The pandemic has led to significant changes in the business landscape, the long term need to digitally transform and embrace virtual selling has effectively had a rocket put under it, becoming a prerequisite to competitive advantage today.

Shifting and adapting to a digital buyer landscape is no longer optional, buyers today prefer digital interactions along the decision making process. Buyers also expect rapid responses, the ability to self-serve and that every digital touch point with your brand should be a positive experience (well that's the ideal scenario anyway!)

The key point raised in LinkedIn’s recent “State of Sales Report 2021” highlighted the big disconnect between sales reps and buyers, demonstrated by these research results:

  • 65% of sellers said they “always” put the buyer first
  • 23% of buyers agreed that they were put first

Clearly there is room for improvement! One thing is clear though, I bet both sales reps and buyers would agree unanimously that technology is the key driver in enabling and meeting buyer expectations. 

In terms of investing in technology, LinkedIn found that:

  • 77% of sales professionals said their sales organization plans to invest “significantly more” or “more” in sales intelligence tools

Why? Because sales technology "can help sales professionals build more trusted relationships and close business” 

Talking of relationships, sellers are also increasingly adopting Social Selling and in particular, increasing their use of LinkedIn.

Given the lack of face-to-face networking opportunities, sellers have turned to LinkedIn. Even if they haven't yet, they should - how else are they going to build their network, credibility and establish themselves as Subject Matter Experts?)

On this point, 

  • Nearly 74% of sellers say they committed to expanding their LinkedIn network in 2021.

Excellent quote from Sam McKenna on the value of social selling on LinkedIn: “Posting content to LinkedIn and engaging with others on LinkedIn is my primary source of demand generation. So many people see LinkedIn as a waste of time or see LinkedIn as not an opportunity to drive true business development when, in fact, it couldn’t be more the opposite. LinkedIn gives me an opportunity to share my subject matter expertise on a daily basis.” 

Clearly, the reality of the digital landscape means that there is a huge need to build strong digital relationships with prospects and customers, of which technology is the enabler. 

Given all of the above - can we afford not to be investing in technology and virtual selling methods?

I'd recommend checking out both Demand Gen Report's blog and also LinkedIn's State of Sales Report by Jonathan Lister for further insights.