Here are five of our twenty-five predictions for 2021. How did we arrive at these insights? No crystal ball was required. We did, however, survey sales leaders from around the world, consult with SalesGlobe clients from Fortune 1000 companies, and interview experts on selling, strategy, communication, and sales technology in our weekly Rethink Sales Virtual Round Tables. We asked a lot of questions, did a lot of listening, and then used Sales Design ThinkingSM to arrive at our twenty-five.
We share these predictions in the hope that they will help companies rethink how they sell — not just during the pandemic, but afterward as well, in whatever the “new normal” looks like.
Geographic boundaries will matter less
Think sector, not territory. With field sales happening largely from the inside for the foreseeable future, geographic boundaries will matter less, while industry sectors will matter more. Sales teams that are still configured for physical territories may lose opportunities to new and agile hybrid teams.
Contact will become more efficient, increasing productivity
Zoom in. It’s never been easier to reach a prospect, customer, vendor, or partner. After all, nearly everybody is home! Those who aren’t back at the office yet, but may be experiencing bunny slipper fatigue at home are looking to a hybrid remote office model that balances work from home with an on-site presence. A hybrid remote model enables employees to work from home while still having the opportunity to come into the office to work and connect with their colleagues at a safe social distance.
Average price may decrease with new offers, decreasing productivity
Don’t panic. Depending on sector and various economic factors, the average sales price may drop, leading to decreases in productivity and a hit to sales reps’ compensation. One solution is to look at thresholds and other elements of pay to see if an adjustment is required. We still recommend pushing quotas back in anticipation of a recovery instead of changing them.
Teams will collaborate less, decreasing productivity
Zoom out. For some of us, there’s no substitute for face-to-face brainstorming, problem solving, and planning. All the virtual platforms in all the world will never replace in-person meetings around a conference table with a whiteboard nearby. We’ve seen companies take a number of approaches to address this issue. Some ask employees to keep their Zoom on all day for informal check-ins and quick touch-bases rather than formal virtual meetings, which can be draining and non-productive.
Sales capacity models will need to recalibrate
Do only what is possible. Do not confuse sales capacity with headcount. The former is about the relationship of sales time (the total amount of time reps spend on retention, penetration, or acquisition), the number of hours to manage an account or to move a sale through the pipeline, and the average revenue or bookings per sale or customer. Some sectors such as medical equipment manufacturers have breezed through the pandemic unscathed. Some, such as food and beverage sales have taken a real bruising. Other sectors are beginning to come back. Now is the time to recalibrate the capacity your organization has for selling. If you ask your sales reps to sell beyond the organization’s capacity, you will likely face a retention problem as well.
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