The new normal?
While we've seen a lot of changes already this year, it’s important to ask whether these changes are just a blip, or whether they represent a fundamental shift in sales. Will the sales industry go back to the way things were, or is this the new normal? What sales industry trends can we expect to see in 2021?
The answer depends on how effective these changes have been. If the results of these sales trends have been positive, despite the economic uncertainties, it makes sense that the changes will become permanent. The McKinsey survey reported that 65% of B2B decision-makers rated their new sales model as equally or more effective, compared to their previous models. Interestingly, this represents an ongoing increase in the perceived effectiveness, up from 60% in early April.
As a result, it’s likely these changes will be around for a while. 79% were either somewhat or very likely to sustain their shifts for more than 12 months after COVID-19, meaning this new normal will still be around in 2021.
While many of these changes couldn’t have even been imagined at the start of the year, many of them represent sales industry trends that have been growing for some time. The shifts to new sales tools and technology, remote selling and digital channels have been on the horizon for a while, and have merely been sped up by the coronavirus.
Nick Toman, chief of research for the Gartner Sales practice, says that innovative practices that address unique challenges are key in a COVID-19 world.
“Well-developed but flexible plans that help the business evolve, to shifts in customer behaviors, and related impacts on sales team morale will be critical in providing clearer points of engagement for customers, partners and sales teams alike,” he says.
While the economic repercussions are still being felt, they’re also forcing sales managers and their teams to think more carefully about their methods, encouraging them to focus on relationship building and refining their message.
As a result, we can expect salespeople to show the same resilience they always have and continue to be the core of successful businesses in 2021.