As business buyer expectations continue to rise, digital buying increasingly disrupts routes to market, and partner ecosystems continue to morph, Forrester sees the cost of winning (and protecting) revenue continuing to grow. To win the competition for growth, B2B organizations will need a customer-obsessed growth engine that aligns their core customer-facing teams — marketing, sales, and product — around new ways to deliver value to B2B buyers.
These teams face a turbulent year, buffeted by novel technologies and increasingly demanding buyers. Topping the list of heady challenges is generative AI (genAI); our 2023 data (subscription required) shows that four out of five AI decision-makers (ones who anticipate using generative AI during the next 12 months) believe that its impact on their business will be high, especially over the next two years. To prepare you to withstand a ride full of twists and turns next year, here’s a preview of some of Forrester’s 2024 predictions for B2B marketing, sales, and product teams:
- Generative AI will surface insights that dictate one in five new B2B product launches. We expect product teams to adopt genAI to expedite the review of an even wider variety of win/loss, competitive intelligence, and customer feedback sources. GenAI’s ability to sift rapidly through piles of structured and unstructured data will help identify novel or non-obvious capabilities that, in turn, we believe will make it into 20% of products launched. To make these efforts pay off further, teams should elevate their use of continuous product discovery to collect even more meaningful data, bring buyer viewpoints directly into the development process, and build out features collaboratively.
- Thinly customized generative AI content will degrade the purchase experience for 70% of B2B buyers. On the flip side, marketing’s early experiments using generative AI will produce little more than simple vertical veneers, poorly personalized offers, or translations free of local nuance, frustrating B2B buyers already saturated in irrelevant content. We predict that more than 70% of these buyers will voice displeasure about the material that vendors share and will tell us in surveys that it fails to demonstrate an understanding of their organization’s business conditions, local markets, or needs. B2B marketers looking to put generative AI to better use should invest in fresh buyer and customer persona interviews and use the transcripts to guide their content personalization efforts.
- Half of B2B firms will boost partner ecosystem technology and process investment. Reliance on partner ecosystems will see an upward spike in 2024 as economic pressures continue to challenge direct sales growth and as buyer preferences shift to partners that offer more value through richer sets of solutions and services. We predict that up to half of those we survey will report spending increases on partner ecosystem technology, and half of those will increase that spending by a minimum of 10%. How will they spend some of that budget? On multiparty collaboration processes for co-innovation, account mapping, co-marketing, and co-selling and on integrating novel capabilities such as generative AI and partner-led marketplaces.
B2B marketing, sales, and products teams up for a thrilling ride will be rewarded by delivering products, content, and partner ecosystem strategies that differentiate them in the eyes of both net-new buyers and existing customers.
Read our full Predictions 2024: B2B Marketing, Sales, And Product report to get more details about each of these predictions, plus two more bonus predictions. Set up a Forrester guidance session to discuss these predictions or plan out your 2024 strategies for creating more value for customers.
If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2024. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2024 hub.