The importance of sales development designed for the 2020s

The importance of sales development designed for the 2020s

The UK business base has had to weather seismic change over the last year. 

From the adjustments needed in a post-Brexit world to the impact of a global pandemic, it’s hardly surprising that purse strings are gripped that bit tighter, and competition for jobs has intensified.

But there’s a lot of positivity about, with vaccine developments, and the end of Brexit uncertainty around the corner, the hope of a more certain climate springs eternal.

One thing is certain, to prosper in our brave new world, recruitment companies need to prepare. Those who will win are those that can hit the ground running and take advantage of a more stable business environment when it arrives. And if we could pick one area to really focus on, it would be honing your sales development skills.

The evolving role of sales development

Roll back the clock to 2010 – is it just me or does this sound like a century ago? – and you might be surprised at the approach to sales development. Then it was about a focus on hitting numbers. Technology was starting to make an impact with CRM systems exploding. KPI was the three-letter acronym of the time, and these were structured around the sales team covering maximum ground, believing that the more people they spoke to, the higher the likelihood of a sale. They spent a good deal of time compiling reports on how they were doing against the KPIs too.

Back to the twenties….

And things have moved on. Yes, measurements remain important, but the thinking on where the focus should be has shifted. Relationship building has led to a different way of connection. Instead of reaching out to every person and their dog, we spend time building real, human relationships with those we value as true potential partners. One-way presentations have given way to multi-way conversations. Soft sales skills, such as active listening play a more important role. And technology has become even more important but is now used to personalise engagement with clients rather than just record activity. KPIs have evolved, so that today’s sales managers can measure key data and use it, to build strategies that can be continuously improved upon. Forward-thinking organisations invest in sales enablement that relieves their people of hours of repetitive tasks.  

Why are these skills so important?

New clients are probably going to be harder to secure for the foreseeable future. Developing your existing client base is going to be an easier win – after all, you already have a relationship with them. And when you do go after new business, you may find you are fighting off more competition than usual.

This type of sales development is what will stand us in good stead in the coming months. Research reported by HubSpot last year showed that 60% of prospects want to connect with sales during the consideration stage, after they’ve researched the options and come up with a shortlist.

A company mindset that revolves around growth and partnership, alongside motivation for their teams is what is needed. And those who show they are empathetic, take time to understand the customer’s needs and find solutions to problems are sure to be the winners of the next decade.

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