If 2020 saw unprecedented change, then 2021 marked a watershed in how B2B buyers make purchases. As the year progressed, we saw buyers increasingly embracing more digital, consumer-like interactions with their suppliers. So what does 2022 hold in store for the sales function?
We’re pretty sure it will involve more change and new challenges, together with exciting opportunities for savvy sales professionals who are willing to innovate. We delved into the sales statistics and identified some key trends, as well as our tips to help you get ahead of the competition and reach your revenue targets in 2022.
Trend 1: Buyers Preferences – More B2B Big Spenders Will Move Online in 2022
Remote selling has led to the biggest shift in the sales function for decades. It may have been precipitated by the global pandemic, but it has now become a preference for B2B buyers and a way of life for sales people. We found some pretty incredible sales statistics from global management firm McKinsey:
- Buyers are more willing than ever before to spend big through remote or online sales channels, those willing to spend $500,000 or more in a single transaction increasing from 27% in February 2021 to 35 per cent in December 2021.
- A huge 77% of B2B customers are also willing to spend $50,000 or more in a single transaction.
- Just 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field sales models have traditionally dominated such as pharma and medical products.
Key Takeaways For 2022
- Find out as much as you can about buying behaviours and preferences in your sector – and fine tune your sales processes accordingly.
- Look at how to incorporate remote selling into your sales operation to improve the productivity of your sales teams – analyse your sales statistics and be willing to adapt.
- Talk to your marketing department – maybe there are opportunities to align your activities more closely to generate more Return on Investment (ROI) from your marketing campaigns.
Read More: Five Crucial Ways Telemarketing Drives B2B Lead Generation
Trend 2: Remote Sales Statistics - We are Never Going Back to ‘Normal’!
Do sales reps prefer remote selling? Well that probably depends on who you ask, but all the sales statistics we found pointed in one direction – things are not going back to how they were before:
- 61% of sales leaders believe things will never go back to the way they were before (Zendesk) and 58% of sales reps think their job has changed forever (Salesforce).
- 94% of B2B decision makers see today’s omnichannel reality – in which customers buy face-to-face, remotely and online – as being as effective or more effective than pre Covid-19 days, compared to 65% in April 2020.
- 36% of sales professionals agreed that the biggest challenge of selling virtually is that it is “more difficult to connect personally” followed by 19% who say that “people behave differently virtually” (Salesforce).
Key Takeaways For 2022
- Recognise that the move to remote selling is a huge shift for your sales team and invest in resources to help them adapt.
- Work with your marketing department to define the buying journey for your customers and work together to meet their needs.
- If you work with an outsourced telemarketing or inside sales company, talk to them about the possibility of creating a more nuanced approach that includes digital channels in addition to outbound calls.
Trend 3: Inside Sales vs Field Sales Statistics – The Scales Will Tip Further in 2022
Traditionally field sales reps were responsible for closing the majority of sales, while the inside sales reps played a more supporting role. To be fair, as the sales statistics below show, the remote selling trend began even before the pandemic; however the latest data points to a huge shift in the future, as sales leaders realise the potential of highly-efficient inside sales functions.
- In 2021, outside sales reps were spending 89% more time selling remotely than in 2013 (Inside Sales).
- 27% of field sales teams were considering a permanent shift from traditional field sales into virtual sales roles by March 2021 (Gartner).
- 73% of sales teams are increasingly monitoring outside reps activities (Salesforce)
- A rule of thirds has emerged: customers employ a roughly even mix of traditional sales (eg, in-person meetings), remote (eg, videoconferencing and phone discussions), and self-service (eg, e- commerce and digital portals) at each stage of the sales process (McKinsey).
Key Takeaways For 2022
- Remote selling may offer some attractive opportunities to save money and increase productivity, but be careful not to throw the baby away with the bath water – consider how to retain and retrain your field sales staff and help them adapt to virtual sales roles.
- Consult with your top sales performers as to how best to manage the transition to remote sales to achieve their own personal career goals, or risk losing them to a more flexible employer.
- Consider whether technology platforms can help boost productivity and give your sales reps a competitive edge.
Related Reading: The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Telesales
Trend 4: Adapting to Change in Sales Statistics – In 2022, Strategic Thinkers Will Have an Edge
Sales leaders who thrive on change are going to have a definite edge over their less adaptable peers in 2022. Not only is the external business environment uncertain, as a result of the ongoing pandemic; the internal sales function is being forced to change at a rapid pace. Two sales statistics in particular illustrated this point in 2021:
- Dealing with uncertainty brought on by the pandemic and “managing constantly shifting priorities” was seen as the top 2021 challenge by 57% of sales professionals and sales leaders (Richardson Sales Performance)
- Only 26% of sales leaders say they feel completely capable of adapting team and culture and 28% say the same about staff skills (Salesforce)
In this environment there is a huge opportunity for Sales Operations to contribute to future growth strategies. We found some great sales statistics from Salesforce which highlighted this point:
- 89% of sales professionals say sales ops plays a critical role in growing the business.
- 85% of sales professionals agree that sales ops is becoming increasingly strategic.
- 75% of sales ops professionals say they have new responsibilities at work.
Key Takeaways For 2022
- If you haven’t already, consider how your sales function can adapt to the new world of remote selling.
- Cross-functional alignment will be critical in 2022, so start now by identifying departmental silos in your organisation and improving processes.
- Talk to your Sales Ops team about how technology can increase efficiency and create a more joined-up sales function.
Trend 5: Top Performers Sales Statistics – Plus ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose!
Interestingly, when it comes to the top performers, the sales statistics suggest that some things don’t change! Work rate, persistence and productivity remain the defining factors of success as we adapt to the new normal:
- 79% of sales executives say a leading driver of hitting new targets is improving the productivity of existing sales reps (Salesforce)
- 72% of companies with less than 50 news opportunities per month did not achieve their revenue goals, compared to just 15% with 50-100 opportunities and only 4% for 101-200 new opportunities (Hubspot)
- 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls whereas 44% of sales reps give up after just one follow-up call
- Top-performing sales reps hit their peak quote attainment between 2-3 years in their role (Xactly Insights)
- Over 40% of sales reps say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%) (Hubspot)
Key Takeaways For 2022
- Remote selling provides a huge opportunity to increase the productivity of your sales reps and help your field sales reps to make the transition by providing the support they need.
- It has always been a difficult balance for reps to build pipeline and close deals; by focusing on new opportunities and lead nurturing you can feed them the qualified leads they need.
- Talk to Pace about how we can support your business development activity! While our primary sales tool will always be the phone, our outbound sales campaigns take a more nuanced omnichannel approach to build strong relationships and deliver qualified leads to our B2B customers.
Final Thoughts on How To Get Ahead in 2022
We expect to see even more innovation in the sales function in 2022. Will sales professionals become multi-faceted “journey orchestrators” as predicted by McKinsey & Co, or will they continue to focus on their specialism?
We firmly believe that traditional relationship-building skills will be more important than ever in 2022 and the winners will continue be those that generate the most opportunities! What do you think? We’d love to hear your views – by your preferred channel of choice!
At Pace, we understand that sales and communications are constantly evolving. Our expert business development services offer key strategies to help your business grow and get ahead in 2022 and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about how our talented sales team can help you.