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Hot takes from Sales & CS: 2023 lessons & 2024 predictions

  • Jan 11, 2024
  • 3 minutes

To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by professionals in these fields, we conducted a survey in December 2023. 

Over 100 Sales and Customer Success professionals generously shared their insights, providing a comprehensive view of the sales and revenue landscape. 

Here, we break down the results.

Section 1: the lost deals of 2023

Question 1: What was the most common reason you lost deals in 2023?

Documenting and understanding the reasons behind lost deals is critical to refine sales strategies for the future. Our respondents highlighted a number of objections, with ‘lack of budget’ leading the pack at 31.9%. 

This won’t come as a surprise to most salespeople, as budgets were cut across almost every market in 2023. 

‘Wrong timing’ or ‘not a priority’ was a close second at 23%, highlighting the importance of aligning your product or service with the business priority of the prospect.

‘Price of product’ (17.7%) and the ‘inability to prove ROI’ (7.1%) were also highlighted as significant blockers. 

6.2% of respondents noted the prospect ‘sticking with their current option’ as their most common objection. The security and comfort of the current provider is always a tricky objection to tackle but an important one if budget and price have been overcome.

Finally, just 3.5% of respondents attributed losses to a ‘wrong or poor fit’.

Section 2: the objections of 2024

Question 2: What do you expect to be your most common sales objection in 2024?

Budget came out on top once again, with 33.3% predicting it as their primary hurdle this year. 

Price sensitivity (23.1%), timing (10.2%)  and the challenge of convincing clients to switch from their current option (9.3%) were also predicted to remain common objections.

With all the excitement of AI in 2023, ‘AI and automation’ came in as a newly predicted objection for this year at 6.5% of respondents. ‘Security and compliance’ another 2023 hot topic, came in with less concern at 1.9%, though this is one to keep an eye on as its importance continues to grow and regulations evolve. 

Section 3: AI - the hurdle or the helper?

Question 3: Do you believe automation & AI helped you achieve your sales goals in 2023?

Though they were noted as potential blockers, an overwhelming majority of Sales and CS professionals agreed ‘AI and automation’ would help them achieve their business goals this year, with 66.7% answering Yes. 

However, 27.8% - a considerable proportion - remained ‘Unsure’ about the impact of automation and AI, perhaps suggesting a need for clearer understanding and communication around the benefits of AI and automation in sales.

Section 4: the year of opportunity

Question 4: What do you believe is your biggest opportunity for sales in 2024?

Our respondents identified two major avenues for growth in 2024 that were neck and neck: ‘improving sales skills and processes’ and ‘harnessing the power of AI and automation’, both at 20.4%. We’ve been long-term advocates for this hybrid approach in sales, balancing human-centric skills and cutting-edge technology to achieve success, so we’re thrilled to see these two come out on top.

‘Better market and economic conditions’ emerged as the third-largest opportunity at 15.5%, while ‘growing current contracts’ came in at 13.6% - highlighting the importance of the CS role in revenue generation. 

Exploring ‘new markets’ at 8.7% rounded out the top five opportunities.

Section 5: confidence is key

Question 5: On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you about achieving your business goals in 2024?

We were very pleased to see the optimism Sales and CS folk are showing coming into the new year, with all respondents giving over 5 out of 10. 

8 out of 10 led the way at 32.7%, 9 out of 10 sat at 12.1% and we saw a strong ‘glass half full’ contingent with 10 out of 10 confidence at 19.6% - nearly one in five responses!

Now in 2024, we all know sales will need to balance the traditional aspects of team expertise with the transformative power of technology and AI. But the focus on budget and pricing battles remains strong, showing some things don’t change - however much we might like them to.

We hope, these results can help guide you into this new year with whatever it has to throw at you. Let us know your thoughts and what you predict to be the trends in sales in 2024.

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