ValueSelling Associates and Training Industry study shows soft skills – active listening, empathy, and presentation skills — differentiate companies that grew from those that didn’t in 2020
RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif., Feb. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to research findings released today by ValueSelling Associates , Inc., 87% of high-growth companies take a value-based approach to sales compared to 45% of negative-growth companies. What top-performing salespeople do differently is focus on helping prospects understand the value gained from the product or service through each customer interaction.
New research findings also show that soft skills matter. They are especially crucial when salespeople and their customers encounter market uncertainty and rapidly shifting business needs, as we saw in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty. The soft skills that top sales performers are better at include:
- active listening
- verbal and presentation skills
- empathy and building rapport
- teamwork and collaboration
- written communication, and
- social and emotional intelligence.
“We’ve all had to change in response to 2020’s unexpected events. The sales teams that adapted to change enabled companies to excel despite the challenges they faced, while other companies reported low or negative growth,” said Julie Thomas, CEO and President of ValueSelling Associates. “As you plan for 2021, keep in mind that a virtual selling and buying process is here to stay. Sales organizations need to be agile and flexible in using new techniques and tactics that align with evolving buyer preferences.”
ValueSelling Associates, Inc. and Training Industry, Inc. surveyed online 256 U.S. sales leaders and learning and development decision-makers about the approach their companies are taking toward sales skills and managing change through a global crisis.
Two distinct groups of companies emerged from the study — high revenue growth companies and negative revenue growth companies. High-growth companies’ leaders said 2020 was a banner year of growth, while negative-growth companies’ leaders said 2020 was the worst of the last five years.
Key study findings include:
- Essential sales skills to respond to crisis. Regardless of an organization’s selling approach, sales professionals need relevant and up-to-date skills in order to succeed, particularly in a volatile and uncertain economy. Survey respondents say companies focused on sales skills related to:
- 54% closing deals
- 51% moving deals forward
- 51% positivity
- 47% understanding the client’s business
- 47% matching the company’s solutions to the client’s challenges
- Salespeople’s skills need to shift to meet today’s needs. High-growth companies focus more on unique skills. Interestingly, almost half (47%) of high-growth companies focus on upskilling their salespeople in presenting in virtual settings , while only 13% of negative-growth companies do. High-growth companies are also more focused on:
- Prospecting – 64% of high-growth companies versus 38% of negative-growth companies
- Negotiating – 57% of high-growth companies versus 35% of negative-growth companies
- Differentiating from the competition – 51% of high-growth companies versus 25% of negative-growth companies
- Empathy – 49% of high-growth companies versus 35% of negative-growth companies
- Sales training plays a significant role in a company’s ability to manage and adapt to change. When asked how much sales training offerings positively contribute to a range of outcomes, the discrepancies between respondents from high-growth companies and negative-growth companies is stark.
- Sales results – 57% for high-growth versus 35% for negative-growth
- Agility of the enterprise – 55% for high-growth vs. 5% for negative-growth
- Employee satisfaction – 53% for high-growth vs. 15% for negative-growth
- Employee motivation – 49% for high-growth vs. 13% for negative-growth
- Company culture – 45% for high-growth vs. 8% for negative-growth
- Employee retention – 36% for high-growth vs. 13% for negative-growth
- Pivoting sales training in response to change leads to increased revenue. High-growth companies made changes to their sales training that buoyed them through rough waters. The following changes distinguishes high-growth from negative-growth companies:
- Changed their business model – 53% for high-growth vs. 18% for negative-growth
- Adjusted sales expectations – 26% for high-growth vs. 13% for negative-growth
- Kept a mindset that sees change as temporary – 38% for high-growth vs. 20% for negative-growth
- Multiple levers need to be pulled to propel sales growth. There is no “magic bullet,” rather a constellation of factors that drive sales growth. High-growth companies told us they were “extremely confident” that:
- They have the right tools – 55% vs. 13% for negative-growth companies
- They have the right supportive technology in place – 49% vs. 5% for negative-growth companies
- They have the right sales managers in place – 49% vs. 15% for negative-growth companies
- They have the right salespeople in place – 43% vs. 13% for negative-growth companies
- Their salesforce has the right competencies – 45% vs. 8% for negative-growth companies
- They are doing a good job preparing for uncertainty of economic recovery – 43% vs. 18% for negative-growth companies
For more detail on the survey results, download the ValueSelling Associates e-book , “ How High-growth Sales Organizations Respond to Crisis .”
About Training Industry, Inc.
Training Industry, Inc. spotlights the latest news, articles, case studies and best practices within the training industry. Training Industry, Inc. research captures the collective wisdom of learning professionals, revealing fresh data on trends and practices in the evolving training market.
For additional information on Training Industry, Inc. visit www.trainingindustry.com .
About ValueSelling Associates, Inc.
ValueSelling Associates is the creator of the ValueSelling Framework ® , the practical and proven sales methodology preferred by sales executives around the globe. Since 1991, ValueSelling Associates has helped thousands of sales professionals increase their sales productivity and realize immediate revenue growth. We offer customized training to FORTUNE 1000, mid-sized and start-up companies to keep it simple and drive sales results. www.valueselling.com
Connect with ValueSelling Associates:
Doyle Strategic Communications
A PDF accompanying this announcement is available at: http://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/15b0f5b3-f2f2-4613-92a0-1ed71e4a33b2