Your MarTech Stack: six changes to expect in 2024

Best Practices | Company News

Small businesses rely heavily on their marketing technology (martech) to enable efficiencies of smaller teams as well as improve overall marketing performance.

But what kind of impact can martech have on mid-size businesses? Also, how can marketers overcome challenges by harnessing the power of martech?

To help you answer this question, Ascend2 and Insightly fielded The Future of Martech 2024 survey in September, 2023.

This report, titled The Future of Martech 2024, represents the opinions of the 310 marketing professionals responding to the survey who represent companies with fewer than 500 employees.

One figure was quite an eye-opener. The martech stack investment is significant for all of these companies; most spend greater than 10%, and many spend over 20% of their budget on the stack investment. A few are even over 40%!

So, with all of those dollars going towards technology, it’s a good time to look at what 2024 will bring. 

Insightly hosted a webinar on this topic and CMO Chip House invited two go-to-market luminaries to join him and provide their insights. 

The first guest is Lindsay Cordell, helps businesses make go-to-market simple as an industry analyst and founding partner at GTM Partners. She has expertise in all areas of go-to-market, sales operations, CRM, product development, and digital advertising. 

Chip’s second guest is Jay Baer, a business growth and customer experience strategist and researcher, and author. He is a 7th-generation entrepreneur, author of 7 best-selling business books, and founder of 5 multi-million dollar companies. He’s also the 2nd more popular tequila influencer in the world. Jay has advised hundreds of major brands world-wide on how to acquire more customers, and how to maintain the customer relationships they’ve already earned.

The webinar was a spirited conversation among these exceptional professionals. 

You can learn more about the full event, watch the video below, or skim this blog post to catch the main points of discussion.



2024 change #1: Apps will incorporate more AI for you

The first takeaway for 2023 is about, of course, AI. AI caused a panic in 2023, but we’ll see a change in 2024. Two data points about AI emerged from the research. 

The first is about the role of AI in martech and the leading responses were:

  • Improved content personalization
  • Content generation
  • Greater automation of routine tasks

When asked which 2023 trend will have the most impact in 2024, 50% of respondents answered AI.

Jay made it clear that he believes that AI is “an ingredient, not an entree,” meaning that it needs to be in service of something to be effective. It can help you make more, and help you make things faster, but on its own, it’s not a change maker, according to Jay. He suggests you’ll see more evidence of AI within the apps you already use.

Jay also points out that some companies are banning the use of AI right now, wary of errors and omissions that are common when businesses rely on this technology without human oversight. 

Lindsay agreed that AI certainly helps marketing and sales professionals, but AI can’t “run the show.” You’ll still need humans for that, she says. Investors are taking bets on companies focusing on AI, but they’ll need the human element to truly see ROI. 

2024 change #2: Are businesses done ‘shedding’ SaaS?

2023 was coined ‘The Great App Layoff,’ by SaaSter where 10% or more of many orgs’ app stack was cut with the panic of a threat of a recession.

SaaSter reported, “Everyone around the table just cut apps from each department. Not all of them. But in many cases, the number of apps shrunk by 10% or so. For the rest, the IT or finance departments tried to manage costs down.”

The question is, is this period over and what does 2024 look like in terms of SaaS purchasing? 

Lindsay shared a report from G2 validating that buyer behavior in the SaaS space has shifted. She feels that the knee-jerk reaction to make a 20% budget cut was ‘quick and dirty’ based on renewal cycle and was not a result of intentional decision making. 

She envisions 2023 will show a new push towards efficiency, a focus on risk reduction, user experience, and ROI. Longer implementations that are risky are not selling, she says. Apps that provide instant impact are showing strength, along with apps that are ubiquitous across SMB through enterprise. 

Jay shared that, aligned with the previous point, there may be some shedding of SaaS that continues because businesses won’t need as many apps/resources. This is because AI will be built into many of them, creating efficiencies. He states that AI is forcing new calculations where businesses do more with the same investment vs. the same with less investment.

Chip highlighted a recent ROI study of Insightly CRM where it showed a faster go live time and, therefore a faster time to ROI vs. main competitors. This is an example of the efficiencies companies are looking for in order to retain their SaaS investment. 

