6 Trends Impacting the Future of Sales Post-COVID
Everything has changed really quickly since we buckled into the hellacious rollercoaster ride brought to by the courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before our eyes, we have all watched the world morph and evolve into what is now being dubbed “the new normal.” In record-breaking time, businesses went from brick-and-mortar to completely virtual in order to remain relevant and afloat.
Despite an astounding increase in the U.S. unemployment rate, buyers are still buying, consumers are still consuming, and businesses have rapidly adjusted to accommodate their customers’ new habits. The resiliency of it all has been a sight to behold, however there is truth in the notion that some things will never be the same again — and it may not be all bad. Regardless, it’s incredibly important for sellers to adapt to new buyer behaviors.
Listening to Salesforce’s Global Growth Evangelist, Tiffany Bova, in a recent webinar, there are 6 distinct trends that will forever impact the future of sales post-COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Buying habits are forever changed
Remember when online grocery ordering and curbside pickup felt new, novel, and insanely convenient? Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many buyers have opted to forego the age-old activity of pushing a cart up and down the aisles of their respective supermarkets perhaps for good. Instead, consumers have embraced a complete about-face for how they choose to shop.
Studies are showing that 35 to 45 percent of consumers will continue to live by the new habits they have developed since the pandemic started. Because this chunk of buyers has no intention of reverting back to their old habits, it behooves sellers to shift towards accommodating the new buying behaviors of their beloved customers.
2. The negotiation medium has pivoted
Now is the time to be certain your agents are omnichannel. Along with buyer behavior and habits changing, so has the way your customers choose to communicate with your teams. Is your team capable of negotiating with potential buyers or existing customers via email? Buyers are no longer engaging on the human to human level. Your team must be able to flex between the realities that exist between humans, algorithms, or in many cases, both.
3. New methods of innovation
The current environment is begging for innovation, but changing your sales processes should be approached incrementally. Consider assembling a pop-up team that is dedicated to identifying meaningful opportunities for improvement that will play key roles in futureproofing your business. So often, a company’s sales operations can be overly complicated. The goal of your pop-up team is to find ways to optimize your current business, transform, and innovate.
4. Humans and AI are the new power couple
Chatbots, live chat, and virtual agents aren’t going anywhere, and in order to become a high-performing seller, we must fully embrace technology. Humans and artificial intelligence are the new power couple, so you’ve got to empower your sellers to embrace this new romance. Did you know that your sales team is on average spending 66 percent of their time on non-selling activities? Utilizing AI frees up a boatload of time for your sellers to focus more of their time on, well, selling!
5. CX is the new battleground
Investing in better customer experiences is proving to bring impressive returns. Studies show that 67 percent of customers actually pay more for a great experience — which means your sellers need to consider foregoing productivity metrics and start focusing more on customer-driven metrics instead. This approach works best when the barriers created by departmental silos begin to give way to a more blended approach. Customers should never actually feel like they are being passed around in a disjointed process. Curating a seamless process creates better customer experiences.
6. Consumers want to buy from socially responsible sellers
According to Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, “Business is the greatest platform for change,” so ask yourself, “What is your company doing to solve some of the issues occurring in our world today?” Buyers want to vote with their dollar more than ever, so how is your business playing a role in, say, reducing carbon footprints or finding pay equality? Finding ways to develop more sustainable goals and become more socially responsible will resonate with your customers now more than ever.