26th November 2021 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

As we tentatively emerge from the pandemic, the consensus is that selling has moved on significantly – and not just in the most immediately apparent ways like the switch to the hybrid selling world of virtual and in-person engagement and the accompanying transition from field sales to inside sales. Such changes will be persistent, despite some shortcomings (such as issues with understanding the nuances of body language and other cues during virtual calls and a lack of creative interaction while we work from home), not least because there are significant efficiency gains to be enjoyed – the ability to conduct meetings on six continents in a day and the substantial cost and environmental savings to be made by eliminating unnecessary business travel.

But there are deeper, more subtle changes growing out of the interplay of various trends in technology, demographics, education, and of course around wider societal concerns such as sustainability, the environment, and the search for purpose and well-being. It’s not just Covid, or indeed the technology revolution, shaping future trends.

Endemic problem

As strategy consultancy McKinsey says in a recent briefing note, “We can still dream about putting the COVID-19 genie back in the bottle, but the more likely reality is that the virus will become an endemic problem we just have to get used to. Climate change is similar in some ways: a difficulty we have to plan for, deal with, and overcome every day.”

Throw into this melting pot concerns around talent availability (amplified by the “Great Resignation” and demographic trends ageing the sales workforce), growing economic and geopolitical volatility, and supply-chain disruption, and it soon becomes clear that sales leaders have some serious thinking to do. Tomorrow’s focus is on growth, inclusion and sustainability, requiring new strategies and GTM models.

This special report looks at some of these issues through the eyes of various sales leadership and sales enablement experts, representing the different facets of the sales universe: academics, consultants, practitioners, professional organisations, and technologists. I am grateful to all of them for taking time to make a contribution, and hope that you find these thoughts useful as we start to look beyond the pandemic.