2024 change #3: Pressure to have fewer vendors

In the coming year, CFOs will continue to assert pressure to have fewer vendors. For example, can you get your CRM and marketing automation platform from one vendor? This removes complexity from the tech stack and gives more leverage to your organization to negotiate payment terms and even discounts.

Some businesses are willing to give up functionality to have one platform across functions and save money. Others are not.

If you are willing to have one platform for multiple uses, it has to be effective, meaning that an app roll-up via acquisition (all with different data sets) is not the same as a modern platform designed to work together from the ground up with the same database.

Jay shared that he has seen the pendulum that swings back and forth over the years between finance/IT and the people who are hands on. He says that one super app isn’t always the answer. Lindsay added that this type of influence from Finance/IT often ends in solving insufficient software with humans who are way more expensive in reality. Both agree that some diversity is necessary and that the single vendor dream is why competitors exist.

2024 change #4: Winning apps will impact multiple teams

According to G2, the size of the average buying committee is growing. In 2021, it  was 6.8 people; in 2022, it was 7.1.

The panel predicts that those dreaded buying committees that popped up with a vengeance in 2023 are here to stay in 2024. As indicated by the research, rising costs and staying within budget will continue to be a top concern of mid-sized companies (59%).

Therefore, in 2024, a good way to ensure your app makes it into the budget is to show value for multiple teams. Companies are looking to de-risk buying with a larger buying committee that include both org-level sales and team-level sales. To make a purchase in 2024, multiple teams need to use the app and/or benefit from the app in a way that derives real value. Another trend here is that vendors will look at moving from per-seat to unlimited seats for apps that serve across departments.

Lindsay adds that the complexity of the buying committee means that they are looking for tools that support multiple functional disciplines, and that multiple teams must commit to buying and using it together. She sees the death of the ‘owned budget,’ meaning that single team sales are harder and companies want to see multiple teams using the app – all of it – on day one.  The days of buying an app just to use 20% of the functionality are over as well. The value must resonate.

2024 change #5: Apps that improve the customer experience will win

Jay’s book,  Hug your Haters, featured an old Gartner study that showed that 80 percent of companies say they deliver outstanding customer service, but only 8 percent of their customers agree.

Sadly, this has not improved. Jay shared more recent data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) showing that, in that last quarter, satisfaction was at a 20 year low. It’s rebounded a bit, but it leads us to wonder are expectations higher or are companies doing it wrong?

What does this mean for the tech stack? Jay points to ensuring integrations are prioritized so that teams and apps seamlessly pass information that elevates the customer experience. 

Lindsay notes that tech can’t solve the ‘people problem’ – we still need humans for that. 

Another issue companies will have difficulty recovering from is layoffs of customer success representatives. Businesses may struggle to replicate the relationships they had with their dedicated reps who may have been impacted by a layoff, and layoffs overall result in less trust in brands. 

2024 change #6: Growth of the post-sales funnel

The final 2024 prediction that Chip and his guests talk over is the importance of the growth of the post-sales funnel. Often called the ‘Refer’ part of the funnel, this is fed by creative brand advocates and brand champions. It also fuels repeat purchases from job movers who leave a role and ‘bring’ their software with them.

Chip noted that a partner program is a great example of this. In fact, Insightly just launched a partner program wherein Insightly customers who are integrators, agencies, resellers, etc., can refer the platform and provide associated services. 

Lindsay talks about partner-led growth as the go-to-market motion with the highest potential in 2024. She sees anecdotally that referral deals like these close 50% faster on average.  Therefore a partner referral results in major reduction in cost of acquisition

Jay suggests businesses create a tag or field in their CRM to measure this word of mouth process. He says it is still #1 – yes, in B2B, and he calls partner programs ‘word of mouth with paperwork.’ He adds that AI can’t disrupt actual human recommendations. Still, only 1% of companies have a word of mouth strategy. “It makes financial sense to invest here,” he says.

Resolve to love your CRM in 2024

Now that you’ve got your resolutions in place, it’s time to think about a new CRM. Insightly CRM was designed to help teams build lasting customer relationships through a simple, scalable platform. Insightly’s unified solution aligns cross-functional teams like sales, marketing, and customer service on a single, shared data platform with a single customer view. The result? Unprecedented transparency, better decision-making, and a seamless end-to-end customer experience.

Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, watch a demo on demand, or request a personalized demo to see how it can help your company achieve its business goals.