Industries are transforming rapidly by bringing each business function online. We believe that 2021 is the year this transformation will take a quantum leap forward as data automation collides with practical AI use cases.

It’s precisely why it feels so fitting to capture our predictions for 2021 with one word: Telemetry.

In 2021, we’ll see telemetry — the automated capture of go-to-market activity data like email, video conferencing, contacts, and meetings — fuel practical AI-powered use cases. Here’s how and why we believe there will be such an impressive impact in the coming year.

Closing the last mile on digital transformation: the Go-to-Market Machine

Prior to the pandemic, sales, marketing, and customer success organizations were some of the last real analog functions. Yes, there were digital components, but not enough automated activity took place consistently and at scale for technologists to capture that noise and turn it into something worth listening to.

2021 will be a runway year where companies who embrace telemetry will realize massive top and bottom-line gains. Imagine what you could do if you could see how and when your employees were the most productive, flag obstacles, understand better what energizes and engages them, coach managers through behaviors that undermine their intentions, or build a path that fosters stronger, healthier interpersonal connections (even over Zoom!).

Telemetry-driven insights will support greater employee productivity

As telemetry-driven insights become available, they’ll drive game-changing benefits. Managers and individual contributors will be able to see what’s working — and what’s not — so they can pivot quickly in response. For managers, this means the opportunity to coach their teams to take advantage of new opportunities and course-correct in real-time, changing the future outcome before it becomes their forecast. For individual contributors, it means accessing a perpetually current look at their progress to help them get better at their jobs. They can do more of what’s working well, and stop the behaviors and activities that are impeding their results and growth as professionals.

As employees do better, companies will see outsized gains faster 

Businesses know the pain and expense of constantly having to hire. The lost productivity alone is a killer; it can take up to 20 weeks for a new employee in a professional job to get up to speed and 26 weeks for an executive leader, research says. According to other estimates, most new hires spend roughly “200 hours working inefficiently” at the start of their new job. But with telemetry-driven applications and insights, companies can shift their focus to enriching the quality talent they already have.

As a result of continuous, targeted learning and skills development, AI may make it possible to deepen employees’ loyalty and lengthen their tenure. In fact, preventing turnover would be a considerable win — voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses a trillion dollars annually. This is a substantial, positive impact to the bottom line, and it reinforces the benefit of leveraging new technologies that help teams grow, perform, and stick around.

Ultimately, telemetry around people, particularly uncovering ways to encourage and enhance their performance in the workplace, hasn’t been well-explored yet. As more workforces work virtually for extended periods of time (or possibly forever), the emergence of large, untapped data sets around productivity and behavior will create fresh opportunities to shape career trajectories. Emergence Capital lists the verticals that are especially primed for AI-powered coaching to reinforce desirable skills, teach new capabilities, and turbocharge productivity while strengthening interpersonal relationships.

In 2021, watch for smart technologists and companies to define and capitalize on this new frontier: using AI and machine learning to enhance employee productivity and satisfaction.

At, we’re using sales telemetry to build the first AI-powered look at real-time sales activity. We’re empowering managers to coach their teams and close more business. Learn more here.