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Sales Productivity in 2024: Leveraging Intelligent Search and AI Tools

December 1, 2023
Sneh Ratna Choudhary
Sneh Ratna Choudhary
Table of Contents
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
Productivity Trend #1
Productivity Trend #2
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
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Let’s face it, working in sales can feel like a rollercoaster. One minute you’re up; the next you’re down. 

The year 2023 was especially challenging for sales practitioners, with issues like rising inflation, health scares, and supply chain being a roadblock to success. In fact, 72% of respondents surveyed by Salesforce were unlikely to hit their targets for the year.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that artificial intelligence (AI) tools are increasing productivity and efficiency for sales reps, making their jobs a little bit easier every day. 

Let’s dive in and explore how intelligent search and sales productivity tools were the unsung heroes of sales efficiency in 2023 and will continue to empower sales teams in 2024. 

What changed for sales productivity in 2023

In 2023, sales productivity saw a remarkable shift, propelled by the adoption of AI and automation. 

According to Salesforce’s State of Sales report, 97% of sales leaders and operations professionals recognized the pivotal role of AI in liberating sales reps’ time and enabling a stronger focus on engaging with buyers. 

AI took center stage in eradicating tedious manual tasks such as updating deal records and scoring leads, streamlining the sales process, and boosting sales productivity. 

This transformation wasn’t just theoretical — high-performing sales reps were 1.9 times more likely to use AI. In response, sales organizations actively pursued the consolidation of their tech stacks, aiming to enhance efficiency and cut through the clutter of redundant tools, with AI and automation leading the charge.

2023 Sales Productivity Wrap-up

Here’s a quick look at some statistics from sales productivity trends in 2023:

  • In 2023, sales leaders made a concerted effort to consolidate their tech stack, primarily driven by the need to increase efficiency and rep productivity. (State of the Sales Tech Stack 2023, Outreach)
  • Winning teams preferred tech stacks that enabled the full sales motion on one platform. (State of the Sales Tech Stack 2023, Outreach)
  • Sellers are relying on AI and ML (machine learning) to automate tasks and personalize conversations (State of B2B Sales Technology, Demand Gen)
  • Sellers who use automated processes save ~3.4 hours per week (State of Work Report: Sales trends, Slack)

Top 5 Sales Productivity Trends for 2024

From embracing the power of AI to track down the right information fast to rethinking the ways we measure sales success, there’s a lot on the horizon for sales professionals. 

1. Intelligent search will continue to occupy a seat at the table

Intelligent search is already sitting at the sales table and will only continue to become essential for sales.
It's not just about finding information; it's about understanding and anticipating needs. With intelligent search, sales reps don't just get data; they get insights.

Think about the power of context and personalization. In sales, understanding the customer's context is key. Intelligent search analyzes past interactions, preferences, and even sentiment. It's like having a sales assistant who remembers every detail about a customer and uses this to guide your strategy.

Now, let's talk about predictive capabilities. Intelligent search isn't just reactive; it's predictive. By analyzing trends and patterns, it can suggest which products a particular customer might be interested in or identify which leads are most likely to convert. 

Plus, intelligent search can seamlessly integrate with CRM systems, making it easier for sales teams to access and interpret customer data. This means less time searching through databases and more time building relationships and closing deals.

But why is it set to be a big deal in 2024? 

As the amount of available data grows, the ability to quickly and effectively navigate this data becomes more critical. Intelligent search is the tool that can handle this challenge, providing sales teams with a competitive edge in a data-driven market.

As we move into 2024, intelligent search will transform sales from a numbers game to a strategy game. It's not just about more information; it's about the right information at the right time. For sales teams, this means smarter selling, better customer relationships, and, ultimately, improved sales productivity.

2. AI: Most sales pros will use it by 2024

In 2024, AI will be the co-pilot for every sales rep. According to the State of AI report by HubSpot, 69% of sales professionals expect most people will use AI or automation in their jobs by 2024​​.

In 2023, we've already seen a glimpse of this future. AI isn't just a tool; it's becoming the backbone of sales strategies. And here’s how it’s been helping sales pros:

  • Time Efficiency: AI tools save sales professionals an average of over two hours per day, allowing them to focus on the most critical aspects of their roles​​.
  • Insights and Personalization: 73% of professionals agree that AI helps pull valuable insights from data, and 69 % believe it aids in personalizing the customer experience​​.
  • Productivity Boost: 70% of sales professionals agree that AI tools, including AI search tools, make them more productive, assisting in various stages of the sales process​​.
  • Effective Prospecting: 71% believe AI will make prospecting more effective, with AI analyzing and identifying high-quality leads for targeted outreach​​.

