The only constant in technology — as in life — is change. In this article, you’ll hear predictions from leaders across Salesforce for how technology will shape the future, including:
- Technology predictions businesses should keep top of mind in the future
- The future of sales, service, and marketing
- What technologies will disrupt industries in the future
- How businesses will lead with their values in the future
Salesforce leaders are on the front lines of the latest trends, technologies, and challenges impacting businesses. They bring expertise and insight from market analysis, customer conversations, and more to help reveal what tomorrow might bring.
Five Technology Predictions Businesses Need to Know for 2023
While a recession is not a foregone conclusion, 74% of CEOs expect economic conditions to worsen in the short term. Digital transformation is critical to navigating the growing economic turbulence businesses are experiencing today. Here’s five IT investment predictions heading into 2023.
1. Organizations that maintain digital transformation investments will outperform those that don’t
“In times of tough economic headwinds, the pressure to make cuts and deliver efficiency savings and productivity improvements is irresistible. However, the evidence of the economic downturns of 2008-2009 and 2020 from McKinsey and Bain suggests that only seeking efficiency savings during tough economic conditions comes at a risk: roughly one in 10 companies manages to outgrow its peers both during downturns and in the subsequent recovery. The big challenge for 2023 will be to avoid leaning too far in the direction of cost savings and efficiencies and so risk losing the advantage on that next economic upswing. As will the calculation of how much of the digital transformation projects can be cut without creating a bigger risk. The Great Recession brought us Uber, WhatsApp, AirBNB, Instagram, and the great resurgence of Amazon. Take your eye off of the ball, and you may be disrupted.” — Ed Thompson, SVP, Global Influencer Strategy, Salesforce
2. Investment in automation will surge as companies aim to do more with less
“In 2023, we’ll likely see a spike in automation spending. Everybody wants to automate the work they do, meanwhile we’re in an economic situation where businesses must prioritize cost efficiency. Automation is about creating ways of working that can save time while continuing to drive efficient growth, and simply doing more with less.” — Brent Hayward, CEO, MuleSoft
3. Introducing business intimacy will deliver business value and elevate the CIO’s seat at the table
“CIOs can increase their relevance and ability to deliver business value by bringing a new set of skills and operating processes to the executive table during a radically different business environment. This begins by truly understanding broader business needs — what are the priorities, the pain points, the processes, the investments and, most importantly, the technologies their colleagues are dealing with. This is called business intimacy, and it is key to better understanding the strategic priorities of business partners across sales, service, marketing, commerce, IT, HR, finance, and other teams.” – Juan Perez, CIO & EVP, Salesforce
Read more from Perez on how CIOs can fuel growth amid economic uncertainty here.
4. Staying competitive will require “digital Darwinism”
“Some companies are going to batten down the hatches and cut costs. Markets though, will continue to evolve. Customers will continue to shop, make decisions, learn and exercise new behaviors, and gain new digital competencies. Competitiveness in this market becomes a matter of ‘digital Darwinism.’ To survive and thrive, businesses must adapt to the pace at which technology influences how society and technology evolves. And to do this, businesses need to be bolder and wiser than their peers. Smart companies will reallocate resources to build the business of the future, today. Forward-looking executives will issue RFPs that seek vendor collaboration and solutions beyond immediate technological needs or basic automation. They will aim to develop customer-centered solutions that remove friction, effort, and emulate best-in-class experiences to compete.” — Brian Solis, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce
5. Composability will drive business innovation and agility
“Though demand on IT teams is increasing, resources remain constrained, so organizations will need ways of doing more with what they already have. In 2023, there will be a renewed focus on using a composable digital strategy to meet that need: creating reusable business capabilities to drive efficiency, agility, and optionality at scale.” — Matt McLarty, Global CTO, MuleSoft
Read more IT predictions from MuleSoft here.
Five Predictions on the Future of Sales and Service
A new report from Salesforce found 82% of sales reps have had to adapt quickly to new ways of selling due to changing social and economic conditions. Here’s what five Salesforce executives see happening in 2023 to drive sales and service success.
1. Companies that invest in team selling will drive greater revenue, while also empowering the individual rep
“2023 will bring a period of ‘Great Retraining’ among sales professionals. Sales teams are the backbone of organizations and the pressure is on to keep revenue coming regardless of the macroeconomic climate.”
