As we prepare for the year ahead, the sales landscape is undergoing some major shifts. In an era of abundant information and increasingly informed buyers, traditional sales tactics are rapidly becoming obsolete. Amid economic pressures, the emphasis on maximizing business growth will be critical, with organizations focusing on optimizing their bottom lines and improving sales operations through more effective customer engagement.
We had the opportunity to get some insights and predictions from Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad, a leading sales enablement platform. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about what to expect in the year ahead.
Taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Next Level
As we move into 2024, we can expect artificial intelligence (AI) to take center stage in the world of sales. With buyers becoming increasingly knowledgeable and demanding, sellers will need to harness the power of AI to stay ahead. The year 2023 marked the mainstream adoption of AI, but there is still much to explore in terms of its nuances and advantages in a business environment.
According to Isebaert, to fully maximize the potential of AI, sellers must utilize it in their sales meetings to drive better buyer interactions and add meaningful value to the conversation. By leveraging AI, sellers can instantly access compelling pitch decks, talk tracks, and playbooks, positioning themselves as trusted advisors and earning buyer confidence throughout the customer journey.
But AI’s impact goes beyond just sales meetings. It will also play a crucial role in augmenting the role of the internal sales coach, making sales development programs smarter and more scalable. The latest innovations in AI enable actionable insights on seller skills and behaviors, helping define a baseline for sales readiness and deliver targeted support to those who need it most.
As we look forward to 2024, integrating AI into your sales strategy is no longer an option; it is imperative to stay competitive and avoid falling behind your rivals. By embracing AI, you can take your sales efforts to the next level, offering a seamless and personalized customer experience that will set you apart from the rest.
Finally Aligning Sales and Marketing
For years, businesses have struggled to align their sales and marketing teams, leading to frustration and inefficiency. However, in 2024, a series of predictions suggests that new enablement platforms coupled with AI will finally make this alignment a reality. According to recent surveys, approximately 70% of organizations have admitted that their sales-marketing alignment is not effective.
By bridging this gap, businesses can sustain and nurture relationships with buyers, while maximizing revenue and growth opportunities. The collaboration between sales and marketing teams will be essential, as they work together to achieve key business goals and understand the impact of each department on the other. Customers will benefit from this alignment, as their needs are anticipated, understood, and managed in real-time. The result will be more rapid deal cycles, as customers are engaged and ready to make purchases.
Evolving from CRM to SEP
The last thing we talked with Hendrik Isebaert from Showpad about was the evolution from CRM to SEP. In 2024, as we look ahead to the future of the sales and marketing landscape, a significant shift is expected in the role of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and Sales Enablement Platforms (SEP). While CRM systems have traditionally focused on managing customer relationships and data, they have evolved into primarily customer record management tools. On the other hand, SEPs have emerged as crucial platforms for empowering sales teams to engage more effectively with customers.
In this new era, businesses are recognizing the need for a system of engagement that complements their system of record. Sales Enablement technology, with its emphasis on facilitating relationships, has become an essential component. CRM systems continue to be valuable for managing interactions with customers, tracking engagement history, and fostering long-term relationship building. However, SEPs are designed to equip revenue enablement teams with the tools, content, and information necessary to optimize the sales process. These platforms offer resources such as sales training materials, content management, and analytics tools.
Looking ahead, it is clear that the importance and additive value of SEPs will continue to grow, potentially outweighing the significance of CRMs. As businesses strive to stay ahead in this ever-evolving landscape, embracing Sales Enablement technology will be a necessity.
Thanks again to Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad for sharing his ideas and insights.