5 Predictions for the GTM 5.0 Era
#1 Intent 2.0 gains traction with sales teams
Intent is getting a big makeover in 2024. The era of intent 1.0 was about marketers using platforms like 6sense and Demandbase to fill the sales funnel with accounts with strong “intent” or buying signals. The result is that sales teams have black box scores or account lists to chase. Reps lacked context and still had to go find the right users within those accounts who may not exhibit any intent. Many of these platforms missed the value of an organization's unique 1st party data, such as product usage, community, website visits, marketing, etc.
But, imagine a world where sales teams could combine the power of 1st and 3rd party intent into a single source, where they can build their own intent-driven playbooks.
Prediction: We will see a big spike in sales teams' adoption of intent-driven playbooks to solve their pipeline challenge.
#2 Data and workflow consolidation
We have hit peak tool overload in 2023, and with so many teams tightening budgets, it doesn’t take a psychic to tell you we’re entering a consolidation cycle. However, unlike past consolidation cycles, this isn’t just a consolidation of the app layer, we’re also seeing consolidation of data.
The rise of best-of-breed tools in go-to-market has also led to an explosion of data silos. Every app creates another data silo with its own logic. The result? Distinct playbooks run in silos.
Prediction: We will see both data consolidation in tools (bringing more data to one source of truth) and workflow consolidation (no code or customizable tools that have the flexibility to run multiple playbooks).
#3 AI goes from toy to tool
Up until now in go-to-market, AI has been more of a fun toy than a real operational tool for sales teams. We see this changing dramatically in 2024. As AI gets embedded into every workflow a sales rep runs, we’ll see it become table stakes rather than a novelty. For example, AI will be more prevalent in customer/prospect research and personalization.
Prediction: AI research-driven email personalization takes off as a use case with sales teams that do high-volume outbound campaigns.
#4 The email gods strike down more bad habits
I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the email armageddon that providers like Google started this year. Don’t underestimate just how fed up everyone is with low-quality mass sequencing.
Prediction: Expect more provider enforcement of email send hygiene. We also expect more users to take their inbox privacy into their own hands. Shoutout to Andy Mowat and the team at Gated, who did a lot to push this trend.
#5 AI and other technology usher in a new breed of seller
Many people are incorrectly (IMO) predicting the "end of SDRs" or other dramatic statements. The truth is the role of SDRs and sales, in general, will change a lot in 2024 in several ways that are hard to nail precisely. We are confident that with the emergence of AI, more advanced automation in the sales cycle will be possible.
Prediction: This change will push all sales roles to be more strategic, and sellers will be required to be more data literate than ever before. Internally, we've been calling this new generation of SDR the flex-DR. This hybrid role can flex to do a lot, from leaning into product assistance (sales-assist) or modern prospecting (using intent data).
Looking back at Last Years Predictions
#1 Retention will overtake ARR as the primary goal for the go-to-market team
Prediction: The first half of 2023 will see companies double down with their existing user base, putting more focus on NDR than ARR. This doesn’t mean ARR won’t matter - a good business strategy can’t exist without new business. Instead, this is about growing efficiently and profitably rather than just rapidly.
Result: True. This year's SaaS discourse focused on retention and Net Dollar Retention as a sign of a business’ health. With mass layoffs, the natural expansion of accounts was no longer a given. Account Managers and CSMs placed more emphasis on the retention of existing business.
#2 Mature PLG companies will begin to invest less in self-serve and more into PLS or Sales-Assist type motion
Prediction: You’ll see some previously Pure-Play PLG companies publicly pivot their messaging to appeal to enterprise buyers.
Result: True. Companies like Airtable very publicly signaled their focus on moving upmarket and deliberately reworking their GTM motion to focus on the PLS/sales-assisted rather than PLG.
#3 Outbound becomes critical for PLS teams
Prediction: With more deals requiring CFO or other C-Suite sign-off, sales teams will need to have smart outbound campaigns that run parallel to their warm PLS motion.
Result: True. The #1 thing we heard from every sales leader this year was “I need more pipeline.” Whether warm outbound to their existing user base or cold outbound to companies in their ICP, sales teams have renewed pressure to prioritize outbound. This is also informing our focus on intent 2.0 and the changing dynamics of GTM after a decade of easy money.
#4 The Product-Led Sales approach will permeate other functions, like Product-Led Customer Success and Product-Led Marketing
Prediction: By the end of 2023, Customer Success and Marketing teams will also have tools built directly on top of the data warehouse to equip them with product usage insights that drive everything from renewals to ad campaigns.
Result: True. This year we worked with more customer success and marketing teams than ever before at Pocus. Sales teams are not the only ones interested in leveraging product intent data to power workflows. Take Loom, for example, and their product-led customer success team or OpenPhone’s approach to product-led CS.
#5 Rep productivity will be the #1 priority for sales leadership
Prediction: Similar to the first prediction, rep productivity is another variable in the search for go-to-market efficiency. Product-Led Sales tools become critical to reinforcing rep efficiency and productivity to solve this problem in 2023.
Result: False (sort of). Rep productivity may not be the headline, but despite all the “do more with less” talk, the number one priority of every sales leader was finding new sources of pipeline. They definitely can’t build pipeline efficiently without a focus on rep productivity, but this was largely a concern of a few mature organizations rather than a widespread pattern.
#6 Data warehouse becomes the source of truth for modern GTM teams
Prediction: The data warehouse (not the CRM) will be the definitive source of truth for product-led businesses in 2023, which means more GTM tooling will sit on top of the data warehouse.
Result: False. As much as we want this one to be true, every year, the data warehouse hasn’t entirely broken out to hit the mainstream. If we were only talking about PLG companies, this is mainly true, but including all SaaS businesses, many are still managing data in silos.
Final tally: 4/6 correct predictions
How do you think we’ll do next year?