80 percent of sales reps find them harder to connect with

CHICAGO, Jan. 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Showpadthe global leader in sales enablement technology, has released results from its Modern Salesperson Survey, which analyzed salespeople from US companies and found that 80% of salespeople feel that virtual meetings make it difficult to engage with buyers, and an average of 40 % believe this is costly they sell personally.

The increase in flexibility that hybrid work has offered since the pandemic is seen as a bonus for employees, with Showpad’s research showing that many job applicants would not consider a job if it didn’t offer a hybrid work option. But this benefit might be less of a “bonus” for sellers who rely on commissions. In fact, 57% of sales reps lose more than $1.2 million in commissions. While 10% say their sales have remained stable during the transition to hybrid work, only 9% say they have increased, showing that the move to hybrid is benefiting few in sales-based roles.

body language challenges
Forty-two percent of sellers say virtual meetings make it difficult for sellers to connect with buyers through a screen. According to the study, 65% of sellers say it’s harder to gauge whether a sales pitch or offer is resonating, or how successful the overall interaction was, because they can’t read the buyer’s body language. Virtual meetings also eliminate the ability for salespeople to participate in entertaining customers by inviting them to meals, drinks, or nice experiences (37%), and poor online connections can lead to embarrassment (37%).

Body language is crucial during the sales process because without it, sellers cannot tell if buyers understand what they are saying well enough (45%). The study also highlighted that 43% of salespeople are disadvantaged by their inability to use their own body language effectively as a salesperson. The data shows that 39% believe the lack of a physical connection — like being unable to shake hands — hurts the buyer-seller relationship. According to the survey, more than a third of salespeople (38%) wonder how well the meeting went if it was virtual.

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“As we navigate a hybrid work environment, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to our own and others’ body language,” said Adrianne Carter, body language expert with more than 11 years of experience. “While in-person interactions allow us to read body language more intuitively, it is still possible to read and send intentional cues virtually. It might take a little more effort, but the benefits of paying attention to body language in virtual meetings are worth it.”

Carter continued, “For example, when you meet in person, there are often a few minutes of casual conversation that help build rapport and create a connection before addressing the purpose of the meeting. However, virtual meetings tend to get straight into the actual business. To build that same sense of connection and rapport virtually, sellers should consider starting meetings with light, informal conversations — perhaps about something interesting in their background or the buyer’s background. This will help build a sense of camaraderie before getting down to business.”

Less organizational alignment
The survey also highlights other challenges companies face with hybrid working. 82% believe that non-constant office work impacts interactions between their department and other departments within the organization.

There are several key implications of organizational misalignment, with 50% of salespeople citing mixed messages reaching customers or prospects as the top issue. Other challenges include a lack of campaign alignment – ​​and therefore maximizing effectiveness (47%) – and not always having easy access to the latest marketing materials (39%). A lack of cross-departmental alignment also means salespeople don’t learn from their peers in other parts of the organization (28%) or understand how other departments work (31%).

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trust issues
While 94% of sellers agree that being able to act as a trusted advisor to customers, not just a salesperson, is important to winning their business, there are some obstacles. According to the survey, a lack of knowledge (40%) and a lack of education (29%) hinder salespeople’s ability to build trust with customers. These obstacles mean there are still many salespeople who are not adequately trained and resourced to sell effectively—especially in a virtual environment. According to the study, 36% of vendors report a lack of tools, while 36% believe their organizations lack best practices, impacting their ability to act as a trusted advisor to customers.

While hybrid work has its share of downsides, increased use of technology could help salespeople circumvent some of these problems and close more deals. Sellers believe video chat and screen sharing tools (42%) and meeting analytics (40%) will be instrumental in closing deals. According to the survey, more than a third of salespeople believe that augmented/virtual reality (36%), metaverse (33%) and scheduling software (37%) will be important technologies for salespeople. And 47% have used Metaverse, while 42% have used augmented/virtual reality in sales meetings in the past six months.

“In many industries, face-to-face communication with customers or prospects is still the key to growth and closing sales. But even in the most traditional companies, technology plays a huge role in engaging and informing buyers throughout the sales cycle,” said Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad. “Each company’s go-to-market strategy – and therefore the way customers buy from them – is unique, and companies must employ merchandising strategies that meet their specific business needs. This approach ensures sellers can act as trusted advisors throughout the sales process, meeting their buyers wherever they are and filling in information gaps accordingly. Flexibility is key for sellers to speak differently to customers and add value to every interaction.”

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To learn more about Showpad, visit: https://www.showpad.com/.

About the poll
The study included a sample of 514 vendors from the technology, manufacturing, and finance industries with annual sales ranging from $2 million to $1 billion. Job titles surveyed included practitioners, managers, directors, and executives in sales, marketing, and enablement teams.

About Showpad
Founded in 2011, Showpad is the world’s leading enablement operating system (eOS™) that aligns sales and marketing teams with impactful content and powerful training, enabling sellers to connect with the modern buyer and generate the insights that drive continuous improvement in conversion rates are required. Showpad’s engagement applications lay the foundation for effective buyer interactions, while the platform’s training and coaching tools help build informed, highly skilled, and trusted advisory teams. The data and insights generated encourage continuous learning and improvement, resulting in more valuable content, better-prepared sellers, better conversations, and faster conversions. The impact on the bottom line: Sellers close more deals faster with Showpad.

Working with companies of all sizes and maturity levels in more than 50 countries, Showpad supports the strategic alignment and efficiency of sales teams. From SMBs to enterprise brands like Dow, GE, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola EuroPacific Partners, Showpad is a proven revenue accelerator.

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and Ghent, Belgium, Showpad is supported by a global and diverse workforce. For more information visit showpad.com.

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