Sandler Research Center Asks the Question: Is This “New Normal” the Permanent “New Normal”?

Sandler Research Center Asks the Question_ Is This “New Normal” the Permanent “New Normal”

Will we eventually be able to return to the pre-pandemic ways of conducting business? That’s a question that’s been on the minds of many professionals. The latest survey from the Sandler Research Center (SRC), “Leading from the Front During Challenging Times,” asked sales leaders around the world what kinds of changes they have encountered in the era of COVID … and how they are planning to respond to those changes.

SRC surveyed a global cohort of sales leaders. The majority believe changes in reaction to the pandemic have changed the sales process permanently.

71.4% of respondents told us that the sales process has permanently changed as the result of a recent transition to remote commercial trading. Small and mid-sized businesses were more likely to report a change in sales process during this transition. Businesses with an annual revenue larger than $500 million were somewhat less likely to report such a change.

Survey results suggest that those organizations who made the transition more quickly than counterparts or competitors have fared the best in the marketplace. By rapidly pivoting, they not only impressed existing customers with their commercial agility and availability, but were also able to attract new prospects, even though these were fewer in numbers than in years past.

Interestingly, the smallest and largest businesses reported greater confidence in their existing sales team’s ability to thrive in the “new normal.”  73.5% of businesses with annual revenues less than $1 million, and 73.8% of businesses with annual revenue greater than $500 million reported they believed more than half of their sales team showed the capabilities necessary to succeed in the post-pandemic marketplace. By contrast, organizations with annual revenues between $1 million and $500 million were less likely to say this.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 32.5% of sales leaders replied that they had received training on remote leadership.
  • 57.7% said they have conducted training equipping their teams to sell remotely.
  • 43.4% had made a change to sales operations to allow for future needs.
  • 50.6% of respondents reported an improvement in CRM use since the start of the pandemic, with 11% of stating that considerable improvement has occurred.

A change in sales process trends had already started before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more and more organizations emphasizing remote selling. The survey results suggest that the events of the pandemic have accelerated those changes – and altered the landscape in dramatic and enduring ways.

To learn more about the Sandler Research Center survey “Leading from the Front in Challenging Times,” download a copy of the report here.