going to accept that without at least making my case. I outlined two reasons for starting in Q4:

  • His sales team would be ready to hit the ground running with referrals in January.
  • The holiday season was a great time for salespeople to network and put their newfound referral selling skills to good use.

To be fair, I offered different terms to make starting this year feasible. My prospect went from starting in January to agreeing to my reasons for Q4.

Deals like this are the ones I’m focused on right now, but I plan to spend the bulk of my time going forward focused on sales prep for 2023 and building my future pipeline. How about you? What do you have in the pipe already? I’m confident you know how to take it from here.

Prospecting for 2023 starts now. Want your team to fill the pipeline with hot referral leads? Contact me at 415.461.8763 or

(Featured image attribution: Engin Akyurt)