The changing landscape of sales

How we sell is something that is forever evolving and in recent years has changed massively with increased amounts of technology at our fingertips and the evolution of the internet.   With the retail sector in mind, brands who were a fixture on our high streets for many years such as HMV, BHS and Woolworths stores are all but gone, moving operations online with increasing demand for e-commerce stores like Amazon and ASOS.  We’ve seen an ongoing decline in consumer demand for a visit to a local store and businesses have had to adapt rapidly or face an uncertain future.

This has not been quite as prevalent in B2B sales with many still opting for face to face engagement, travelling regionally, nationally and internationally to meet in person believing this is absolutely the best way to develop real lasting relationships in business.

Now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic we are left wondering what the post-covid world will look like.  After making such drastic changes to the way we live, our homes becoming our office, keeping our distance from one another as an act of care and spending such a long period away from our family, friends, and colleagues.  Will things return to the way they were before?  Most likely not for a long time.

Businesses must look at how they will sell in this new landscape. Will it become a long-term strategy to utilise the video conferencing tools that have become part of our daily COVID lives, Teams, Zoom and Skype?  Personally, I have used these tools regularly prior to Covid-19, but never on such a scale as now, always opting for an in person meeting where possible as I’m sure will be the case for many people in a sales or business development role.

But going forward, once restrictions are lifted further, will our former way of operating be deemed irresponsible until we have better means of controlling the virus?  Will businesses discover employees are even more productive operating remotely and continue to reap the cost savings of working in this way? Also not forgetting the positive impact this has on our global footprint.

One thing I have found during this period is how much more time I have in my working day. No more long commutes to the office, sitting in traffic jams, spending 4 hours of my day driving from meeting to meeting.   Those of you who spend weeks and months of your year travelling from meeting to meeting, after having no choice but to change how you operate, I wonder when the time comes, do you even want to go back to that?

A lot is unknown right now and we have no concrete answers on the long-term effects this pandemic will have on how we operate in our personal and professional lives, but I’m confident that the landscape of sales has changed, maybe forever, and that we must continue to adapt and evolve in order to survive.