Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have been forced to stay at home, displacing sales teams and fast-tracking the embracing of virtual selling channels. Few organisations were prepared for this scale of employee dispersion.
98% of sales leaders have reported that their business will be disrupted by the pandemic over a total of 5 sales quarters as they adjust to the uncertainty, adapting to the changes in buyer behaviour, and new ways of working. There has been a 20% drop in sales productivity since the pandemic started as executives struggle to adapt to managing and measuring remote salespeople, call centre representatives and customer support agents. Many executives believe the changes brought on by the pandemic will transform the way they sell forever.
Sales leaders are now being forced to quickly adapt their commercial models to this new buying reality by:
· Transitioning from “old school” face-to-face selling to virtual selling approaches better suited to the demands of “new school” buyers who prefer to work through digital channels.
· Building “digital-first” sales infrastructure to support remote selling at scale.
· Getting much more leverage, visibility, customer engagement, and speed from technology.
“The global spread of the coronavirus is the tipping point for virtual selling, which represents the commercial model of the future,” reports Michael Smith, a Managing Director at Blue Ridge Partners who has helped over 100 businesses improve their selling performance. “Looking past the pandemic, the coronavirus response has pushed most sales organizations past the point of no return where the adoption rate of remote selling channels and “new school” digital buying practices will transform selling as we know it. This will redefine the commercial model by accelerating the cadence of sales, forcing higher levels of digital engagement, and introducing entirely new sales management practices.”.
Bob Kelly, Chairman of the Sales Management Association (SMA) which co-sponsored the Remote Sales Productivity Report, anticipates the pressure to respond to the coronavirus will finally give sales leaders the shove they need to become adaptable, technology-enabled, and learning agile.
“The response to the coronavirus crisis has created a “shoving point” that will force sales managers to truly rely on technology or be left behind. That shove will send many reeling. But I ultimately believe most sales forces or their managers will rise to the challenge and adapt to challenging markets, reorganise with heightened purpose, and remake their organizations in a more remote selling model.”
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