(Source: State of AI report by HubSpot)

3. Sales leaders will revisit productivity metrics 

Sales leaders and their teams often grapple with the best methods to measure productivity. 

According to Slack’s State of Work report, a significant divide exists: 26 % of sales executives focus on visibility metrics, such as time in the office or emails sent, while 27 % of sales workers advocate for performance measurement against team KPIs and goals. This discrepancy can lead to performative work, with sales workers spending about 31 % of their time on activities that don't directly contribute to team or company objectives.

However, a more balanced approach to productivity metrics is emerging, considering both inputs (like hours worked) and outputs (such as goals achieved). 

For example, leading KPIs such as Sales Volume by Location and Existing Client Engagement can provide insights into where demand is highest and how well relationships are being maintained with customers after a sale​​​​. Additionally, Employee Satisfaction is gaining importance, especially in remote or hybrid sales teams, as it directly impacts sales culture and performance​​. Upsell and Cross-Sell Rates are also crucial, with over 10 % of revenue often coming from these efforts, highlighting the importance of understanding customer challenges and preferences​​.

As Prashanth Chandrasekar, CEO of Stack Overflow, puts it, "Anyone can game a single metric, so you must consider a  blend of leading and lagging indicators. The lagging indicator is what happened. It’s ‘reading the news,’ and if you look at it in isolation, it’s not very helpful—whereas leading indicators give you a proactive look at the speed and progress the company is making." 

This shift towards a more nuanced and holistic approach to sales productivity metrics could lead to a more effective, less stressful work environment. 

By focusing on a combination of visibility and outcome-based KPIs, sales leaders can foster a culture that values both effort and results, ultimately driving better performance and job satisfaction.

4. Call quality will replace call quantity

Sales leaders will likely pivot towards a quality-centric approach, particularly to manage the intense pressure sales reps feel to meet call volume targets. This shift is crucial for ultimately improving sales productivity because quantity does not equal meeting revenue targets.

Sahil Sansarwal, a former Team Lead in Sales Development from LeadSquared, emphasized this change in approach.
He advocates for active listening and motivating his team by focusing on growth opportunities rather than pushing for increased call volumes. His strategy is about booking meaningful meetings instead of merely completing talk time, favoring significant engagement over activity numbers.
"For me, quality is more important than quantity. If my team members make fewer calls but still could meet their targets, I’m totally okay with it,” Sansarwal asserts.
This sentiment is echoed by others in the industry. The quality of each sales interaction, particularly in enterprise sales, is far more important than the quantity of calls made. Successful sales involve understanding the buyer's business problems, building senior-level relationships, and ensuring that each interaction is meaningful and value-driven.

5. Better employee experiences will increase sales productivity 

Improving employee experiences will be pivotal for enhancing sales productivity in 2024.

The Slack State of Work Report highlights that 83% of sales professionals believe happiness and team inclusion directly amplify their productivity. 

Yet, 34% struggle to maintain motivation, often hindered by unproductive meetings and rigid work schedules​​.

Supporting this, a Gallup study reveals that engaged employees close 18% more sales and exhibit 14% higher productivity.

Plus, 71% of top-level executives recognize employee engagement as a crucial element of successful business strategy, underscoring its impact on productivity, customer satisfaction, and organizational culture​​.

To capitalize on this, companies should explore hybrid work models, create meeting-free days, and experiment with different collaborative methods. By fostering an environment that values flexibility and engagement, companies can create a more productive and less stressful workplace, ultimately driving better sales performance.

Why Dash AI is your 2024 Must-Have Tool for Enterprise Sales Productivity

The problem isn't the lack of AI tools; in fact, there are plenty out there. 

The real challenge is enabling salespeople to get the most out of their company’s knowledge. 

Leslie Talbot, SVP of Marketing at Corporate Visions, a provider of science-backed revenue growth services, perfectly captures this sentiment, stating, “With the abundance of AI tools and data available, it becomes challenging for sales leaders to effectively utilize all that information.”

This is where an AI knowledge assistant like Dash AI comes into play, acting as an intelligent search engine for your internal knowledge. Dash AI instantly connects with your favorite sales tools – Salesforce, Notion, Hubspot, Google docs, and more. 

Your team can get automatic answers in Slack and on the web,, sourced reliably from your company's apps and chat history. Dash AI respects all previous app permissions, is SOC-2 compliant, and has undergone extensive pen testing to ensure privacy and security. 

Lauren Hamilton, sales enablement manager at tech startup ButterflyMx, puts it perfectly: “Dash AI is easy-to-use, extremely accurate, and provides immediate time-saving impact.” 

Unlock your sales team's potential with Dash AI - Try it free (no strings attached!)

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