Don't shoot the messenger. Our 2024 prediction for executive teams is to expect even more sales pipeline turbulence caused by increasing shifts in buyer preferences and patterns.
Wait, wasn't that the story of 2022 and 2023? Yup. The transformation of B2B buying preferences and patterns continues! And there's more ahead.
B2B buyers will complete even more of their journey "under the surface" before engaging with sellers. The pre pandemic go to market (GTM) playbooks are not just outdated, they are toxic. One signal is Google's recent restrictions on non authenticated emails that put the nail in the coffin of supporting non personalized, bulk, generic outbound activities. We predict that any firm continuing "pray and spray" B2B practices or "marketing owns lead generation" will quickly erode relationships and pipeline.
We've intentionally omitted any predictions of AI. We expect to be inundated with plenty of "AI will save the sales revenue universe" predictions. Instead, we've boiled down our predictions to three go to market (GTM), revenue enablement sub systems.
Prediction #1 - The Circle of Trust
Yes, we all remember the Robert De Niro scene from Meet the Parents.
Buyers are carefully watching and researching their options. Successful B2B GTM teams understand that building deep, trusted relationships with more complex buyers will be paramount. Strategic relationship expertise will separate the B2B buyer's inner circle of trusted partners from run of the mill transactional B2B sales teams. Partnership ecosystems and sales engineers/product SMEs will increase visibility in new sales opportunities. And the next generation of B2B buyers will demand holistic experts who can deliver key advisory team insights, sharp financial acumen and industry leading perspectives. As a result, there will be a rebuilding of the revenue engine (and the associated playbooks) required to support and drive this strategy.
Prediction #2 - A Growing Endangered Species List
Winning teams will experience a leadership adoption of modern account-based engagement practices. What's the new model? The data Organizational design makeover. Chief Growth Officers (CGOs) will become the navigational band leader of GTM execution, replacing traditional Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) models as existing CRO-led go to market strategies are outdated. The first signal of this shift was the 2023 data reflecting the spike in CRO turnover.
CGOs are built differently, and often emerge from the marketing discipline. They have a more holistic, wider lens on the arc of customer acquisition, engagement, and growth. They understand that buyer engagement is a carefully orchestrated series of data driven, interrelated motions of presales, sales, marketing, product, sales engineering, and customer experience teams. Marketing and sales tech point solutions are replaced by engagement technology platforms that enable account centric engagement.
Prediction #3 - Elevated Table Stakes
Buyer intelligence. Data fed workflows designed around actionable, behavioral and intent data becomes a must have for GTM teams. Teams without data intelligence on when in-market buyers are ready to engage will be left out of the "learning" and "decision engaging" stages of the buyer's journey. At best, they'll be invited to bid on a RFP driven by more modern, buyer centric competitors. At worst, increased percentages of sellers will miss quota and the pipeline will be more anemic (and sales will blame marketing for a lack of qualified leads)
Digital sales. Gartner predicts 80% of B2B interactions will occur in digital channels and Forrester predicts that buyers aged 25-44 will make up >75% of the 2024 buying teams. These newly built buying teams are completing ~80% of the buying journey without a dependency on B2B sellers. GTM teams will need to commit to retooling their customer focused engagement strategies and avoid random acts of marketing. Examples include a wide adoption of video enablement, digital sales rooms (DSRs) and content management platforms (CMS) - all to provide buyers will wider access to insights, curated content, customized solution demos, and test drives. These allow buying teams to engage on their schedule, not a sellers schedule.
ROI fluency. Financial Acumen will become a “must have” competency for all new sales and account mgt roles. The “whale” opportunities will be closed by those who mastered the buyers’ value impact AND designed solutions to accelerate the financial impact of clients’ strategic investments. Modern CFOs are pressure testing investments to ensure spending directly impacts revenue production and profitability.
Our team at LucrumPartners.co understands the overwhelming changes racing at GTM teams. We often see the panic with executive leaders trying to assess where to start and how to prioritize transformational strategies while keeping the revenue generating trains on schedule. Our response? Take a breath, we can help.