A new study from sales engagement and intelligence platform firm Outreach uncovers what it takes to be successful in UK-based B2B sales in 2022. Based on the survey of 110 UK sales directors and above, the B2B Leaders Usher in a New Era of Sales study, with Forrester Consulting, shows that diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI); adaptability; tech literacy and forecast accuracy are all critical for predictable business success in 2022 and beyond.
Without purpose and a diverse team, businesses are doomed to struggle
The survey reveals that brand purpose plays a critical part in buyer decision making. Two-thirds of respondents reported that buyers are asking them about their stance on social justice. This requires companies to create valuable products and services; take a position on social issues; clearly communicate their values to their prospects and customers; and hire and retain talent that reflects the world around them.
“We’ve always known our success is dependent on building teams that include people from different backgrounds and experiences who can challenge each other’s assumptions with fresh perspectives,” said Manny Medina, CEO and co-founder at Outreach, in a news release. “It’s heartening to see the survey results show that the industry is at an inflection point when it comes to leading a business with a purpose. Businesses that want to embark on a purpose-driven journey must ensure that purpose is rooted in action, which requires communicating openly about results as well as societal commitments. Increased transparency makes for healthier, more trustworthy relationships—all of which helps salespeople build deeper connections with prospects and customers.”
The new salesperson: a highly adaptable, tech-savvy individual
The shift to hybrid working has resulted in an explosion of tools used by sales teams. Half of UK sales teams now rely on virtual meeting platforms, CRM, sales engagement platforms and revenue intelligence solutions alongside a plethora of other, more specialized tools. This enables salespeople to take a data-driven approach to their day-to-day operations.
As a result of this move towards data-driven, hybrid sales, the ideal salesperson’s skills must evolve. According to almost nine in 10 sales leaders, efficient salespeople need to be able to engage across a range of channels, collaborate with large sell-side and buy-side teams, and analyze data and transform it into insights. Innovative sales technologies enable salespeople to operate more efficiently, get recommendations on next step actions and real-time accurate answers to their prospect and customer questions during remote meetings.
“The shift to hybrid work has provided the B2B sales industry with the jolt needed to accelerate its digital transformation. In our volatile and hyper-hybrid world sellers must be adaptable, empathetic, and tech-savvy,” said Mary Shea, chief evangelist at Outreach, in the release.
The new sales leader: a data-driven approach to forecasting for business predictability
Sales leaders also need to evolve their skills. According to over half the survey respondents, effective sales managers need strong forecasting skills and the ability to use analytics to make real-time course corrections. This is critical in order to navigate through uncertain economic times and to keep pace with rapidly evolving buyer preferences and behaviors.
Despite this, 82 percent of respondents admit that their forecasting method doesn’t rely on a well-defined, scientific methodology. The inability to forecast accurately and efficiently leaves chief revenue officers guessing—something they cannot afford in 2022 and beyond.
“Today’s chief revenue officer needs to have access to qualified data to make informed decisions about their pipeline, priorities and personnel,” said Anna Baird, chief revenue officer at Outreach, in the release. “These decisions will impact the entire business, which is why having access to the right tools and making sense of all the data is absolutely critical.”
Methodology: The ‘B2B sales leaders usher in a new era of sales’ survey is based on a commissioned Forrester Consulting survey of 110 directors, VPs and C-suite leaders with a sales responsibility in the UK, working for companies of 500 employees or more. The survey was conducted on behalf of Outreach in August 2021.