What has 2020 been like for your business? The CSO Insights survey, conducted in Sep/Oct 2020 by Korn Ferry, surveyed organisations around the world to uncover the impact of COVID-19 on virtual selling practices. Unsurprisingly, a tremendous amount of change has occurred in the buying and selling of products and services in 2020. Significantly, buyers and sellers alike expect many or most of the changes to become business as usual.

Three major themes emerged from the findings:

  1. Organisations are focusing on what they can control.

The data shows:

  • Desire to put even more emphasis on existing clients versus new clients and invest in their existing talent versus new recruits.
  • Decrease in forecast accuracy.
  • Increased managerial activity in the areas of checking in, monitoring and attending sales calls.

What we learned:

  • This increased managerial focus across activities does not necessarily offer improvements in performance
  • Organisations are ready to invest in their existing talent.
  1. Buying and selling is different because of COVID.

The data shows:

  • Extensive reported changes, to processes related to buying and selling, in seller organisations, client organisations and their clients.
  • Longer buying cycles for both new and existing clients.
  • Widespread agreement that some or many of the changes will remain.

What we learned:

  • Slightly shorter buying cycles for existing clients versus new clients. The focus on existing clients continues to help organisations manage time and resources.
  • Organisations that report alignment to client processes are showing increases in wins and revenue.
  1. It’s harder to make the sale.

The data shows:

  • Far greater use of a range of concessions to salvage deals, for example, discounting or delaying payments, which is unsustainable.
  • The outlook for the future is being described as “poised to thrive” versus “survive”.
  • There’s more! Of everything! There are more meetings to progress an opportunity, more people in meetings, more acceptance by clients of meetings, and higher expectations by clients in meetings.

What we learned:

  • Sellers rate their skills within virtual meetings as higher than others in the organisation. Overall, there is room for development in a range of virtual selling skills. One tactical path to growth is to develop the skills needed in all meetings and especially virtual selling that are seen as lacking.

Would you like to find out what strategy your business can employ, based on these findings, to deliver more positive sales results? Contact our Business Capability Director Iain Grant on 0414 441 458 or Iain@rbgadvisory.com.au to find out how RBG can support you.

Kind regards

Carl Ireland
CEO | RBG