Sales technology has proliferated since 2020. According to Vendor Neutral, in the last few years, the number of tools available to sales has grown from 400 to over 1,000, with 66% of sellers saying that they are drowning in tools. Vendors build each tool to deliver value, and companies purchase these tools to access this value, but as companies introduce more technology, sellers become overwhelmed and cannot take advantage of each tool’s capabilities. Even worse, all these tools create confusion that leads to a reduction in productivity (see figure). Our analysis at Forrester shows that, despite all this new technology, sellers’ direct engagement with buyers is dropping.

Sales Technology Productivity Gap

There is hope on the horizon. Sales technology vendors understand that, if sellers don’t get value, companies will not renew with them. This, along with the emergence of generative AI, has led to a flurry of enhancements that will increase productivity in three ways:

  • Workflow beyond preconfigured cadences. With all the focus on generative AI, many organizations have not realized the focus that sales technology vendors have had on upgrading their next-best-action capabilities. Select vendors have released enhancements that connect sales execution, increase productivity, and use signals from multiple sources to produce a prioritized list of actions. These are just a few vendor enhancements that have been released this year, with more on the horizon. These improvements are raising the bar on productivity capabilities, which is good news for users. Companies will be able to go to one location to get everything they need to work on, freeing up time to engage more with buyers while spending less time figuring out who to engage with.
  • Improved insights using large language models. New models have emerged such as ChatGPT, Bard, and Claude, which can understand unstructured data with unprecedented accuracy. Sales technology companies are already building insights engines that can take advantage of this technology. This will lead to a new set of insights that sellers could never access before, which will help them win more deals. For example, companies will create models that evaluate every interaction that a company has had with a contact and align it with engagement methodologies to recommend outreach that is aligned with buyer preferences.
  • Improved engagement quality. Sellers want all their tools in one place and to access them not only for insights and analysis but also for engagement. New generative AI capabilities are allowing sellers to provide higher-quality engagement in less time. For example, meeting notes can be converted into a follow-up email that sellers can send after the call. The seller no longer needs to create the response — they just review, update, and send.

These enhancements are coming quickly and will be an enormous relief for overworked sellers working hard to meet their quotas. This means more time selling and less time preparing and searching for insights. The best sellers will integrate these capabilities quickly and use them to stand out from their competition.