Here are five of our twenty-five predictions for 2021 based on extensive surveying and analysis, in-depth interviews with sales leaders from around the world, and insights from our Rethink Sales Virtual Round Tables.
Quotas may become shorter term (quarterly or semi-annually) to account for uncertainty
Don’t panic. Since the earliest weeks of the pandemic, we’ve been hearing from clients who suspected we would advise them to lower their “magic number.” Not so fast! Rather than reduce sales reps’ quotas, consider pushing them further out into the year. Or break down the quotas into discrete periods such as quarterly or semi-annually.
Quotas will become more account opportunity driven
History is history. While some companies have flourished during COVID-19, others — as well as entire industries — have been hit hard. For many in sales, last year’s numbers were just that: last year’s numbers, with little relevance to this year’s or next year’s. Instead of stressful and imprecise guesswork, look at each account in the context of market opportunity and your company’s sales capacity.
New sales potential data sources will be required beyond $/FTE
You’re gonna need a bigger boat. Sure, last year you could crunch some numbers to identify sales potential based on revenues generated by each full-time employee. Not so easy this year, but far from impossible. The Cortera COVID-19 Economic Impact Tracker is a free tool that provides access to over $1.5 trillion in annual spending by U.S. businesses. Rather than relying on your old data sources, consider parallels that help you understand the health of your customer’s business.
Strategic account planning will become more important and more intentional
Get strategic and stay strategic. The way sales teams frame their approach is more important this year than ever. Even before COVID-19, cloud computing, globalization, AI, and other innovations ensured that virtually any account — however old or valued — could be snagged by an ambitious start-up. As we embark on 2021 with a dash of cautious optimism, remember that moving forward, a consistent account plan and a culture of creative problem solving, ongoing planning processes, and seamless information sharing will drive revenue. Strategic account planning is a big differentiator.
Industry targeting, for healthy sectors, will surpass general deployment
We can’t all be selling medical supplies. Target industries and identify their healthiest sectors, then deploy your sales team with precision. It takes discipline, a strategic mindset, and — again — creative problem solving to pull it off. Do this to restart your company’s growth in 2021. You may even spot an opportunity to attract top talent from organizations that neglected to target strategically.
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