Quick take: The inaugural Sales Transformation Survey has uncovered dozens of insights on the quickly-evolving profession, including what makes sales roles today more appealing than five years ago. This article takes an in-depth look at the findings.
It’s time to rewrite the sales job description. According to a recent Salesforce study, there is a ‘Great Sales Transformation’ underway as sales is no longer defined by cold calling and high-stakes tactics. The profession today has evolved to be more consultative and digital, leaning on new technologies like AI to help customers solve problems and do more listening and less talking.
Eight in 10 sales professionals say sales roles have changed since the pandemic.
With new hybrid working models, salespeople are no longer road warriors, constantly traveling to close deals. Rather, they’re spending more time in virtual meetings trying to build meaningful relationships with customers across disparate platforms, all with a lot of spreadsheets and data and too little training.
To uncover these and other insights, Salesforce surveyed 982 sales professionals across the United States and EMEA.
As buyer and seller expectations change, purely transactional relationships are going by the wayside
In changing times, trusted relationships take on more importance. With 87% of business buyers expecting sales reps to act as trusted advisors, sales teams are building more consultative relationships with their customers — and maintaining those relationships to do more than just land the deal. Nearly 9 in 10 of sales professionals say sales today is more about listening to the customer than talking to the customer.
And, as sales roles continue to evolve post-pandemic, traditional sales tactics like cold calling may be in the rear view mirror.
Half of surveyed sales professionals claim they would rather go to the dentist than conduct a cold call.
Sales teams are noting this shift in sentiment from both buyers and sellers and acting on it to create long-term success. Teams today are putting a focus on lasting business over quick wins — nearly 7 in 10 sales professionals say that maintaining a relationship with the customer is more important now to the sales process when compared to pre-pandemic.
Developing virtual relationships has its challenges; salespeople crave training
While half (51%) of sales professionals expect to primarily sell virtually moving forward, 58% say it’s harder than selling from an office. Despite these challenges, only 29% report receiving training on selling virtually.
With the explosive growth of online selling tools since the pandemic, quality over quantity will be key. In fact, most sales leaders are saying that too many virtual selling tools have negatively impacted their teams. Training sales reps well on fewer, more effective tools can help drive impact.
More than 6 in 10 respondents see themselves working in sales in five years. With sales teams looking forward to a future in sales, businesses have an opportunity to build talent pipelines trained to leverage impactful sales technology. It’s critical to build tailored digital skills training for sales teams, as every role learns uniquely.
AI and integrated CRM can boost productivity and help sales remain a promising career path
Supporting the Great Sales Transformation — and the talent within it — requires the adoption of cutting edge technology. Nearly all sales professionals believe intelligent insights help cut closing times significantly, giving them time to focus on building deep customer relationships.
Technologies like integrated CRM can also help employee productivity, allowing sales professionals to focus less on tracking down insights from disparate systems and more on becoming trusted advisors to customers. In fact, sales professionals say this technology makes sales a more appealing career path.
Salesforce surveyed 982 U.S, U.K. and Germany.-based full-time sales professionals ages 18-64 in April-May 2022.
Salesforce Great Sales Transformation Survey, June 2022