• January 30, 2024

A Look Ahead at CRM in 2024

Article Featured Image

Just slightly more than a year after the release of ChatGPT, no one can deny the impact that generative artificial intelligence has had on the CRM industry. AI is not just table stakes right now; going forward, it will be absolutely necessary for vendors and end users to be competitive. Below, industry insiders lay out their vision for the CRM industry in 2024, highlighting the technologies and strategies that will be important into the new year.

But before we get to the predictions, during a recent installment of the CRM Playaz webcast, executives from 10 leading CRM vendors emphasized how critical AI will be going forward, both for vendors and end users.

The 10-member panel discussions, spread out over two days in December, agreed that AI will be embedded into all tasks and processes in 2024. AI, they said, would enable companies to break down silos, consolidate data, predict outcomes, and increase productivity among sales, marketing, and customer service teams.

For a more detailed view of the commentary, click here. And for the full program, click here for the Thursday (12/7) session; and here for the Friday (12/8) session.

GenAI hype will crystallize into reality …

“In 2023, the world got hit by the ChatGPT storm, and the hype was huge around its capabilities and what it meant to the support world. We saw opportunities for operational efficiencies, automation of redundant tasks, and improvements on the overall experience. As we head into 2024, companies will continue their exploration of how this technology will be implemented in support organizations across multiple use cases. We will see more and more live use cases, largely for agent assistance, as concerns of removing the human in the loop to validate generated content linger.”

—Patrick Martin, chief customer officer and general manager of service at Coveo

“Generative AI dominated 2023, and for good reason. It’s one of the most transformative technological innovations of our time, with the potential to upend entire industries and how we work. But what started out as a mad dash for organizations to adopt generative AI at all costs has started to shift into adoption methodologies that are more strategic. I expect that trend to continue into 2024.”

—Eric Williamson, chief marketing officer of CallMiner

“The AI inflection point for manufacturers will arrive in 2024. Those with modern tech stacks will find it easier to leverage AI to drive true impacts to both top and bottom lines.”

—Dario Ambrosini, chief marketing officer of Propel Software

“2024 will be the year that the hype surrounding generative AI starts to translate into action, as brands and agency executives actually start to use the tech to get things done. Expect generative AI to become more pervasive across each link of the programmatic supply chain, creating operational efficiencies while reducing performance lag and spending waste. Most importantly, AI will be crucial in helping brands extract and act upon more powerful insights in real time. Emerging AI tools will bring flexibility to the way insights are queried and applied in ways that weren’t possible before with standard machine learning capabilities.”

—Jeremy Haft, chief revenue officer, Digital Remedy

… and AI use cases will expand.

“Generative AI will enable content creation at scale, bringing with it both benefits and challenges. Marketers are used to generating a wealth of content when pulling together a campaign. Generative AI will take this to an unprecedented level, pumping out numerous permutations of copy and imagery that can be assessed by the marketing team. This will open up the possibility to scale personalized one-on-one engagements with consumers like never before.”

—Tara DeZao, product marketing director of advertising and marketing technology at Pegasystems

“By the end of 2024, the top salesperson in most companies will be an AI. These digital sales agents will have negotiated multimillion dollar deals, leaving traditional sales methods obsolete. The sales development/business development/inside sales representative function will be eliminated, and, yes, replaced by AI.”

—Jim Kaskade, CEO of Conversica

“In 2024, conversational AI will witness a groundbreaking shift from natural language understanding technology to generative AI. While NLU bots initially seemed promising, their limitations, and particularly the cost of deployment and maintenance, have become very apparent. The focus will shift toward deeper integration of large language models into conversational AI, dramatically improving customer satisfaction while at the same time decreasing downtime to deploy and greatly improving total cost of operation.”

—Max Lipovetsky, chief product officer of Cyara

“Generative AI is showing the potential to transform the customer experience in profound ways, and in 2024 the most thoughtful contact center leaders will move from reactive customer support to proactive relationship building through frictionless and personalized experiences that are delivered 24/7. At the same, customers will adopt their own genAI tools to engage with companies and their contact centers. Contact center leaders must be prepared for these new customer-driven automated interactions. Truly harnessing the power of AI will require driving change and adapting new customer behaviors, but the payoff in customer satisfaction and loyalty make it a necessary evolution.”

