The LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2020
September 11 2020: The India edition of the State of Sales report just released, is part of LinkedIn's global State of Sales project, which includes nine other national reports: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.
For each country, LinkedIn surveyed 500 buyers, and 500 salespeople and sales managers. For the entire State of Sales project, we surveyed more than 10,000 people globally. For the India 2020 survey, Market Cube, a research panel company, conducted two online surveys in November and December 2019. Two sample groups were surveyed: sales professionals and decision makers. The first was a sample of 508 salespeople and managers from India who primarily work in B2B sales. The second was a sample of 500 business decision makers from India who have influence over purchasing decisions at B2B companies. We bring you excerpts:
In sales right now, the only constant is change. The coronavirus has changed certain aspects of how selling happens in India. For one, it elevates the importance of virtual selling. Many sales leaders in India quickly became curious about the potential impact of coronavirus. One stat that proves their interest in this topic: Between February and March, their engagement with coronavirus-oriented content on LinkedIn more than tripled (3.5X). At the same time, we are seeing more time spent on LinkedIn Learning courses about “inside sales,” “social selling,” and “Sales Navigator” as professionals work to position themselves for this new world of sales. Hand in hand with these immediate impacts, enduring trends also accelerated, like the growing reliance on sales technology, data usage and building trusted relationships.
While the coronavirus is driving some changes in the short term, many trends that were already in motion are gaining strength in the current environment.
Some of the emerging trends driven by coronavirus impact: According to McKinsey & Company:
- APAC B2B decision makers show 2X more preference for digital interactions over traditional sales interactions.
- 96%of B2B companies have shifted to remote selling during the coronavirus.
- 83% of B2B companies expect to maintain their sales model changes.
Key Enduring Trends Long-term metrics are stepping to the forefront. Understanding data and analytics is an increasingly important tool for survival, and sales organisations are embracing long-term metrics of sales success, such as customer satisfaction.
The data-driven sales org is on the rise. Sales organisations are putting data to work before the sale. Data is increasingly crucial for sales orgs, and sales executives must take greater control of how their sales organisations use it.
Sales technology is transforming the sales organisation. When face-to-face meetings are limited, sales technology has increasingly moved to the forefront of how sales professionals strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.|
Trust gets deals done. Our survey data indicates that buyers want trust in the sales process—and they are finding it. For sales professionals, achieving trust with buyers is often the first step to getting deals done.
Building a sales team with the right skills is a win. Buyers and sales managers are largely in alignment on the key traits/skills in salespeople. That paves the way for smoother, more effective interactions between buyers and sellers.
Top-performing salespeople do things differently.
LinkedIn plays an expanded role for both buyers and sellers. The survey results show that both buyers and sellers are increasingly relying on LinkedIn in their day-to-day jobs.
The Survey Said:
The survey data indicates that measurements of long-term value are gaining favour over traditional short-term metrics, such as quarterly quota. When asked to identify how sales reps should be measured, four metrics were selected by more than a third of respondents in India. The top two metrics looked past the quarterly horizon.
42% selected customer satisfaction, the most popular metric according to the survey. Another 40% selected customer retention/attrition. Rounding out the top four metrics are customer acquisition cost (37%) and conversion rate (36%).
The emphasis on long-term metrics indicates an incredibly sophisticated view of sales success in India, which is supported by the traits sales managers emphasise when hiring. Sales leaders are prioritising customer retention more than ever and quickly reorganising their organisations so that their salespeople are in position to help current customers.
The Rise of data-driven sales org
The Survey Said: Like virtually every other sector of business, sales organisations in India are embracing data. This increased use of data affects everything from how territories are assigned to how salespeople prospect for clients to how sales organisations measure success. In this period of uncertainty, sales organisations are charting a clear path forward by using data to identify and target the strongest industries, geographies, and accounts
Sales organisations are putting data to work before the sale.
Large percentages of salespeople say they are using data to prospect: 53% say they are using data to select accounts to target, and 48% are using data to select industries to target. Additionally, salespeople see LinkedIn, in particular, as delivering unique data to help inform sales strategy. 61% of sales professionals in India said LinkedIn provided unique data.
The Survey Said: With face-to-face meetings limited, sales technology will only become more crucial to the sales process. Sales technology is clearly a key force reshaping the sales profession
Sales technology is an essential part of the workflow for most salespeople. More than one-third (39%) indicate they use sales tech once a day, while an additional 39% say they use it once a week or more. 64% of respondents say they plan to spend more time using sales technology in 2020|
The Takeaway: Sales technology is an arms race, but it’s not just about purchasing technology: It’s about integrating the tools effectively into the selling process. Companies want these solutions to boost the efficiency of their teams and enable their salespeople to spend more time selling—currently only at 29%—and less time on repetitive and administrative tasks.
Trust is important
The Survey Said: Edelman’s Trust Barometer shows a clear lack of trust in institutions with the majority of respondents seeing corporations, the media, and government as unethical. Only non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the Red Cross, Greenpeace, Oxfam, and other charitable organisations were the exception. In times of uncertainty, trust becomes more important. Not surprisingly, as organisational trust erodes, buyers seem to crave it even more. When asked what qualities they value in a salesperson, buyers in India ranked “trustworthy” (50%) at the top, followed by “problem solving” (41%) and “responsive” (40%)