“In 2020, 40% of businesses did not meet revenue targets. As you plan your 2021 and beyond, sharpen your focus on your customer. Place them at the center of every decision, across marketing, sales, and customer success.”

For the forecast period (2021–2026), the study provides a comprehensive analysis of the industry. The research includes several sectors as well as an analysis of the market’s major trends and determinants. These market dynamics elements include the drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges, as well as the impact of these factors on the market. The market’s inherent elements are the drivers and restrictions, while the market’s extrinsic aspects are the opportunities and challenges. The research report forecasts market growth in terms of value for the forecast period. Many sales leaders find it difficult to discuss development in this new environment. While some companies have experienced rapid growth this year, others have not. In fact, 40% of organizations polled for this analysis expect to fall short of their revenue projections in 2020.

Areas of Competitive Advantage 

Traditionally, sales companies had to choose between a field or an inside sales approach when it came to selling. Inside sales personnel frequently sell over the phone, while field sales reps travel to close deals in person. Sales companies have adopted hybrid models since buyer preferences for how they like to buy have changed. To suit the needs of buyers, more teams are selling both in person and remotely. Leaders who swiftly changed and invested in facilitating remote selling, on the other hand, were rewarded. This year, 64 % of sales leaders who invested in remote selling met or exceeded their revenue goals.

Revenue targets were met or exceeded by sales leaders who used a hybrid or entirely remote sales methodology. Those who invested in enabling remote work were rewarded––this year, 64% of those who migrated to remote sales met or exceeded revenue targets, compared to 50% of those who did not. A specialized sales enablement team is essential to the future sales organization’s success. A specialized sales enablement person or team is used by 65 % of sales leaders who exceeded revenue targets. High-performing sales teams use competitive data to automate sales duties. Regardless of effectiveness, the majority of sales leaders we polled regarded CRMs and videoconferencing software as the most crucial tools for remote selling. The difference between overachievers and underachievers in sales leadership comes down to how they use their tools. In comparison to 46 percent of underperforming leaders, 61 % of overperforming leaders use their CRM to automate aspects of their sales process.

Regardless, the core sales paradigm will evolve as more sales organizations permit reps to sell remotely. A commitment to a hybrid or remote sales approach can help firms expand, as our data indicate. Sales leaders are noticing this and factoring it into their forecasts for next year’s sales strategy. 68 % of sales leaders expect to deploy a hybrid or entirely remote sales approach in the coming year.

Dedicated Sales Enablement Teams

There is no way to overstate the importance of sales enablement to a team’s success in a world when sales organizations are being pushed to migrate to remote selling. It’s a matter of survival. 59 % of sales leaders polled had a dedicated sales enablement team or individual. This necessitates dedicated staff; sales enablement is not delegated to their sales managers or marketing department. Enablement is being asked to analyze and roll out tools and technologies to increase rep training, coaching, and team productivity, in addition to generating supporting materials. The tools that enablement selects aren’t just about saving time for representatives. To make check-ins more valuable, sales leaders and managers can use data like email open rates and call records to find high-impact coaching opportunities. They then take this information and use it to actively coach their staff through weekly check-ins, which is the most common sales coaching strategy among executives.

Suzie Andrews, CEO at Stark Associates said, “The single most underutilized resource in any company is the sales leader. As we look forward to 2021 all sales leaders should be asking themselves how they are aligning themselves to ensure they are most efficiently managing their teams.”

Automation and Competitive Data

Sales technology, such as sales intelligence and CRM solutions, has become an important aspect of the sales process for top-performing companies in recent years. This year marked a significant shift in the way salespeople had to sell, and sales executives had to equip their teams with new tools as a result. 

It’s no surprise that CEOs who moved their teams to a remote selling model identified “video conferencing software” as the most crucial tool for their team’s success, with a CRM coming in second. More intriguing was the fact that, regardless of performance this year, a CRM was identified as the first or second-most critical tool for all sales leaders. The use of tools was the key difference between the high-performing and low-performing teams: While implementing sales technology is a good start, leaders are accelerating growth by automating procedures. Successful sales leaders use data from their CRM to make strategic choices in addition to automating rep responsibilities. Regardless of revenue targets, the majority of survey respondents are interested in forecasting reports, quota performance, and rep activity. Those who actively obtain and analyze competitive intelligence and market data, on the other hand, are hitting or exceeding sales goals. Competitive intelligence and market data are used by 44% of sales leaders who expect to exceed revenue this year. High-performing sales executives are also focused on increasing pipeline velocity, indicating their commitment to process changes.

Trends during the Pandemic

It’s not uncommon to see how remote production is perceived to be higher than previously assumed or expected, while also being more efficient. It appears that, with the advent of new technologies and software, we have been unwittingly preparing for the pandemic since the birth of the digital age.

Virtual meetings, according to 63 percent of sales leaders, are just as effective as in-person meetings. Models of sales are evolving. Next year, nearly half of sales leaders polled plan to use a remote or hybrid sales approach. Virtual meetings have been as effective as or more effective than face-to-face meetings, according to 72 % of over-performing sales leaders. While 56 percent of respondents are dealing with a diminished business pipeline as a result of the pandemic, more than a quarter (22%) of sales reps are looking to sell into new markets, demonstrating a readiness to be flexible during these trying times. Only 15% of organizations are allowing sales teams to sell remotely on a long-term basis, indicating that most companies view remote selling as a temporary solution until other face-to-face alternatives become accessible again.

Sales companies have adopted hybrid models since buyer preferences for how they like to buy have changed. To suit the needs of buyers, more teams are selling both in person and remotely. COVID-19 has had a big impact on buyer behavior, and the economy has prompted sales leaders to make difficult decisions. Many sales companies are now obliged to work from home. As buying habits change, reps must become more creative, managers must find new ways to boost seller productivity, and executives must drive development in the face of uncertainty. As teams shift to full-time remote work, providing sellers with the tools and structure needed to stay disciplined in their sales processes will be crucial to an organization’s growth.

“As the world shifts to virtual, the challenge is building trust with your prospects and cutting through the noise. Our own research at LinkedIn shows that sales professionals can build trust by taking a buyer-first approach and by reaching out only when they fully understand the buyers’ needs and the buyer’s role in the purchasing process,” said Alyssa Merwin, VP of Sales, North America. 

While there is no silver bullet for businesses attempting to recover from the pandemic’s effects, our analysis indicates that organizations must consider how their employees can communicate with customers in remote locations just as much as they must consider market shifts and product diversification. With the pressure to fill a depleted pipeline pushing organizations into new markets and fewer avenues to speak with prospects, sales teams rely more on CRM technologies to assist their sales strategies and close deals.

Report Summarized By Orobi Bakhtiar

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