—Pasquale DiMaio, vice president of Amazon Connect at Amazon Web Services

“AI will give consumers a highly personalized single point of contact for all inquiries, serving as an ‘AI butler’ capable of dealing with multiple requests across different platforms and businesses. This will break down one of the major frictions in customer service: siloed interactions with brands necessitating multiple phone calls and putting undue strain on contact centers. The AI butler will allow customers to schedule a car appointment, swap out their new shoes for a different size, and inquire about an insurance issue during one seamless, interconnected interaction.”

—Barry Cooper, president of the CX Division at NICE

“In 2024, multi-location enterprises must bring AI to the forefront of their strategy to truly access and respond to the voice of the customers, whenever and wherever it’s shared. AI will enable brands to see the critical details inherent in online commentary to reach new levels of local brand intelligence. This will help companies thwart crises, engage more rapidly and authentically with customers, and make better decisions on everything from menu items to clothing lines to training regimens and beyond. The voice of the customer will become the North Star and AI our compass.”

—John Mazur, CEO of Chatmeter

“Generative AI advancements across the marketing landscape and all the technology we use will continue to dominate 2024, redefining how users interact with computers, the internet, and individual applications. It will transform our task flows, trust with our data, and interpretation of all digital experiences.”

 —Deanna Ballew, senior vice president of digital experience platform products at Acquia

"As AI continues improving, the phone channel will become much more natural and sought after. Through the gathering and synthesis of caller data, AI will be able to determine the correct next steps to build engagement, like sending a personalized deal or other special offers directly to the caller’s email. In a time when personalized marketing has become table stakes, this level of tailored customer service will win over the next generation of consumers.”

—Yan Zhang, chief operating officer of Poly AI

“2024 will be the year that chat and GPT starts becoming an interface for complex web applications like business intelligence, CRM, and pricing optimization. This combined with voice-to-text will mean that the move to voice interface will finally start getting some real traction. The impact across industries will start being felt and more understood by executives of large companies.”

—Gabe Smith, vice president of innovation at Pricefx

“In 2024, companies that incorporate AI into the customer experience in the right ways will set themselves apart. One area we’ll see a major impact is the use of AI chat for customer support. Currently, AI chatbots can leave a lot to be desired: they’re limited in comprehension, which can create friction for customers trying to find immediate solutions. The minute this technology is more refined and helpful, every customer will be looking for AI chat support as it will provide instantaneous responses to questions 24/7 in any language.”

—Chris Savage, CEO and cofounder of Wistia

“Marketers will have to evaluate how to best implement AI over the next year without getting lost in the hype – whether that be incorporating AI into product messaging with tools like AI hammers, leveraging new AI capabilities on already-existing tools, or assessing which new tools help revenue teams impact their bottom line.”

—Jessica Gilmartin, chief revenue officer of Calendly

“In 2024, AI will advance from exploring summarization to serving as an agent by integrating information into workflows and executing actions based on user requests. 2024 will welcome a host of new GPT-4 use cases, such as making an AI platform multilingual. Companies might train their smaller, domain-specific models on GPT-4 to enhance the model’s fluency in different languages.”

—Omri Allouche, vice president of research at Gong

“Amid the prevalence of AI, image manipulation, information overload, and technology saturation, consumers are wary about the authenticity of the content they come across online. To support wider CRM initiatives, businesses should prioritize visual storytelling that instills relatability through narratives that truly feel real and genuine. It’s tempting to lean on generative AI tools for content creation, but it’s important to remember that these tools will not replace human creativity which will always be the cornerstone of meaningful customer engagement.”

—Rebecca Swift, global head of creative at iStock.

“To reap the automation and efficiency benefits of advancements in AI, CX teams will focus on tasks and use cases that right now require a lot of manual effort and prevent team members from doing more high-value activities for their customers. It’s really important AI be selected thoughtfully so it’s elevating the customer experience and not only for cost efficiencies.”

—Gary Luton, senior vice president of the Customer Success Group at Mindtickle

“More brands will use AI-powered personalization. We can expect future-forward brands to use AI, not only to supplement content creation but to fuel the next wave of personalization, anticipating consumers’ needs before they even express them.”

