Virtual sales is on the rise — and no, we're not talking about robots taking sales jobs. In fact, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) there's never been a better time for salespeople to be in the profession. Rather, in an era of unprecedented connections, sales reps are increasingly likely to chat with a customer or prospect from behind a computer screen, rather than by slogging to their office.
A survey of more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide shows that virtual selling is on the rise — and there's no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. 60% of sales reps have increased their time meeting with customers and prospects virtually since 2015. Sales reps have, in fact, ramped up their time connecting virtually at a rate three times faster than that connecting in person.
The implications of this trends extend beyond engagement tactics. Sales staffing models are being rethought as managers increasingly look to fill the ranks of inside reps and sales development staff, with their ranks swelling by 7% and 6%, respectively, since 2015. High-performing teams —those at companies with significantly increased YoY revenue — are between 2.3x and 2.7x more likely than their underperforming competition — those at companies with decreased revenue — to have turned towards hiring more inside sales staff. Improved technology tops the list of reasons for the shift.
Does this field sales reps can stop carrying a bag with them everywhere and get comfortable at their desks? Not at all. The important role that field sales has played in building customer relationships is still critical today, with 71% of sales reps saying that building personal rapport has a substantial impact on converting a prospect. However, because we now live and operate in a more digital world, where customer expectations for connected, personalized — and most importantly fast — engagement are omni-present" the rules of engagement are changing a little each day. As the data shows, sales teams that adapt to these changes are increasingly effective digital-first sales environment.
For more insights on the current state of sales and to uncover the trends that top sales teams must harness to make — and surpass — their numbers, be sure to download the full “State of Sales” research report today!