LinkedIn launched the second edition of the ‘State of Sales’ India report to understand the potential impact of current economic challenges on the sales function in India. Based on the responses of 1000+ sales professionals, managers, and business decision-makers, findings reveal the enduring trends that have gained prominence amongst sales organizations.
The report highlights the growing reliance on sales technology, data usage, and building trusted relationships to help sales personnel and sales organizations to keep pace with the growing adoption of virtual selling.
The India edition of this report further highlights that while the coronavirus is driving some changes in the short term, many trends that were already in motion are gaining strength in the current environment:
- Long-term metrics are stepping to the forefront
- The data-driven sales org is on the rise
- Sales technology is transforming the sales organization
- Trust gets deals done
- Building a sales team with the right skills is a win
- Top-performing salespeople do things differently
- LinkedIn plays an expanded role for both buyers and sellers
“Today, more than ever, transformation is an inescapable reality in the sales organization. The fact that 3 in 4 sales professionals are placing their bets on the power of sales intelligence tools to close deals is a strong indicator of how technology is becoming an integral part of the sales workflow, and how virtual selling is key to the new sales process. This coupled with access to timely and relevant data will help sales practitioners with crucial insights that can help them achieve targeted outreach and greater agility in their selling process. Technology relies on data to function, and so the two must be considered hand-in-hand to make a powerful difference,” said Abhai Singh, Head, LinkedIn Sales Solutions for India.
Here are some of the key findings from the report
Long-term metrics are stepping to the forefront: Measurements of long-term value are gaining favor over traditional short-term metrics, such as quarterly quota. More than a third of India’s sales personnel chose customer satisfaction (42%), customer retention/attrition (40%), customer acquisition cost (37%), and conversion rate (36%), when asked to identify how sales reps should be measured. Sales leaders are prioritizing customer retention more than ever and quickly reorganizing their organizations so that their salespeople are in a position to help current customers.
The data-driven sales organization is on the rise: Sales organizations are charting a clear way forward by using data to identify and target the strongest industries, geographies, and accounts. Large percentages of salespeople say they are using data to prospect. 53% of sales professionals are using data to the prospect while 47% of respondents said they are evaluating patterns from closed-won businesses to apply these learnings to future deals. The report further highlights the importance of increasing data literacy amongst sales professionals to optimize their selling process.
Sales technology is transforming the sales organization: Sales technology is clearly a key force reshaping the sales profession, as stats from the report revealed that 74% of sales professionals in India described sales intelligence tools as extremely critical or critical in closing deals. Sharing this sentiment, 95% of the survey respondents believed that sales technology is “important” or “very important”.
Trust gets deals done: Through the course of this survey, when asked what qualities they value in a salesperson, buyers in India ranked “trustworthy” (50%) at the top followed by “problem solving” (41%) and “responsive” (40%). 96% also report that the salespeople they ultimately buy from are “trusted advisors”. Salespeople in India echoed a similar sentiment as 2 in 5 (40%) ranked trust as the most critical factor in closing deals. Further, survey findings also reveal that buyers “strongly agree” they’re more likely to consider a brand when a sales rep “Demonstrates a clear understanding of our business needs” followed by “ a clear understanding of my role in the decision-making process”.
Building the sales team of tomorrow: The increasing use of virtual selling is demanding new skills among salespeople. Sales leaders are now focused on building the sales teams of tomorrow by hiring professionals with skills that buyers want. In fact, sales organizations are charting a clear way forward by using data to analyze and improve performance-almost half of respondents (48%) said their companies are using data to assess the performance of salespeople. The report also cited ‘problem-solving', 'confidence', and 'relationship building' as the top 3 traits looked for by decision-makers and sales managers when hiring.