—Chad Engelgau, CEO of Acxiom

“We’re seeing the beginning of an onslaught of AI-generated content. Unless AI prompts are top-notch or human editors are involved, content still runs the risk of having embarrassing errors, coming off as robotic, and being glaringly inauthentic. This last point is key: Even more than ever in 2024 consumers and readers are yearning for authentic content from creators. Marketers really need to figure out when to use AI filler content vs. personal voice content.” 

—Bryan Whitaker, CEO of Statara

“AI will continue to reshape the adtech landscape in 2024. Unlike many previous buzzwords, AI is here to stay, bringing a fresh perspective to legacy adtech. AI-driven ad campaigns will become the norm, allowing brands to deliver more personalized and efficient advertising experiences. This technology's sustainability and effectiveness will solidify AI's position as a fundamental element of the adtech ecosystem.”

—Uri Lichter, CEO of Intango

Privacy and security concerns will persist.

“AI vs. customer privacy discussions will lead to a stalemate in 2024. You really can’t advance one without setting back the other.”

—Blaine Britten, senior vice president of data strategy at Stirista

“Resolving identities are increasingly important going into 2024. Recognizing that multiple customer emails belong to the same person or are in the same household and accurately linking that identity to physical or offline identities will help organizations to consolidate their CRMs with a comprehensive view of their customers and drive better customer experiences across channels.”

—Tom Burke, CEO of AtData

“The year 2024 is when CX leaders will make the leap toward increased adoption of passwordless authentication to not only safeguard business but meet customers’ heightened demands related to convenience and security. Traditional passwords will only lead to more frustrated customers; a truly seamless CX experience requires getting rid of the old-fashioned password altogether.”

—Peter Barker, chief product officer of Ping  Identity

The year will mark the dawn of conversational commerce and the rise of virtual agent avatars.

“Conversational commerce will become more prevalent in 2024. It won’t replace other methods of commerce, given online shopping’s complexity and the diverse needs of the market, but it will enhance shopper experience and sales. The fusion of visual AI models and large language models will enable personalization and recommendations to help users find similar products and improve their online shopping journeys. Merchants must tightly integrate conversational commerce with vector search technologies to produce specific results that drive conversions. If executed well, conversational commerce will empower customers to engage with brands on a more personalized level, which will be a huge step forward for e-commerce.”

—Zohar Gilad, CEO of Fast Simon

“The emergence of social commerce has revolutionized how individuals connect with their communities and make purchasing decisions. Social media platforms have evolved into vibrant hubs where people not only discover products but also witness the purchases of others within their social circles. This dynamic environment fosters deeper customer engagement and profoundly influences retail trends and gift-giving norms. In order to reach new customers in 2024, the e-commerce industry must foster community and a higher level of engagement through social commerce.”

—Peter Imburg, CEO of Elfster

“Contacting customer service via video chat is steadily increasing in popularity. With staffing shortages and increased demand for the channel, organizations will turn to virtual agent avatars to help manage incoming video service requests. Like digital and voice bots, these avatars will help automate the early stages of customer engagement. From providing information, to solving simple issues, to connecting the customer with a human agent best equipped to handle their needs, these avatars will improve the level of service consumers experience via video.”

—Mike Szilagyi, general manager of product management at Genesys

We’ll see the emergence of new measurement methodologies.

“The more that brands and media agencies come to realize that the vast majority of the open web is becoming ID-less, more user-centric measurement approaches, such as attention, will become increasingly important. Brands will need to flip their thinking on how they evaluate performance. In fact, in this new ID-less environment, attention metrics will enable advertisers to go beyond static metrics such as click-through rate. They’ll instead be able to gauge how a specific ad placement is able to capture the attention of the users, providing insight into user behavior, preferences, and receptiveness to ads.”

—Giles Rekruciak, platform director at Adlook

“Brand loyalty will be the most important factor of consumer behavior in 2024. As a consumer, if I have fewer dollars to spend and I need to make choices on where to shop, I’m going to gravitate toward the brands I’ve purchased and was satisfied with in the past. People may also not be as willing to take a chance on new brands. Economic strains are really going to separate the great brands from the mediocre ones, so doubling down on efforts to build customer loyalty will be paramount for staying ahead.”

—Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting

Cloud migration will intensify.

“The customer service industry’s slow migration to the cloud will accelerate in 2024 as organizations look to take advantage of the flexibility, scalability, and security of digital platforms and hyperscalers. Technologies like AI and automation are a forcing function that will motivate this move as leaders seek to create more intelligent, connected, and transparent end-to-end experiences for agents and customers. The push to the cloud will also give organizations better ways to integrate systems more deeply throughout the organization to reduce time to resolution, improve service operations, and drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

—Michael Ramsey, vice president of product management for customer workflow products at ServiceNow

Tech stacks will consolidate.

“Consolidation will continue to prevail in the revenue technology sector, but not at the expense of the quality of the outcomes that the stack generates. Importantly, a renewed push for next-level revenue collaboration and governance will push companies to consolidate their revtech stacks. Customers will prioritize complete revenue platforms that address all internal and external revenue workflows over limited point solutions.”

—Julien Sauvage, vice president of corporate and product marketing at Clari

“As 2024 unfolds with consolidation in the B2B sales tech stack, I envision a crucial role for AI in driving personalized selling strategies. In an increasingly competitive market, sellers need holistic, AI-backed tools that enable them to conduct more targeted outreach at scale, therefore differentiation becomes imperative. This goes beyond mere customization of the sales approach; it's about leveraging AI to deeply understand and cater to each prospect's unique preferences and needs. Advanced AI-driven data analytics will be key, providing real-time insights and enabling sales teams to rapidly adapt their strategies in a dynamic, consolidated market. This approach will permeate the entire customer journey, from initial contact to post-sale service, ensuring tailored solutions and experiences.”

—Ang McManamon, vice president of sales at Crunchbase 

“In 2024, tight budgets will compel companies to address their disjointed martech stacks of niche point solutions and tools. This shift will favor all-in-one platforms that consolidate capabilities and simplify workflows. Streamlined tech stacks and centralized platforms will become the new norm.”

—Jess Materna, director of product marketing at Litmus

There will be shifts to more targeted spending.

“As advertising dollars follow consumers to social, digital, and retail media platforms, brands are seeking greater engagement and actionable data to quantify campaign performance. Interactive ad units powered by real-time engagement technology have the potential to provide this added value and could see significant adoption in 2024. As marketing continues to shift from a passive linear model to an engaged digital model, these interactive ad units will become an indispensable tool for adding value in the digital advertising landscape in 2024.”

—Brad Altfest, managing director of media and entertainment at Agora

“Resource constraints will require smarter targeting to avoid wasting efforts. I predict we’ll see marketing teams choosing to alienate prospects who don't fit the {ideal customer profile} mold so that they can instead focus on crafting highly tailored journeys for the right audiences.”

—Kristen Habacht, chief revenue officer of Typeform

“2024 will see continued growth in [connected TV] buys across the industry as consumer viewership shifts further away from linear. This means ample opportunity for addressability among CTV advertisers, particularly in the lead up to the pivotal 2024 presidential election.”

—Laura Manning, senior vice president of measurement at Cint.

"Against a tighter economic backdrop, 2024 is a year of efficiency-seeking. Most businesses are realizing that they've bought the CRM equivalent of a Rolls-Royce when what they really need is a Volkswagen with some well-chosen options, plus great aftercare. The savings can be enormous, and the usage of the system rises significantly (meaning better value and productivity) as the system is tailored for the users not the other way around."

—Dan Roche, chief marketing officer of Workbooks.


Video will emerge as a customer service channel.

Aside from the insurance industry—which uses video-based communications for things like collaborative document signing or showing accident damage to a vehicle—most industries have been slow to adopt video as a customer service channel. This will change in 2024. We expect video will be more broadly deployed as a customer service channel across industries, especially for companies that sell a physical product that benefits from a “show and tell.” Specific use cases will help drive demand for this feature, but changing consumer preferences, led by Gen Z’s comfort and familiarity with video-based content, may also help it pull it forward.”

—Michael Fisher, chief product officer of Waterfield Tech

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Buyer's Guide Companies Mentioned