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Assumption vs. Reality: A Cautionary Tale for Prospecting

Are your prospects' budgets increasing or decreasing in 2023?
Reality is fact.
Assumptions are beliefs about what is true.

Humans make assumptions when it’s difficult to ascertain the facts. At BAO, we know the value of gathering relevant facts about prospect accounts, because that’s the very basis of our Opportunity Identification (OppID) service. If you’re new to OppID, you might be wondering how we gather those facts. The answer, while not necessarily easy, is simple: We call the organizations and ask the people who know the answers. Clients love this service because it gives them intelligence about their target market so they can prospect with confidence, not guesswork.

Something happened recently that really brought home how far apart assumptions can be from reality.
Here's what happened:

We got two data points from two different sources that, when brought together, tell a fascinating story about assumption vs. reality happening right now.

Data point #1:
We recently surveyed 153 B2B technology sales leaders to gauge their attitudes about and plans for the 2023 sales climate. One of the questions asked which challenges they are are concerned could affect their ability to hit their number this year, and 53% said reduced customer/prospect budgets. In fact, this was the number-one reason cited. (Download the full trend report for more perspectives on the 2023 sales climate.) Chances are, you’re not surprised by this. Many sales and marketing teams are currently operating on the assumption that customer/prospect budgets are currently shrinking, or flat at best.
Data point #2:
BAO performed an OppID to profile B2B technology buyers. Among other questions, we asked about budgets. A full three-quarters—75%—said their IT budgets are increasing in 2023 compared to 2022, with 17% saying those budgets are increasing significantly.
Here’s the upshot:
A lot of sales leaders are making assumptions that are logical and feel correct—but are actually wrong.
How this could play out in your prospecting:

Let’s map out a potential path for two competitors going after the same ideal customer profile (ICP). Company A is operating on the assumption that IT budgets are decreasing, while Company B works with BAO to profile target accounts.

Company A:
They are spending time and resources trying to solve for shrinking IT budgets in prospect companies as their biggest perceived challenge.
Company B:
Now that they know shrinking budgets aren’t the real issue, they’re focusing on solving some of the other challenges they’re facing, such as lengthening sales cycles.
Company A:
Reps spend time prospecting the entire target account list and trying to determine whether there is budget available.
Company B:
Reps use the OppID profiles to focus their outreach efforts on the accounts they know have increasing budgets.
Company A:
When reps engage with prospects, they have conversations based on other assumptions they’ve made about the market in general and the company in particular.
Company B:
When reps engage with prospects, they have highly targeted conversations based on specific, verified details about the account delivered via the OppID profile.
Now, put yourself in the prospect’s shoes.

Which company are you likely to be more favorably disposed to work with?

Don’t fall into the assumption trap.

Evidence beats gut every time. Don’t make assumptions about your audience that could be misleading—and potentially put you at a competitive disadvantage. With BAO’s OppID, you not only know what’s actually happening in your target market, you have the facts about individual prospects so you can significantly increase sales rep productivity and your chances of sales success.