“To do this, we can expect leaders to lean in on sales enablement programs to make sure they’re caring for the reps who are at the frontlines of a tough selling climate, while also empowering them with AI and automation to drive productivity and efficiency throughout their day to day.” — Ketan Karkhanis, EVP & GM, Sales Cloud, Salesforce
2. Companies that prioritize sales enablement will see greater revenue
“The big move for 2023 will be connecting sales training with business outcomes, such as uplift in pipe generation or increased revenue. Traditionally there wasn’t an easy way to correlate whether time dedicated to learning and training impacted business outcomes. That’s why [Salesforce] created the world’s first accountability performance matrix, which allows us to establish a direct correlation between sales training and our KPIs. As Enablers [of sales], we have to hold ourselves accountable for moving the needle on pipe generation, revenue, and participation. The better prepared the sales team, the better they can serve as trusted advisors to customers.” – Jody Kohner, EVP, Global Enablement, Salesforce
3. Automation will revolutionize the customer experience and increase revenue
“2023 will be the year that service organizations begin viewing service automation capabilities as a ‘must have’ versus a ‘nice to have.’ Automation used to be viewed as an additive to service solutions. Now, with growing customer expectations, shrinking team sizes, and uncertain economic conditions, automation is at the center of every service leader’s mind when it comes to improving the customer experience, while also driving down the cost to serve.” – Clara Shih, CEO of Service Cloud, Salesforce
4. Phenomenal customer service will be intuitive, successful, and consistent
“True success does not come from the initial marketing and sales effort, but rather, growing the relationship with a customer for the long term. We say customer expectations have never been higher, and my position is that they aren’t — customers always wanted to be known and treated reasonably and consistently. What is new is the complexity of engaging customers consistently now that this communication can happen on one of a dozen channels. Customers expect that they will be able to interact easily and successfully. The message to heads of customer experience is to learn to actively listen to customers, and create processes that naturally draw the customer to a specific channel — one that feels it is their choice. Get this correct and you earn the right to customers for life.” — Michael Maoz, SVP, Innovation Strategy, Salesforce
5. The CDP industry will be one of the fastest growing enterprise markets this year
“Over half of customers expect every interaction to be personalized, and the way that companies can do this at scale is through a customer data platform (CDP). Salesforce Genie Customer Data Cloud is an absolute game changer on this front. I predict this technology will grow exponentially in importance as we head into 2023. Genie broadens the definition of CDP to power real-time experiences for all channels across the Customer 360. This is what our customers want now, because their customers expect ‘magical’ experiences that are automated, intelligent, and personalized.” — David Schmaier, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce
Four Predictions on Disruptive Technologies that will Shape the Future
In 2021, AI/Machine Learning was rated by Statista as the most impactful disruptive technology. Here, Salesforce executives share five disruptive trends and technologies from 2022 that will shape the future in 2023.
1. Generative AI will empower mass customizations of experiences
“Generative AI uses machine learning algorithms that enable computers to use existing content like text, audio and video files, images, and even code to create new possible content. In 2023, generative AI will rapidly become a key tool for companies and ad agencies to implement mass customization of experiences — individuals with the highest customer lifetime value increasingly see machine-generated images and copy that are individually tailored to their unique profile.” — Mick Costigan, VP of Salesforce Futures, Salesforce
2. Employees will experience workplace culture — in the cloud
“Executives will finally realize that building connection and company culture doesn’t only happen ‘in real life,’ it thrives online — on platforms like Slack. The data shows investing in collaboration tools and techniques pays off, with digital leaders outpacing digital laggards on every dimension. Today, productivity scores are 59% higher in leaders than laggards in Future Forum’s Pulse survey. More surprising to many executives, a sense of belonging with one’s team is 2.2x higher for leaders versus the laggards.” – Brian Elliott, SVP, Future Forum, Slack
The data shows investing in collaboration tools and techniques pays off, with digital leaders outpacing digital laggards on every dimension.
BRIAN ELLIOTT, SVP, FUTURE FORUM, SLACK
3. Data will become more accessible and understandable for everyone
“Improvements in data literacy for the average employee will lead to more people making sense of data. Data will become more natural and more approachable, turning something that is for the few to something that’s for the many — all infused in the flow of work.” — Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer, Tableau
4. We won’t be working in VR Offices
“While producers of ‘professional’ versions of VR headsets seem to think we will be interacting with each other’s avatars in virtual reality offices in the future — I think not. The technology is still too crude, the avatars unengaging, and people in VR headsets look silly. Nearly all the billions now being invested in VR (with the exception of gaming) are likely to be a total loss.” — Peter Schwartz, SVP Chief Futures Officer, Salesforce
Three Predictions on How Businesses will Prioritize Their Values in the Future
Eighty-eight percent of customers expect companies to clearly state their values — but only 50% of customers say they do. Here’s three predictions about how companies will deliver on their values in the future and beyond.
1. Businesses will prioritize climate commitments — despite economic uncertainty
“Climate change won’t wait – even in times of economic uncertainty. In 2023 and beyond, corporate leaders must continue making progress towards their sustainability commitments, ensuring the long-term success of both their organizations and the planet. Salesforce technology can help customers increase the efficiency and profitability of their business while driving towards their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals for success, now.” — Suzanne DiBianca, EVP and Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce
2. Companies will approach consumer data with trust at the forefront
“Consumer data may be the next virtual currency, but with 75% of the world’s population expected to be covered under privacy regulations by 2026, it’s also the next regulated currency. Major global data privacy regulations are expected to pass in the next three years, and failure to navigate them will have major impacts on growth and reputation.” — Wendy Batchelder, SVP & Chief Data Officer of Trust, Salesforce
3. Regulation will help businesses better understand and embed tech ethics
“I’m encouraged by discussion here in the United States about a national privacy bill, as well as AI regulation being developed in Europe. While there are still important details to work out, moving towards a set of guardrails that everyone can follow will make acting responsibly in tech much, much easier. Together, we want to enable the future of AI and innovation, while also protecting everyone affected by it – and regulation can help us achieve that.” — Paula Goldman, Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer, Salesforce