Conference Updates

LAS VEGAS, Nev., May 16, 2023

Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference 2023: Day 1 Highlights

We are bringing you news and highlights from the 2023 Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference, taking place this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Below is a collection of the key announcements and insights coming out of the conference.

On Day 1, we are highlighting the Gartner Opening Keynote, the top technologies that are boosting B2B buyer engagement, how sales organizations can leverage the power of AI, and four key levers to developing a high quality pipeline. 

Key Announcements

Gartner Opening Keynote: Prioritizing the Human Touch: Connecting the Buyer, Seller and Sales Leader of The Future

Presented by Robert Blaisdell, Senior Director Analyst and Alice Walmesley, Director, Advisory, Gartner

Advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence and sales analytics are offering some clarity in an uncertain B2B sales world, but many sales leaders are trying to determine what role humans play in this new environment. 

In the Opening Keynote at the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference, Robert Blaisdell, Senior Director Analyst and Alice Walmesley, Director, Advisory at Gartner shared how the most successful sales leaders are positioning technology as a teammate to their human sellers to drive high-quality deals.

Key Takeaways

  • “The pace of change is accelerating and putting revenue goals at risk in three key ways:

    1. Inflated digital expectations are causing buyers to regret their purchases.
    2. Pervasive pessimism about the economy is eroding margins and reducing high-quality deals.
    3. Unrelenting uncertainty about the future is leading buyers to be 2x more likely to abandon their purchases.”

  • “This environment is a recipe for dysfunction, with 55% of buying groups experiencing dysfunctions and thus 74% less likely to complete a high-quality deal.”

  • “The normal approach to deal with dysfunction relies on sellers, CSOs' most flexible but expensive assets. Yet the talent rollercoaster of the last three years is making them less reliable.”

  • “Sales is at a turning point. Technologies such as generative AI, emotion AI and digital humans are revolutionizing the seller role and helping unlock the full potential of sellers.”

  • “Together with technology, humans can deliver value affirmation to buyers, or interactions that make them confident in their purchase decision, through the unique attributes they bring to the table such as empathy hacking and active listening.”

    More information is available in the Gartner press release, "Gartner Says Sales Leaders Who Position Technology As a Teammate Rather Than a Tool will Unlock Seller Productivity and High-Quality Deals."

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9 Cool Technologies to Improve B2B Buyer Engagement

Presented by Dan Gottlieb, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner

By 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. Sales leaders are seizing the opportunities presented by technology, from virtual reality to artificial intelligence. In his presentation, Dan Gottlieb, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, shared nine of the technologies CSOs can use to boost buyer engagement. 

Key Takeaways

  • “Buyers’ needs are changing, and sales leaders must adapt. Technology provides an opportunity for sellers to lean in and create value.”

  • “B2B buyers need three things from their sales interactions:

  • Real-Time Collaboration: Technology such as conversation intelligence can help sales collaborate with buyers to boost deal velocity and introduce cross-sell opportunities. 

  • Help Influencing Consensus: Buyers need the tools to create consensus within the buying group. Workstream collaboration platforms help improve pipeline conversion and pipeline coverage.

  • Digital Guidance Tools: Technology such as narrative automation help sellers affirm value for buyers, aiding sales teams with opportunity generation and improving cost efficiency.”

  • The list of technologies to improve B2B buyer engagement is included in the slide above.

    More information is available in the Gartner press release, “Gartner Identifies Top Sales Technologies to Boost Buyer Engagement.”

Using the Power of AI to Boost Sales Productivity

Presented by Doug Bushée, VP Analyst, Gartner

From adaptive training to guided selling, AI has the power to elevate the quality of client interactions and revenue team competencies. In his session, Doug Bushée, VP Analyst at Gartner, explored the role of AI in enabling high-potential sellers and improving overall productivity. 

Key Takeaways

  • By 2025, 75% of B2B sales organizations will augment traditional sales playbooks with AI-guided selling solutions.

  • “AI is already improving enablement efforts in three key areas:

  • Productivity: Tools such as conversational AI and automatic data capture are freeing up time for sellers to focus on more complex, high-impact tasks.

  • Quality: Tools offering real-time guidance and personalized recommendations are improving the quality of sellers’ results.

  • Insights: AI provides sales teams with valuable customer insights to assist with  forecasting and lead scoring.

  • “While AI offers a significant opportunity for sales leaders, they must ensure that guardrails are in place to ensure humans are involved in what AI creates and what clients see.”

Look Under the Hood: 4 Levers to Developing High Quality Pipeline

Presented by Shiela Rahimian, Director, Advisory, Gartner

Seventy-two percent of organizations cite pipeline generation as a critical priority, however it has become increasingly challenging as the buying process becomes more complex. In her session, Shiela Rahimian, Director, Advisory at Gartner, shared the four levers sales leaders can pull to boost their pipeline growth. 

Key Takeaways

  • “Sellers have to work harder than ever to build a pipeline. Buyers are engaging less with sellers, buying groups are growing in size and buyers are overwhelmed.”

  • “Sales leaders must work with other functions such as marketing to drive results and make pipeline generation possible for sellers.”

  • There are four levers that CSOs can pull to drive increased pipeline growth:

    1. Align sales and marketing on target account fit criteria.
    2. Develop a repeatable methodology for creating high-value content and experiences that drive pipeline conversions.
    3. Invest in the right revenue tech stack to drive pipeline growth.
    4. Create operational rigor around meeting cadences and shared pipeline metrics.

Stay tuned for more highlights coming out of the 2023 Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference tomorrow, Wednesday May 17.

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