Not according to Gartner. If anything, the pandemic accelerated the transformation that was already taking place in organisations.
Sales were slowly adapting to digital trends before the crisis. What was once an approach adopted by leading edge and visionary organisations has now become mainstream for all.
My belief is that digital selling won't disappear but it will be different.
The challenges that organisations now face are about course correcting knee-jerk purchases from the last 12 months. Adhoc training and sporadic tool purchases have likely left sales teams overwhelmed and a little confused. Companies invested with short-term vision and the lack of results may now start to appear.
Behaviour change takes time to embed. Building knowledge, habits and awareness into a sales organisation is a long-term approach.
A structured program over a one-off LinkedIn training session.
Internal champion development over external training consultants.
As Gartner outlines in their latest report:
Sales leaders must implement immediate longer-term actions to develop and maintain a virtual selling strategy.
The key ways in which Gartner expects organisations to tackle this is via:
- Sales enablement technology
- Onboarding design & deployment
- Virtual selling skills
- Seller communications
- Sales events
With virtual selling “expected to continue being an important capability of sales organisations in a post-COVID-19 era”, says Doug Bushee, senior director analyst in the Gartner Sales practice, “sales enablement has a critical role to play in enabling sellers to prepare, plan and deliver engaging virtual sales interactions”. And to prepare sellers for a successful future of what Gartner refers to as digital-first selling behaviours, sales leaders “must implement immediate and longer-term actions to develop and maintain a virtual selling strategy”.