2024 Predictions Outlook: Sales Professionals Embrace AI Technology

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The New Year symbolizes a clean slate, and January is the ideal time for sales professionals to dust off 2023 and kick off their sales priorities for Q1 with a renewed vigor. At the forefront of 2024 is the unstoppable wave of technological innovation. Pipedrive’s The State of Sales & Marketing Report found companies that prioritize technology investments are best equipped to edge others out. Respondents working in companies that invested more in technology were 18 percentage points more likely to hope that their company grows annually. Having said that, it is tempting for people to rely on exciting new technologies to get the job done, but in sales – the trick is finding a balance between technology and human connection to maximize the sales process. According to a December 2023 survey by Cogito, “When it comes to interacting with AI for customer service inquiries, nearly half (46%) of consumers surveyed would prefer to speak to a real human but feel comfortable if the agent is using AI in the background to improve the interaction.”

As we embark into the calendar year, let’s take a look at three impending trends that will shape the business arena in 2024 to help sales professionals have their best year yet.

Evolving Technologies.

In our digital first world, technology emerges as a key enabler of progress and resilience in the 2024 business landscape. Salespeople are continuing to hone their digital sales strategies and are actively seeking technology platforms that extend beyond mere data management. Technology has shown ways it can create a seamless customer experience and foster long-term relationships. It’s incumbent among sales professionals to decide how much and which technologies can give them the winning edge. Pipedrive recently announced its new AI-powered Sales Assistant – a feature that helps salespeople with predictions on a deal’s win probability and recommendations for the next best actions, ultimately increasing the odds of winning deals. This is an example of where technology can really help boost a salesperson’s productivity and success.

AI: The Coexistence of Technology and Humanity.

AI has (almost) become ubiquitous, but as aforementioned, sales people are still wrapping their heads around its potential for increasing sales and companies are still grappling with how to use it. Meanwhile, soft skills remain crucial in a world that is abuzz with AI. Delivering customer value, building trust, and establishing genuine connections are areas where AI currently falls short, emphasizing the enduring importance of human interaction. While AI seeks to find a place in every household, it cannot replace the value of real human involvement. Businesses, mindful of this, are cautious about fully embracing AI-based sales and customer care models. The sentiment prevails that, at least in the near future, AI cannot replicate the depth of human connection and the trust it instills in both customers and businesses.

Generation Z (born between 1997 – 2012) Enters And Grows In The Workforce.

An article published on the World Economic Forum says Gen Z will make up about 27% of the workforce by 2025. Technology has been part of Generation Z’s lives from the start and a younger generation of tech-savvy consumers is entering the professional workforce and accelerating the digital transition. Their tech-first mentality serves as a beacon, inspiring others to embrace the power of a fully integrated tech ecosystem. The distinction between running sales models on spreadsheets versus embracing digital sales platforms becomes a pivotal factor in achieving sustained growth and capturing emerging audiences. While using digital platforms to reach Gen Z is an integral sales approach, human connection still matters to them. A McKinsey & Company study found that “they are surprisingly old school” and like to shop at brick-and-mortar stores more than the millennials before them.

2024 is the year for businesses to integrate technology strategically. The digital era is ever evolving – thus striking a balance between the potential of AI and preserving authentic business interactions becomes crucial for sales professionals striving to identify and convert leads to sales. While AI looks certain to become an integral piece of B2B technology, there is the feeling that in many cases, it will not be able to replace human connection and soft skills – at least not in the near future. Human contact and human conversation will always give customers and businesses a feeling of trust that is currently not there with new AI technologies, which is why businesses are wary to not simply jump ship and head fully into an AI-based sales and customer care model. Although there are many benefits of integrating AI into the business model, the human touch cannot be forgotten.

In 2024, technological innovation and human connection coalesce seamlessly for a healthy sales pipeline. Sales professionals are urged to master the delicate interplay between technological prowess and the timeless art of genuine human engagement.

Sean Evers
Sean Evers, Vice President of Sales & Partner at Pipedrive, brings nearly two decades of sales experience to Pipedrive working at companies, including Funding Circle UK where he served as Head of Global Sales, Fluidly and Sage where he was Vice President of Sales, and Pitney Bowes and Spicerhaart as Director of Sales Operations respectively. At Pipedrive, he is responsible for developing sales plans and strategies, organizing and maintaining sales operations, and leading sales teams.

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