Unchartered territory and uncertainty—these are the top two themes shared in a new survey examining COVID-19’s significant economic and workforce impact on sales management practices and operations.
The newly released 2020 Sales Leadership Flash Survey, from revenue growth consultancy The Alexander Group, focuses on what sales leaders are doing during this time of market disruption in terms of growth forecasts, customer engagement, staffing levels, quotas and pay programs.
“We wanted to understand what actions revenue leaders are taking or considering. That is why we crafted the Sales Leadership Flash Survey: COVID-19 to take the pulse of what leaders are thinking and doing at this point in the crisis,” said Gary Tubridy, senior vice president of the Alexander Group, in a news release. “In a nutshell, we see many leaders ‘preparing for the worst but hoping for the best’”:
- 96 percent expect the COVID-19 crisis to have a negative impact on revenue, with the impact already being felt more acutely by small and medium businesses
- Social distancing selling is the new norm for the immediate future and is reflected in decisions about customer travel
- 66 percent have suspended all travel and 83 percent have suspended all trade shows
- In general, participants are retaining current headcount, while those anticipating the greatest revenue impact have already slowed or suspended hiring
- Quota and sales compensation adjustments are on the table with over 50 percent placing such changes under consideration
“Organizations are doing what they can to protect their sales teams. They recognize that when the crisis passes, they’ll need the sales organization to lead the charge of revenue growth. Yet, there are already changes that will last well into the future. For example, the shifts to social and virtual selling are accelerating trends that were underway,” continued Tubridy.
Commented one survey participant, “This is when tone counts. We need to protect our team AND take care of our customers. This is our rallying cry.”
Alexander Group’s Sales Leadership Flash Survey will continue in the coming weeks to gauge if and how decisions are changing over time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
From March 17-20, 255 respondents shared how they are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic with their sales organizations.