Economic trends have always provided actionable information for sellers. But in an age of uncertainty, technological acceleration, and increased customer expectations, it’s never been so important to keep an eye on success metrics and workplace trends.

In our new reality, information is everything. Finding patterns is crucial and following economic trends can help businesses navigate uncertainty. Together, we can share data to create a new, more-connected sales landscape. One where speed, agility, and empathetic communication are prized. And most importantly, a landscape where the customer is at the heart of everything we do.

With this in mind, Salesforce is proud to present the 4th edition of the State of Sales report, Trends in EMEA Sales. The report presents information on: 

  • economic trends

  • the state of sales in EMEA

  • what drives business and growth and more
     

The 4th edition of the State of Sales report comprises the insights of 3,151 sales professionals around the world. Here are some key highlights from the report.

 

Top teams turn insights into sales

Strong sales have always been built on strong relationships and that’s especially true at this moment. The report shows that 91% of sales reps say that current economic conditions make it important to anticipate customers’ needs. Moreover, 87% say that they act as a trusted advisor to their customers.

With so much uncertainty and fragility baked into the sales landscape, sellers need to do more than offer a product or service. They need to understand the unique needs of their individual customers.
 

83% of EMEA business buyers say that they’re more likely to buy from companies that demonstrate an understanding of their goals.”

Trends in EMEA Sales, Mini Report

The report also reveals that high-performers are more likely than underperformers to leverage information from international and industry news sources. They’re also more likely to track customers’ staffing changes and competitor activity.

 

As business needs shift, reskilling becomes a priority

Many sales organisations have seen their staffing needs change dramatically. In fact, 73% of EMEA sales professionals say that they’ve taken on new responsibilities at work.

It’s no surprise that remote working and selling from home have also seen a dramatic uptick. According to our report, 74% of leaders stated that they’re retraining field reps to sell from home. This untethering of the workforce may be a new way of working, but it can be an empowering one. Reps are no longer confined to office hours and limited by the logistics of face-to-face selling.
 


The majority of today’s leaders (59%) are reskilling their workforce rather than hiring new employees (46%). Reskilling is not only more cost-effective, but it also helps build employee loyalty and create a more agile workforce. If anything, the percentage of leaders concentrating on reskilling rather than hiring from outside seems slightly low. Especially when there are easy solutions that enable employees to learn new skills over a cup of coffee or on their morning commute.

 

Organisations seek visibility as selling goes remote

As more employees shift to remote working, EMEA organisations are adopting new tools and strategies to keep teams accountable and aligned. Our report shows that 74% of EMEA organisations have increased the monitoring of field reps. Moreover, 66% have increased the enforcement of activity logging and 62% have increased the length of pipeline management meetings.
 


It’s no wonder then, that more and more businesses are turning to digital solutions, like Sales Cloud, to help align teams and processes. Another telling statistic from the report regards the use of AI, which is on the rise everywhere. Especially in high-performing organisations. 

In fact, 60% of high performers are using AI to determine what action to take on accounts (vs. 31% of underperformers); 63% are using AI to prioritise leads (vs. 34%), and 68% are using AI to log sales data and customer notes (vs. 54%).

Additionally, 82% of EMEA sales professionals say that AI improves visibility into reps activities. From looking at these numbers, there’s little doubt that AI can be a huge advantage in gaining visibility. It also automates routine tasks, freeing up sales reps’ time, and optimises skill sets. This helps business owners turn underperforming teams into high-performing ones.

 

Sales ops becomes increasingly strategic

Data is the engine driving economic trends in the new landscape, and sales ops has taken the wheel. Our report reveals that sales ops have become increasingly important since 2019. And its role in strategic planning has only grown.

As shown in our report, today’s sales professionals are viewing sales ops in a new light:

  • 83% say that sales ops is becoming more strategic

  • 88% say that it plays a critical role in growing the business

  • 88% say that it plays a critical role in business continuity

Over half (55%) of respondents also state that sales operations teams are now key to defining sales strategy.
 


A majority of respondents also agree that the role of sales ops in strategy planning has increased. As the role of sales ops evolves, so must the training that EMEA organisations provide.

 

Digital transformation accelerates

The digital transformation has had a huge effect on the economic trends shaping the new landscape. Now, we are finding ourselves in the midst of a digital arms race. Sales organisations that leverage technology are much more effective in navigating change and pivoting to face new challenges.
 

79% of EMEA sales leaders say that their digital transformation has accelerated since 2019.”

Trends in EMEA Sales, Mini Report

The shift to remote working has also led to a boon in video conferencing, mobile sales apps, and CRM systems. Our report also shows that there’s been a 24% increase in EMEA sales teams using AI. In challenging times, technology enables sales teams to meet their customer demands in new ways and places.

 

Top 5 sales tools that have become more valuable in EMEA since 2019

1. Video conferencing tools

As offices closed and workforces became decentralised, video-conferencing tools kept teams together. Businesses not only shifted meetings onto digital platforms, but they also established coffee chats, pub quizzes, brainstorming sessions, and general get-togethers.
 

2. Artificial intelligence

High-performing organisations are already using AI tools like Einstein to automate workflows, improve customer satisfaction, and predict outcomes. The future of AI remains limitless! It’s certain that creative organisations will find new and exciting ways to deploy AI in the near future.
 

3. Mobile sales apps for employees

Empowering employees with easy, on-the-go mobile tools took on new importance when lockdown measures hit. And mobile sales apps will continue to grow, even after workforces return to the office. Even EMEA organisations without robust IT departments have been able to develop their own low-code apps on the Salesforce Platform, simply by dragging and dropping components.
 

4. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems

The customer is king in the new climate, so companies that weren’t using CRM systems to manage their relationships have been scrambling to keep up. The rise of new adapters means that more companies are preparing themselves to meet growing customer expectations. A CRM system will help them better cope with the challenges of the current climate.
 

5. Sales prospecting tools

In an unpredictable climate, many businesses have been turning to sales prospecting tools to maximise efficiency, save time, and generate pipeline. Many of these tools can be integrated with other Salesforce solutions, enabling teams to get a 360-degree customer view. 

 

Economic trends point the way — you blaze the trail

Economic trends are useful for keeping up with competitors and customer expectations. They’re also great for developing successful strategies and tactics. Basically, they just point to where the train’s headed. 

For businesses that want to be in the driver’s seat, these economic trends are a departure point, not a final destination. Businesses can lay their track by introducing innovative digital technologies, creating an agile, upskilling their workforce, and developing better relationships with their customers. Then, they just need the imagination to fire up the engine and head for the horizon.


To see more economic trends driving the current climate, download the 4th Edition of the State of Sales report today!