2024 Go-to-Market Predictions

From AI and automation to operations and alignment, find out what go-to-market experts are watching for in the year ahead.

If you’re reading this report, congratulations — you survived a career’s worth of economic upheaval in roughly three years. Take comfort in the knowledge that the best go-to-market leaders and the most enduring companies are forged in the toughest conditions.

And while experts still can’t agree whether the worst is behind us, there are some things we know for sure. For one: the era of growth at all costs is long gone. Investors across the spectrum are once again demanding efficient growth and go-to-market strategies. The winners in this era will be data-driven, bottom-line focused, and scrupulous with their spending.

And ultimately, there are only three tangible ways to achieve the kind of sales efficiency the markets expect: 

  • Generate more leads of the same quality, for the same or lower cost. 
  • Turn more of those leads and opportunities into closed-won deals. 
  • Convert your opportunities at larger sale prices.

How will the best GTM teams make that kind of efficient, effective growth happen in 2024? We interviewed a handful of ZoomInfo’s own executives and subject matter experts across sales, marketing, and operations to get their takes on how GTM teams will embrace the defining challenges of our era. 


Automation Shakes Up SDR Roles (For the Better)

At HubSpot’s INBOUND conference, our ZoomInfo Labs team conducted an experiment on the conference attendees, filling out web forms from a real C-level officer at ZoomInfo, with accurate contact information. 

The results were honestly pretty shocking: 68% of companies just flat-out didn’t respond. Nothing. Nada. 

That should not be the case. This year, automation will finally close the gap.

Why now? The latest advancements in AI capabilities — and the fact that it’s become very trendy to incorporate AI tools — will supercharge the industry’s momentum toward automating the early parts of the sales cycle. 

Here’s how it could look in practice: AI-driven personalization draws on rich data to serve up an optimized web experience. Smart lead forms minimize friction by testing and serve just the right number of fields. Automated lead routing slots prospects into the right motion, and generative AI creates customized follow-up on behalf of the ideal seller. 

“We need to reserve the human for the highest-impact parts of the cycle — making connections, solving problems, and creating real-life relationships for the long term.”

Ben Salzman, SVP of of ZI Labs and GTM Innovation

The key to this almost utopian end-state is better connectivity between the tools in a typical tech stack. Or better yet, unifying those steps through a single platform, removing hurdles for both the prospects and the teams trying to convert them into customers.

This will increase speed to lead, improve data quality, shorten the sales cycle, help optimize spending, and improve overall website performance. In short, a marketer’s dream.


CRMs Take a Back Seat to Interconnected Data Sources 

Of all the ways you can measure the massive value created by sales tech, this one stands out: Salesforce, founded 25 years ago, now has a market cap of around a quarter-trillion dollars. That’s right, a company younger than most grad students is worth more than the GDP of many countries. 

However, many of our customers — more than 35,000 of them worldwide — have found that their CRMs are messy at best, and usually overburdened with data orchestration workflows. 

In 2024, we think that trend reaches a breaking point. As a result, investments in the interconnection of customer data outside the CRM becomes a primary focus of the sales-tech buyer.

Go-to-market teams are realizing that they need first-party, second-party, and third-party data for a 360-degree view of their customers. In fact, according to Datonics’ Programmatic Audience Targeting Survey, more than half of digital marketing campaigns use third-party data from an average of 12 providers. 

And they don’t just want that data in a dashboard, but in a format that allows them to turn insights into action at a moment’s notice.  

This is leading to massive investment in data orchestration. Vendr, a top B2B SaaS buying platform, said that business intelligence, data integration, and data science & analytics topped its purchasing categories for the first time ever in Q3.

“For B2B companies, the next goal is to make their data more accessible and interconnected, which will enable proactive data products that can drive optimization across GTM and product functions, including machine learning models, chatbots, and recommendation systems.”

Philip Zelitchenko, VP of Data and Analytics

Unfortunately, data scientists are currently spending 60% of their time cleaning and organizing data, with Snowflake reporting that the number of companies with data in all three of the leading public cloud platforms more than tripled in 2023. 

The answer: customer data platforms (CDPs) and the invisible intelligence layer on top of our sales and marketing tools. 

Large enterprises will build and buy large-scale GTM decision engines powered by first- and third-party data along with enhanced AI capabilities. This will require investments not only in master data management solutions, but also the most robust third-party data available. 

Finally, “customer 360” becomes a reality — just maybe not the way CRMs thought it would. 


Warm Calling Puts Old-School Outreach on Ice

No topic in sales is discussed, debated, and dreaded more than cold calling. And while the concept of cold calling isn’t going anywhere, in 2024, it’s going to get a little less cold — driving up conversion rates, saving time for sales teams, and improving the experience for prospects. 

What’s behind this change? It starts with the actionable intelligence available from intent data and sophisticated buying signals. 

Sellers and marketers can now pull together high-value data points — new hires, tech purchases, solution research, website visits — to draw a reliable picture of which accounts are interested in their solutions.

“Buyers actually expect hyper-relevancy and well-timed outreach, and now, with generative AI, B2B go-to-market teams can actually achieve this efficiently. Which means, by the time you pick up the phone, you know your prospect is primed to talk.”

