Sales pros struggling to adapt to hybrid work future
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated rapid acceleration of online work is presenting challenges for sales professionals and having a long-term impact on buyer and seller relationships, according to new research from Wyda.
The research found that the trend has accelerated the use of virtual selling, which is challenging sales professionals who previously relied on face-to-face relationships driven by physical meetings.
Another significant trend involves buyers’ increased self-sufficiency to independently research and evaluate products and services they are interested in purchasing.
According to Kate Kesby, founder and CEO of Wyda, this is reducing the value to buyers of sales professionals who rely heavily on their ability to match customers in the market to solution use cases.
“Some sales professionals have been able to mask this through physical in-person relationships, until the pandemic stripped away the coffee meeting and exposed a big skill gap,” she said.
"Sellers that don’t adapt fast in this new environment are being exposed,” she added, noting that it is essential for sales professionals to be able to offer greater insights and better understand the customer’s business.
“As one respondent remarked, the agile salesperson needs to use an array of information and people, both internal and third party, to drive customer insights and trust. This point was illustrated by the fact that 95% of respondents agreed that creating greater agility in sales engagement and execution is required.”
But a survey conducted for the report found that only 49% of sales team leaders are confident that their sales professionals had these skills. In addition, 88% of respondents agree that traditional sales methodologies need to be combined with more context-specific skills.
Upskilling sales staff also comes with its own challenges. While respondents nominated a classroom-based, instructor-led environment as the nest training choice, 30% of respondents said they have difficulty changing their behaviour after training.
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