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AI And The End Of Sales Development As We Know It

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Hello and welcome to The GTM Newsletter – read by over 50,000 revenue professionals weekly to scale their companies and careers. GTMnow is the media extension of GTMfund – sharing insight on go-to-market from working with hundreds of portfolio companies backed by over 350 of the best in the game executive operators who have been there, done that at the world’s fastest growing SaaS companies.

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Covered today:

  • An overview of AI’s impact on sales development.

  • More on GTM for your eardrums.

  • More on GTM for your eyeballs.

  • Startups to watch.

  • Hottest GTM jobs of the week.

  • GTM industry events.

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The sales process has come a long way since my days at Outreach.

AI has become integral to the sales process, with 95% of organizations using it in some capacity. It allows sales professionals to zero in on what truly matters, with 78% saying it helps them spend more time on crucial tasks. As procurement processes get longer and customer acquisition costs climb, AI is proving invaluable and is a core consideration for evaluating net new investments at GTMfund. It’s not about replacing human sellers but about helping them manage their time better, especially in complex sales scenarios where buyers still crave that personal touch.

AI’s Impact on Sales Development

AI-driven processes are already transforming functions and businesses. This leads to a critical question: “Will AI take my sales job?”

According to Salesloft, 95% of executives report using AI in sales, and 84% have used generative AI in the past year. Hubspot notes that 78% of sales professionals believe AI helps them focus on essential tasks. AI’s rise aims to optimize resources as SaaS sales costs increase.

Organizations automate sales to reduce costs, with customer acquisition costs rising for 54% of respondents. Significant spending on tech and salaries for sales development representatives (SDRs) further drives this trend. Administrative tasks consume substantial time, with sales reps spending only 28% of their time selling. SDRs spend 25-30 hours weekly on account research and CRM documentation, leaving just 10 hours for active selling (source). 

The Role of AI in Personalization

The role is massive. 

  • AI tools personalize outreach by analyzing business data, enabling sales reps to ask deeper questions and better understand prospects’ needs. 

  • AI builds follow-up processes based on gathered information. A Deloitte survey found that 82% of respondents believe AI improves job performance and satisfaction. 

  • AI eliminates guesswork in prospecting, identifies ready-to-buy prospects, and automates follow-up tasks, enabling more meaningful conversations.

Despite AI’s capabilities, nothing beats the human touch. Sometimes, even the best AI-generated outreach can’t close a deal because prospects might respond to well-crafted messages without actually needing what you’re offering. AI needs to find the sweet spot between saving time and generating meaningful leads that turn into sales.

Implementing AI Successfully

Mapping out your business processes is key to making AI work for you. By understanding which tasks eat up the most time, companies can better target their customer acquisition efforts. Tools like Mutiny and Warmly help tailor the buyer’s journey and boost social selling. 

AI gives leaders the insights they need to make smart decisions, making data analysis and visualization a breeze. With so many AI tools out there, picking the right ones can be tricky, but the good news is, you don’t need to double your team to see results. AI lets a smaller team do more.

Buyers love the efficiency AI brings but are wary of being overly tracked. Misusing AI to spam people can backfire, leading to disengagement. What buyers really value is genuine human interaction, trust, and emotional intelligence. AI-powered platforms like Orum cut down on busywork, freeing up reps to build real relationships. While phone calls are still a top tool for sales, reps need more time for those meaningful conversations, and AI helps make that happen.

The Future of Sales Development Representatives

AI is likely to reduce the number of SDRs, but it will boost the quality of those who remain. With AI-powered tools, reps can manage the entire buyer journey, turning them into full-cycle account executives. AI helps sellers focus on the irreplaceable human aspects of selling. While it will automate parts of many jobs, it will enhance rather than eliminate them, empowering those who adapt, just like past technological advancements (think cloud computing, social media…). Trust, relationships, and emotional intelligence will always be crucial in sales.

AI isn’t ending sales; it’s revolutionizing it. It makes sales professionals more capable than ever, enhancing processes that focus on human connections. AI’s evolution marks a major shift in sales, creating a future where technology and human interaction work together to optimize the sales experience.

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🗓 Upcoming digital live event:

The Future of Content Marketing — June 18, 2024 – 10am PST / 1pm EST.

👂 More for your eardrums:

Subscribe to The GTM Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

GTM 98: Going From IC to CRO at GitHub and Building a High-Performing Revenue Growth Engine with Elizabeth Pemmerl

Elizabeth Pemmerl currently serves as GitHub’s Chief Revenue Officer, where she oversees all facets of the company’s go-to-market strategy and customer engagement, including sales, support, and operations. She joined GitHub in 2015 after a career in the public sector, and has since held leadership roles in nearly all aspects of GitHub’s enterprise business.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts by searching “The GTM Podcast.”

👀 More for your eyeballs:

Apple came out with my announcements at the WWDC 2024 keynote. Here’s everything Apple announced, including Apple Intelligence, Siri makeover.

🚀 Startup to watch: 

Pocus – introduced its next era: “Pocus: Your GTM playbook platform, powered by AI.” They’re still a platform to turn data into revenue, but now bringing more better data, out-of-the box playbooks, and AI workflows to streamline tedious prospecting and back office work. The platform has 3 core product pillars that together improve the jobs to be done by modern GTM teams.

  1. Enrich: Unify signals across your data

  2. Engage: Put playbooks on autopilot with AI

  3. Optimize: Hit your targets every time with reporting

🔥 Hottest GTM jobs of the week:

  1. Account Executive at Matik (Remote – US)

  2. Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Regrello (Remote – US Eastern)

  3. Marketing Development Representative at finally (Boca Raton, FL)

  4. Content Marketing Manager at Vanta (Remote – US)

  5. Product Marketing Manager at Weaviate (Remote)

See more top GTM jobs on the GTMfund Job Board.

🗓 GTM industry events

Upcoming go-to-market events you won’t want to miss:

  • [September 10-12] SaaStr Annual (SaaStr): 3 full days of tactical content, 100’s of workshops, and 1000s of networking sessions for SaaS founders, executives and others.

  • [October 14-16] GTM Summit by Pavilion (Austin, TX): a B2B SaaS conference for go-to-market executives. Bring your GTM leadership team to learn, get aligned and get ahead on planning your 2025 strategy.

Just hosted the London GTMfund dinner this week and heading to Toronto and NYC for dinners next week.

Have a great weekend!

Barker ✌

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