COVID-19 has brought about many unprecedented changes. For one, businesses have had to restructure their activities and cut down on costs just to stay afloat — which is understandable, considering around 181,000 Canadian business owners are in danger of closing down their shops permanently. This is on top of the 58,000 businesses that have already shut down last year. Unsurprisingly, the economic downturn has also affected how sales teams operate. Because of this, we expect to see some trends in sales picking up this year to improve the industry and help companies bounce back. So we have listed some of our predictions below.
1. Personalisation is more important than ever
Articles and columns tend to harp on about customer experience in sales. However, its importance cannot be overstated — especially in today’s economic climate where many businesses have had to scale down. With continuously shrinking corporate spending power, it's now critical to ensure that your clients will get their return of investment if they buy into your products and services. One way to do this is to have a specially tailored outreach. Move from being just a sales rep to becoming a trusted advisor, highlighting your service as a bespoke solution to their needs. This extra mile of personalising your interactions will help seal the deal, while simultaneously building trust and loyalty.
2. Remote work for sales activities is here to stay
The pandemic has forced most industries to shift to remote work — including sales. And it looks like these changes are here to stay. Global management consulting firm McKinsey says that 70 to 80% of B2B buyers prefer remote communications and digital services in light of COVID-19. In addition, 70% of B2B buyers are willing to make big-ticket purchases via virtual transactions, according to the same McKinsey study. Even if we’re starved for human connection, the perks of digital selling are significant enough that we’ll see inside sales continue to grow in importance.
4. Businesses will invest more in sales technology
Sales professionals have been using automation, chatbots, and similar technologies for years now. However, we expect to see a surge in adoption as inside sales teams scramble to leverage these digital tools to gain an edge over competitors. For instance, platforms like Gong are useful for capturing calls and analysing talk ratios to bump up win rates. This adoption will also fuel innovation as more technology, AI in particular, enters the sales world.
2021 has already changed how we sell. As the year continues, we'll see more trends unfold as we go from fully remote back to some kind of hybrid / in-person selling. One thing is for sure - it's going to be an interesting rest of the year.
About Alisha Avery
Alisha Avery is a freelance writer and digital sales consultant who has worked with several tech start-ups around the world. In her spare time, she likes to cook and go on hikes.