Has new business prospecting changed for you due to the pandemic?
Held back by a lack of resources and staff, companies took longer to recover from the recession than in earlier downturns. This meant that it often wasn\’t until mid-2011 before reps were fully engaged again. But, as we move forward, will profitability be driven by sales teams that are able to hit the ground running? Or, will these companies be forced into more layoffs and shorten their sales cycles?
By 2021, new business prospecting will have evolved to be more time-efficient and target specific companies. Sales reps will no longer rely on a large sales force looking at thousands of prospects to identify the best opportunities. Instead, they\’ll use social networking platforms and analytics dashboards to quickly find prime targets for selling their products or services.
Being able to effectively navigate a company\’s website is no longer enough to open the door for potential sales opportunities. Prospecting has become more sophisticated and uses big data to pinpoint sales leads. The importance of new business prospecting will be driven by the need for faster sales cycles, improved customer retention, higher conversion rates, and the need to sell products or services that require longer sales cycles to close.
Not all industries have experienced the same level of growth; some haven\’t even recovered from the recession. When it comes to new business prospecting, the booming industries will be those where there is a strong correlation between the product or service and economic growth; specifically governments, education, healthcare and technology. It\’s also worth noting that some of these industries already have large sales forces, but as more businesses emerge and grow within them, they\’ll require more reps.
The healthcare and financial industries are expected to grow at a much faster rate than most other businesses, which will create more opportunities for salespeople. That being said, there may be fewer jobs, since the same work can be accomplished by fewer people with technology that automates tasks and collects information from data sources. This doesn\’t mean that there won\’t be a need for salespeople, because the demand is expected to grow as the economy improves.
Education follows a similar growth pattern with healthcare, but it won\’t experience as much of an increase in employment opportunities. However, there will still be jobs available due to the need for more specialized teachers and professors who cover technical subjects like cloud computing and cybersecurity.
As technology continues to advance, with more individuals using wireless devices and remote access to computers, cloud computing will be an even bigger need in the future. This will increase the demand for technical sales reps dedicated to selling these products and services that won\’t be offered by their non-technical counterparts.
An important observation not related directly to new business prospecting is that there will be more sales reps who focus on selling to large organizations. This will be driven by a need for companies to offer higher commissions and larger incentives for selling in-house solutions.
In addition to the boom and bust cycle, we\’ve come accustomed to in recent years, new business prospecting has been affected by the recession and recovery. Recessionary periods force sales reps to tighten their belt, cut expenses and conserve cash; while in recovery they\’re more willing to spend because business is improving and they have the resources to do it. Another factor that greatly affected new business prospecting was the reduction of costs for businesses through social media, which has caused many companies to adopt a \”do it yourself\” mentality.
With fewer commissions and less regulation from the government, businesses are realizing that they\’re better able to sell their products on their own. Companies have been relying more on in-house resources rather than sales reps for a few decades now. This has left millions of salespeople unemployed as corporations focus on generating leads and closing deals from other departments within the company.
These sales jobs are never really coming back, especially when there is a multitude of ways to reach customers without hiring additional salespeople. The boom in social media has made the DIY movement possible and businesses have responded very favorably to it. Prospects are willing to listen to companies speaking directly about their products, which creates an opportunity for companies to sell more directly.
During the recession, social media became a helpful tool for salespeople looking to prospect; however it didn\’t create new jobs because businesses were cutting their sales staff instead of creating them. During this time, there was definitely less emphasis on new business prospecting in general; but as market conditions improved, salespeople had to adjust their strategies since they weren\’t selling nearly as much on social media.
As the economy improves and businesses make more money, we\’ll see businesses hiring more sales reps to do new business prospecting, particularly those with specific expertise. But until that happens, companies will still be trying out DIY methods and looking for ways to improve their lead generation so they don\’t have to hire more sales reps.
As the economy improves, we\’ll see businesses hiring more B2B salespeople who specialize in lead generation and are experts at closing deals with large organizations. Businesses will also be retaining a higher percentage of their sales staff as opposed to recruiting new hires since there will be more demand for their goods and services. With less \”revolving door\” turnover in sales staff, businesses will have the opportunity to train new reps on lead generation; but they won\’t be able to hire them as fast as before since there are fewer salespeople available.
This will force companies to develop strategies to continue generating leads while retaining as many of their sales staff as possible. This will cause an increase in new business prospecting for companies because they won\’t be able to rely on the \”find a lead through social media\” strategy they\’ve been using successfully for years.
Many companies are already changing their processes, however, it\’s not necessarily because they don\’t have any leads or salespeople. Many companies are changing their processes due to uncertainty in the economy, and they\’re trying to extend their lead generation efforts as long as possible before they have to hire more sales reps or rely on in-house resources.
This uncertainty will probably last a few years until things stabilize again, and by then businesses will probably be looking into how to automate the sales cycle to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
In 2021, people will still be on social media and using DIY techniques for their new business prospecting efforts; but as the economy improves, companies will start hiring more salespeople who are experts in lead generation, because they\’ll need them to keep up with all of the demand they\’re experiencing.
At the same time, companies will be developing strategies to make their new business prospecting efforts more efficient; but they won\’t move away from social media entirely because it\’s too effective and easy for consumers to use.
Salespeople who have experience in lead generation can get the most out of social media by creating impressive content that is perceived as being valuable to customers.
New business prospecting is still changing, but there are more ways for businesses to take advantage of digital presence since each year brings new advancements in technology.