Taking Aim at the Top 2017 Sales & Marketing Technology Trends

Earlier this fall, I saw a presentation from a trend consulting firm, The Future Hunters, at the SiriusDecisions Tech Exchange show. These guys are total geniuses at predicting future trends, and quite frankly, it inspired me to try my hand at “future-hunting.” Anyone who knows me realizes that while I am from Texas, hunting + Katie may not be the best combination (given my sheer lack of hand-eye coordination), but with 24/7 practice in the sales and marketing technology world, I’m confident that I’ve improved my aim.

Here are four of the top sales and marketing technology trends that you should expect to hear about in 2017:

1. Sales and Marketing Technology Integration Will Become a Top Priority

The shift to Account-Based Everything is compelling sales and marketing teams to work together, and sales and marketing technologies must follow suit. Given the proliferation of sales and marketing tools (for instance, available MarTech solutions exploded from 150 to 3,800 in the last five years), leading to widespread integration and utilization challenges makes this especially critical.

Sales intelligence technologies, for example, will need to get better at helping customers identify the right leads across the right accounts while giving marketing greater visibility into those accounts and the ability to leverage those leads for improved content and campaign targeting. This shift will require a more seamless integration between lead generation tools and all the new digital tools used by marketing to reach and engage those leads.

2. The Democratization of Data Will Further Level the Playing Field for Smaller Companies

There will be an increased focus on technologies and services that put the power of data into the hands of those who need it most. Sales and marketing, for example, will have more options to monitor, sanitize, and analyze data “at the edge” before it is dumped into large centralized databases where it can lose value quickly.

Companies will increasingly look to providers that alleviate the burden of all of this data management while empowering more effective sales and marketing initiatives. By delivering good data into the hands of sales reps and marketing leads so they can take more informed and immediate action. This is especially useful for smaller companies who can now leverage that data to compete against larger rivals in ways that were prohibitive previously.

3. Artificial Intelligence Will NOT Transform Sales and Marketing – Yet

While hype about AI continues to grow, it is not time yet for sales and marketing leaders to fully rely on this technology to transform their business functions. Over-reliance on technology can inhibit sales effectiveness if reps move too quickly to automation tools and neglect the fundamental skills and art – the human element – of sales. Instead, sales and marketing leaders will look to optimize their existing technology stacks and processes to improve integration, workflow, and ROI. All of this while beginning to test capabilities such as predictive intelligence to extract more insights and value from their data.

4. Sales Development Technology Adoption Will Explode as Traditional Email Marketing Evolves

The sales development function is increasingly a critical component of fast-growing organization’s sales and marketing teams. Email deliverability through traditional marketing automation systems is increasingly difficult, with inbox placement rates down by 11 points in just the last year as spam filters become increasingly sophisticated.

New sales development technologies, like Outreach and SalesLoft, enable a coordinated orchestration between emails and call sequences, as well as between sales and marketing. This ensures one-to-one personalized outreach from the sales development rep, supported by nurturing content from the marketing team’s more traditional outreach methods. Of course, the value that teams derive from the use of these technologies comes back to how good the data within the system is.

The Value of Good Data

There is a clear current running through these themes: the value of good data. Ultimately, companies are realizing that accurate, verified data is the most critical factor driving successful sales and marketing. As more technology is applied to the sales and marketing function, good data becomes increasingly important because it is the fuel powering those tools. So, as you start to hunt for your organization’s next growth driver, I’d suggest you start by taking aim at your data.

 

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Katie Bullard

As Chief Growth Officer (CGO), Katie brings 15 years of marketing, product, and strategy experience in global, ..read more

  • andy

    I completely agree with #4 – multiple intentional touches on prospects is the most effective way to contact potential customers. Good stuff!

  • Scott Shy

    Good stuff!! Automation and integration are critical for data and reporting integrity, as well as sales efficiency. Data is abundant, but so is data decay – a quality partner with accurate data is so important today! I also 100% agree that although automation is critical for marketing, sales back office and CRM, too much automation of SALES functions will never replace good human sales professionalism.

  • cntactmax

    Sales hunting / marketing providing air coverage! Account based everything!

  • Leslie

    I agree with number 4 – it is something our company is really focusing on in 2017. Our Sales and Marketing teams are really syncing up and working together to get our prospects attention more than ever before!

    • Katie Bullard

      Great to hear!

  • Sanjay George

    Good Read!

  • Kyle

    Good Read indeed.

  • Brian Charles

    To point 4 about Sales Technology adoption, increased data and business intelligence (i.e., “live data”) from beacons, RFID tags and embedded NFC systems will also explode in 2017. We are helping our clients to integrate their legacy POS and e-Comerce platforms with in-store technologies to provide concierge services in real time to customers.

  • Ariana Ioannidi

    I agree with #4! Personalized outreach is something that is very important to or SDRs/SMs. Using different technologies can help make their outreach more successful in the long run.

  • Ryan McCarty

    #4 For me as well! I’m interested to see what 2017 brings to the sales dev world!

  • Patrick Hussey

    3. AI will, however, change the way we are accessing information on prospects, be able to generate (and already can) semi-qualified leads based on activity… and so much more. We may not be replaced by the machines, but we are definitely getting our moneys worth!!

  • Charlie Lovette

    #3 stands out to me when looking at the value of good data. Many companies are starting to utilize AI more often, but AI has many downfalls when extracting mass quantities of data. I am constantly verifying leads to make sure our Sales and Marketing team is calling/sending to the most qualified individuals. We personally have had issues in the past with Leads showing up as unqualified but they are with the company still.

  • Jake Senechal

    #4. Tools like Outreach are giving our groups here more insight into what is successful, from what emails are getting looked at to the percentage of response by these emails.

    It is extremely helpful to make sure the messaging our marketing teams are coming up, are successful

  • Kristen

    I think it’s a tie between #1 and #4! Good read!