Millie Beetham, Director of ZI Labs and GTM Innovation

The second reason is simply the overuse of email, and the possibility that platforms and apps push back against bad actors. Google’s recent announcement that it would step up enforcement of spam controls for consumer inboxes in 2024 is an early warning signal for B2B teams — and will be a reason for the smartest GTM teams to get smarter, fast. 

The result will be more targeted efforts based on the right buying signals. But any degree of caution over email outreach will also increase the reliance on quality direct and mobile phone numbers — as we’ve already seen in Europe with GDPR, phone numbers are crucial for engaging your customers. 

So no, those cold-calling horror stories won’t go away completely. But with warmer leads and better timing, more sales professionals will find real reasons to smile while they dial.


The Best Sales Reps Use AI Assistants Every Day

In 2024, GenAI will deliver tangible day-to-day impacts in GTM, particularly in customer-focused roles. Imagine the positive revenue impact if every rep has an assistant researching their customer accounts, surfacing potential in-market accounts, guiding the next logical action, crafting personalized outreach, and more — without having to split the commission.

AI-powered virtual assistants or copilots will help automate standard processes like prospecting and outreach, allow sales reps to cut through the noise and act on the most relevant signals, and create seamless workflows across multiple platforms.

While the market is clearly obsessed with GenAI, large enterprises have still not adopted the technology at scale. This is largely due to security, governance, and scalability reasons — in addition to a general sense that it’s too much to digest, too soon. But in year two of the GenAI era, that will quickly change. 
Here’s why: The sales tech stack has become bloated over the past decade, with too many systems to create and capture data about their customers and sales cycles. This leads to wasted time, and soul-crushing administrative overhead — a Salesforce survey found that sales teams use 10 tools on average to close deals, but two-thirds of sellers say they’re overwhelmed by their tech stacks.

“In 2024, top revenue producers in sales & customer success will leverage AI for repetitive workflows and tap into GenAI as a starting point for personalization, widening the gap in quota attainment and customer delight.”

Hang Black, VP of Revenue Enablement

Ideally, the broader adoption of AI assistants will allow sellers to focus more of their time on connecting with customers, negotiating, and closing deals. Cheers to 2024 with an AI assistant to help sellers win faster.


Sales and Marketing Don’t Align. They Combine

For decades, we’ve been working hard at finding alignment between sales and marketing teams on target audiences, messaging, and more. But ultimately, the market at large hasn’t moved the needle much.

That’s finally starting to change.

“As go-to-market tech gets better at serving the entire customer lifecycle, companies are finally starting to break down the old barriers between sales and marketing. The result in 2024 won’t simply be alignment between those two halves of the revenue team — it’s unification.”

Andrew Riesenfeld, Chief Operating Officer of GTM

Companies that unify their GTM tech platforms have already found significant upside in more efficient, aligned operations. In our 2024 Customer Impact Report, for example, 73% of marketers reported better alignment with their sales counterparts when using ZoomInfo. 

From AI models, superior identity resolution, a greater number of sources and integrations, and ROI reporting — the sales and marketing stacks are starting to converge.

And as technology that spans all GTM functions continues to grow, the professionals who run those programs are becoming more multifaceted. In fact, ZoomInfo’s data shows a 25% increase in combined titles, such as GTM or Revenue, in just the last couple of years. In 2024, we expect to see over 30% growth in similar titles.


Account-Based GTM Becomes the Biggest Center of Gravity in B2B

The marketing industry has executed a remarkably quick shift from spray-and-pray advertising and fuzzy ROI to obsessively granular tracking, lead scoring, and optimization. But even with a shift toward account-based marketing, we’re missing the forest for the digital trees. 

In 2024, the pull of account-based strategies will reach a tipping point across both marketing and sales, making account-based experiences (ABX) the default approach for modern B2B. It delivers best customer experiences and bigger deals.

“Yes, leads still matter. But we have to recognize that no business worth winning actually rests on the decision of one lead or individual, no matter how well-qualified. In order to reach scale efficiently, GTM teams must engage the entire buyer groups within an account through an omni-channel approach.”

Ben Daters, Vice President of Marketing Products

The proof will be in the budgets. As ABX gains momentum, you’ll quickly see the bulk of marketing technology spend shift away from the “how” — marketing automation platforms — and toward the “what” of targeting, qualifying, and winning accounts.

And because account journeys happen anywhere people convene, ABX tech will continue to expand, folding in advertising, email, chat, and more, all while integrating with core sales engagement functionality. 

Oh, about sales. This shift also means that sales will need to evolve toward the same account-based path in lockstep with marketing. 

Although sales departments are typically a few years behind transformative shifts, we’re finally seeing greater demand for actionable signals and prioritization of where to spend their time. At ZoomInfo, we’ve turned this into a feature: Aircover, which lets sales account owners directly request advertising campaigns aimed specifically at high-value accounts they want to engage. 

Want to get ahead of the curve now? Kick off your 2024 planning by aligning the entire GTM operation around marketing qualified accounts (MQAs), and pull together the plans that will help you land them. Your shareholders and employees will thank you later.