Interesting article by Hubspot about how the world has changed in sales and marketing, so let's dive in and see what Hubspot say.

Great introduction from hubspot

"It's not exactly mind-blowing to point out that the sales landscape has shifted radically in these past two or so years. A shift to remote interactions, the trend away from physical workspaces, and a host of other changes have left sales reps, managers, and leaders in a bind.

Even as we move toward some semblance of normalcy, sales — as a field — is still fundamentally different than it was just a few years ago. And that kind of adjustment comes with its share of challenges.

So in the interest of helping salespeople identify and meet those issues, we reached out to some sales experts and conducted some research to show you six of the main challenges facing salespeople in 2021 and offer some perspective on how to address them."

I have also added my commentary and my suggestions.

1. Trying to Build Trust Virtually

Hubspot say ...

"According to Hubspot Strategic Channel Account Manager Chris Moore, the trend away from in-person interactions that caught steam in the pandemic is bound to be a game-changer. Salespeople are going to need to adapt their strategies and learn how to establish credibility with a virtual barrier between them and their prospects."

I think that we all get this, but his recommendation is to use email and the telephone.  Really?  Even Jeb Blount, the famous cold caller recently said

"LinkedIn in particular, has become a crucial part of the modern B2B toolkit.  For the sales profession, LinkedIn is the most important technical advancement since the telephone"


If cold callers are saying this, we can see there has been a transformation.  My advice, if you want to build trust virtually, then you get onto social.  Let's develop this.

2. Getting in Front of Decision-Makers

Hubspot say ...

"HubSpot Sales Manager Jayme Manos raises a concern in a similar vein to the previous one. He suggests that our transition to a virtual sales landscape might mean trouble for salespeople looking to connect with decision-makers."

While Jayme says "I believe that non-personalized sales email blasts will become even less effective."  Come on, Jayme, they are totally useless.

A CEO of a large software company said to me today "salespeople need to be connected into their accounts through social media and having conversations, this is what sales is today".  He's totally right, sending on-personalised email blasts to senior people is like something out of the 1990s.

3. Realizing a Solid Product Alone Won't Close Deals

Hubspot say ...

"Manos also asserted that sales reps won't be able to rely primarily on how sound their product or service is to land deals. According to him, "The quality of the technology you're selling alone doesn't close big deals."

Bullseye!  The problem today is that every company, that's every company sells and markets the same.  "Buy my product because it's great" says everybody.

The world of sales and marketing has merged into a sea of blandness, where no product is differentiated and prospects and clients cannot tell the difference from one product to another.

The only unique selling point (USP) you have is your people and their experience.  The only sales and marketing strategy you can follow today is to disrupt that and empowered your people on social, to talk in their own authentic voice.

4. Adjusting to an uncertain, post-COVID world.

Hubspot say ...

"When we reached out to HubSpot Senior Growth Specialist Sarina Kowaguchi, she had this to say, "The transition to the new post-COVID world is a challenge I foresee being top of mind for many salespeople in 2021.

"A question many businesses may have surrounding the latter could be, 'Should we continue with our remote sales and marketing efforts or go back to in-person meetings? What about trade shows or conferences? Moving forward, which strategy may be more lucrative for us as a business?'

Question, questions, questions, I thought this article from Hubspot was about answers?  We will not go back to the way things were before, people need to stop wishing it and get a grip of the new way of working.  We are virtual and I would argue that we don't need trade shows and exhibitions, they should be thrown in the marketing dustbin with all of the other last century tactics.

Events and conferences just slow sales cycles down, Linkedin is there for you, all your prospects and customers are on it, why are you even reading this blog?  Go get them! 

5. Struggling With Productivity in the Face of Uncertainty

Hubspot say ...

"According to the report, "Sales organizations have been forced to operate remotely. Reps need to become more creative as buying habits have changed, managers are being asked to find new ways to improve seller productivity, and leaders are being asked to drive growth through uncertainty."

The answer is very simple, you need a new methodology that provides your sales reps with the routine and skills that allows them to engage with buyers virtually.  I would highly recommend that you look at this website for the answer to that. 

6. Moving Towards a Buyer-First Mentality

Hubspot say ...

"We're going to look at how buyers want to buy versus how we choose to sell to them. It's all about mindset and scrapping out or wiping the hard drive from that old mindset, especially in the way we're selling now in this market."

Totally agree, and here are three things you can do to work with this.

1. Buyer centric profile - Make sure your social media profiles are focused on the buyer and not you.  What is it that buyers are looking for?  It's certainly not a "killer sales person that has made quota the last 4 out of 5 years" in fact that will repulse them.

2. Digital territory - You need to move the whole of your territory from analogue to digital, connect to everybody you know.  Let's also not forget that every connection is a conversations and it's conversations that generate sales.

3. Content - We know that the modern buyer is on social media looking for insight and to be educated, your job in sales is to provide them with that insight.  Share your expertise, they will appreciate it. 

To finish with a quote from the Hubspot article

2021 is going to be a tricky year for salespeople. It's going to bring its share of troubles and hitches, but the issues to come are far from insurmountable. So long as sales reps and managers demonstrate persistence, adaptability, and a constant commitment to solving for the customer, they should be able to handle the challenges of the new sales landscape.

I totally agree, and the answer to your pipeline problems is out there.