In a February 2020 Sales Management Association webinar presented by Scott Weinhold, EVP of Strategy and Innovation, we discussed the increased levels of stress that B2B salespeople were facing due to the fear and uncertainty caused by information overload and chaotic buying processes.
In fact, here’s a direct quote from Scott: “The buying process is very different today. It is chaotic. Gartner shared that the average size of a B2B buying group is 11 people. The average number of channels that each stakeholder engages with is 4.5. The amount of time spent with a salesperson throughout the process is 17%.
Your buyers are overwhelmed with the amount of quality but conflicting information out there. Salespeople need to help their customers find clarity, but they are struggling with the same amount of inputs which is leading to fear, uncertainty and stress in our reps.”
And boy, if we thought salespeople were stressed before, COVID-19 said “hold my beer!” Those dynamics have suddenly multiplied by orders of magnitude.
Increased and Different but Not New Chaos
The point here is that fear, uncertainty and stress in the sales process isn’t new. Disruption isn’t new—in fact it’s a constant in the modern buying experience. But, this extreme level of both personal and economic chaos hasn’t been seen in most anyone’s working lifetime.
The initial panic button reaction from vendors and associations is “go virtual”. “Let us help your organization transition to virtual learning.” Don’t get us wrong, we think that’s great that everyone is trying to help in any way they can. But, here’s the problem: If your training wasn’t cutting it before, it certainly isn’t now. Moving it virtual isn’t going to help that. And we know that despite heavy investments, the ROI on training is among the worst in sales. In fact, prior to our current state, three-fourth’s of every dollar invested in methodology training is not returning the revenue expected. What do you think the ROI is now?