In the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." And boy, oh boy, did 2020 shake up all of our plans.
It would be premature to say that the dust has settled, but there's certainly an air of optimism and hope that the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is behind us. As companies start to forge new paths, we can begin to reflect on the steps we took to mitigate the daily challenges 2020 threw our way, and a great place to start is the HubSpot 2021 sales report.
"The efficacy of our historical data was overturned when COVID hit in Q2 2020. Everything in the sales process as we know it changed, from buyer expectations to sales motions, increasing uncertainty for revenue teams."
Director, Enterprise Sales at Gong
Yes. For most of the year, everything was a little bit chaotic. So many factors were out of our control. But what we can study is how businesses adapted their sales and marketing strategies to turn in the tide rather than try to swim against it.
Unsurprisingly, 40% of companies reported that hitting revenue targets for 2020 was unlikely. These setbacks can be attributed to the sharp shift in sales methodology –– sales reps came off the road, and outreach was limited to phone calls, video conferencing and other online mediums. For many, this was the beginning of the end. They seized to trade or limited their activity and took the financial hit. For other businesses, however, these changes spurred innovation, reinvention and a focus on sales and marketing enablement beyond the constraints of traditional models.
Many organisations recognised that to survive the crisis and continue evolving, it was necessary to take a highly proactive approach to sales enablement –– even in the midst of a costly pandemic. Improving productivity, communication and performance through technology was a key focus for many sales leaders, and the results speak for themselves. 50% of those who did not make the necessary investments in sales enablement did not meet their revenue targets. As a result, these organisations are now having to refocus their goals in order to catch up to their competitors –– but the gap is rapidly widening!
The buying behaviour of customers changed as more adapted to online purchasing. In response, businesses had to facilitate this demand and enable their salespeople to successfully reach remote buyers.
Experts advise businesses wishing to remain competitive in 2021 and beyond to listen carefully to what customers are asking for and ensure that their buyer's journey reflects and supports this.
If selling from a physical location is no longer feasible, it's time to move things online. According to the HubSpot report, 68% of sales leaders will be dedicated to making hybrid and remote sales models possible so that their teams can interact with leads and prospects with far fewer obstacles than before.
Traditionally, the sales enablement person or team was responsible for creating materials such as call scripts, pre-call checklists and email templates. The future of sales enablement looks different, however. The individuals that carry out this role will have to identify and evaluate suitable technologies that can enhance the sales team's skills and make their processes more efficient. It will be essential for these tools to also feed valuable data back to leaders so that continuous and relevant improvement can be applied to sales coaching.
What the HubSpot Sales Enablement Report showed is that the events of 2020 created two clear categories of sellers: Those that adopted new technologies, ramped up automation, and embraced a digital sales model, and those that are now trying to course-correct in order to regain some ground in the race.
At BEE, we help companies like yours achieve sales and marketing alignment by introducing strategy-driven, automated processes and content optimisation. By generating accurate data through the use of the right-fit tools for your business, you can make smarter, more effective decisions that will propel financial growth and empower your team to sell more. To review your current sales enablement strategy and identify new opportunities for your company, we recommend our Sales Enablement Service.
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