Misinformation from sales teams has been killing deals, with 48% of buyers pointing to misleading information about a product and price being the biggest turn offs.
This is according to the fifth annual ‘State of Sales’ report for 2021 from LinkedIn, which explores how events of the past year are challenging the world of sales.
The study found that 44% of buyers were put off by sales people not understanding their company and its needs, while 43% said sales people lacked an adequate understanding their own product or service.
Jonathan Lister, VP of global sales solutions at LinkedIn, said: “While the 2020 data showed how sales professionals adapted to the new reality of 100% virtual sales due to COVID-19, the 2021 report highlights key trends that have only intensified in this new selling landscape.”
The report found that buyers like purchasing virtually, but sales teams are still adapting to remote work. Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they closed deals of $500K or more without ever meeting the buyer in-person.
Shaan Hathiramani, CEO, Flockjay, said: “The digital world is here to stay. The inefficiency of travel, of in-person business meetings, and of late-night dinner appointments will make face-to-face meetings less common and not necessary in many cases.
“Organisations will use more data, more video, and more telesales. I don’tt believe we will go back to the world that was.”
Yet challenges remain for sales teams: 65% of salespeople say that working remotely is more challenging than they anticipated, and 67% of sales managers say the same about overseeing a remote team.
A significant majority (86%) of sales managers agree that the capability to cope with change is more important than it was five years ago. In the previous edition of the State of Sales, just 70% of sales managers felt that coping with change was more important than five years ago.
Lister said: “Change is coming at sales professionals faster every day, and one change that is likely to stay with us is the rise of remote work, a situation that sales managers are finding difficult, with two-thirds of them saying that overseeing a remote sales team is more challenging than they anticipated.”
Data and sales tech are key to finding new opportunities in the face of change to build trust, according to Lister.
“The pandemic made face-to-face meetings virtually impossible, so it’s no surprise sales people turned to sales technology to fill this void,” he said.
Consequently, 77% of sales professionals say their sales organisation plans to invest “significantly more” or “more” in sales intelligence tools.
Gartner analyst Craig Rosenberg said: “Overall, virtual selling has driven rapid digital transformation in sales. Early adopters were ready technologically for the sudden move to virtual, and now laggards are investing in technology infrastructure to support their reps. The early days of the pandemic were really the ultimate test.”
LinkedIn’s report surveyed more than 400 buyers and 400 sellers, and analysed LinkedIn platform data and included interviews with dozens of sales leaders.