Sales Professionals: Embrace the Change, It’s Here to Stay

December 3, 2020  |  Posted by in Sales Training, Virtual Selling

Carew International has an inside look at how sales professionals have changed their ways throughout 2020. On average, the Carew team interacts with several hundred sales leaders, sales managers, and sales representatives (account managers, new business development representatives) on a monthly basis. One thing that has been a constant theme in all our engagements is the surprising number of sales professionals who seem very resistant to change.

Change can affect people differently. Some individuals love change, some don’t. But what is concerning about our observation is that some organizations are suffering because of this resistance to change. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to some of you, but change is here, and it may be more permanent than originally thought. Consider this data:

At the end of 2009, the percentage of retail e-commerce sales was 6%, and by the end of 2019 it was only 16%; in 10 years there was 10% growth. Compare that to the 8 weeks from early March to Mid-April, when online retail sales growth accelerated from 16%-27% (US Department of Commerce). Change was occurring slowly, but the pandemic caused the change to accelerate.

From our perspective, B2B selling has pivoted, and just like retail e-commerce, changes that have been incrementally developing since sales professionals started carrying BlackBerrys (I bought my first one in 2008) have been accelerated by the pandemic. Don’t take our word for it, McKinsey recently released data that supports this. 89% of companies expect to keep the same go-to-market models for the next 12+ months. Additionally, about 20% of B2B buyers ever want to interact with reps in-person in an ideal post-COVID-19 world (a world without masks).

So, if your definition of “returning to normal” is that magical time prior to March 2020, it looks like you may be doing a lot of catch up in 2021.

Change means being forced outside of your comfort zone. Many will take the path of least resistance at first, that’s human nature. But consider the consequences.

Does thinking about proper lighting on your video calls make you feel vain or inauthentic? Guess what, your competitor showed up crystal clear on the call right before yours.

Does getting dressed up for a video call seem silly and unnecessary? Guess what, your competition established credibility and showed your customer the respect of putting on a business appropriate outfit.

Does spending extra time rehearsing your presentation on-camera and simplifying your visuals seem unproductive? Guess what, your competition just presented their solution quickly, efficiently and their visuals added value.

Carew has a bird’s eye and a front-line view of the reality of sales professionals in 2020. We sell AND train sales professionals. We empathize with those of you that haven’t fully embraced the change occurring. Flying to San Diego to deliver a workshop is much more satisfying than staring at the virtual beach background that people seem to love!

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Success is not given, it’s earned. Don’t wait for these changes to decline and become a non-factor, because the data is showing that likely won’t happen. You must be proactive.

Contact us to learn more about how Carew can help you or your sales team prepare for the challenges and further change that 2021 will undoubtedly bring.

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