2024 will be the year that supercharges revenue teams

By Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad, global leader in sales enablement technology

Hendrik Isebaert - Global Banking | Finance

Hendrik Isebaert

As 2023 draws to a close, thoughts turn towards the business landscape for the year ahead. But what will 2024 have in store? Will 2023 leave an indelible mark? Will we see the emergence of new trends across the sales and marketing arenas? And will there be any surprises in store?

Here are my forecasts and predictions for business sales and marketing over the next 12 months.

1.Taking AI to the next level

As buyers get smarter with more information at their fingertips, sellers will need to leverage AI to keep up. 2023 was undoubtedly the year in which AI entered the mainstream consciousness, but the nuances and, moreover, the advantages that AI can offer in a business environment, are still being worked out.

To maximise the almost unlimited possibilities that AI can offer, sellers will need to harness it in their meetings to drive better buyer interactions, stay one step ahead and be ready to add meaningful value to the conversation. Whether it’s using AI to instantaneously surface the most compelling pitch deck, talk track, or playbook, AI will enable sellers to show up as trusted advisors, earning buyer confidence and becoming indispensable to the customer journey. 

In addition to sales meetings, AI will also be leveraged to augment the role of the internal sales coach, making sales development programmes smarter and more scalable. The latest innovations mean that AI can provide actionable insights on seller skills and behaviours, helping define a baseline for sales readiness, and deliver targeted support to the reps who need it most.

And if you’re not integrating AI into your sales strategy in 2024, you will be opening yourself up to a brief-creep from your competitors.

2.Finally aligning sales and marketing teams

For years businesses have tried and failed to align sales and marketing teams. In a recent survey from Revenue Marketing Alliance’s State of Revenue Marketing Report 2023, approximately 70% of organisations said their sales-marketing alignment was not very good, leading to frustration and finger pointing. However, new enablement platforms coupled with AI will finally make this a reality. When sales and marketing teams are able to better align, they can sustain and nurture relationships with buyers. 

Alignment will also ensure maximised revenue and growth opportunities for the business. Bringing sales and marketing teams together will allow them to collaborate on key business goals and see how each department impacts the other. Customers will be delighted when their needs are being anticipated, understood and managed in real-time. With alignment, there will be more rapid deal cycles as customers are engaged and ready to buy.

3.Evolving from Customer Relationship Management to Sales Engagement Platforms

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Enablement Platforms (SEP) are both crucial tools in the modern sales and marketing landscape, but they serve distinct functions. 

While CRM systems were about managing customer relationships and data, the reality is they have become more about customer record management. Meanwhile, sales enablement platforms are about empowering sales teams to engage more effectively with those customers. In today’s world, businesses need a system of engagement to complement their system of record, and this has made Sales Enablement technology a must-have. Put simply, it is where the relationships happen.

CRM systems are designed to manage interactions with current and potential customers, tracking the history of customer engagements, sales opportunities, and service requests. They are invaluable for maintaining detailed records of customers and long-term relationship building. On the other hand, SEPs focus on equipping revenue enablement teams with the tools, content, and information needed to sell more effectively. These platforms provide resources like sales training materials, content management, and analytics tools to optimise the sales process.

It’s only a matter of time until SEPs outweigh CRMs in importance and additive value.

4.A resurgence of value-based selling

A value-based selling strategy focuses on understanding and reinforcing the specific value that a product or service provides to a customer, rather than merely emphasising its features or technical specifications. New sales reps sell features, while seasoned reps know that stories and outcomes are much stronger to help with conversion. In my view, 2024 will usher in a revival of value-based selling.

Value-based selling aligns the sales process with the customer’s core needs and challenges, leading to a stronger customer relationship and higher satisfaction. By demonstrating how a product can solve specific problems or improve efficiency, sales teams can justify a higher price point, reflecting the value it delivers. This is a compelling proposition given the global economic climate in which we are operating. 

Additionally, value-based selling differentiates an organisation’s offerings from competitors, focusing on unique benefits rather than engaging in price wars. This strategic focus on value rather than cost will help cultivate a brand image of quality and reliability, further driving revenue growth opportunities in 2024.

5.Shifting to revenue acceleration

The broader economic landscape means there is more pressure than ever on landing and shoring up revenue. This will inevitably lead to a very near-term emphasis on revenue acceleration.

In 2024, customers will not settle for adequate because they can’t be bothered with the upheaval of change. If a product or service isn’t optimising their bottom line, they’ll be more motivated to shift to something better. And there are some competitive deals out there to meet their needs.

Organisations are also likely to transfer focus to their installed bases, prompting them to invest more in the right tools that will help them to get better at account management and collaboration across their go-to-market teams.

However 2024 plays out, we know that smarter ways of selling, faster times to close deals, and harnessing data that shows us how and where we can improve our sales operations, will all prove pivotal to the growth and success of our businesses.