B2B Sales Teams Have Proven Remarkably Adaptable, According to a Survey by Jiminny

In-between a pandemic and a potential recession, the job gets harder, but the silver lining is that most B2B salespeople feel more valued and are satisfied in their roles

The role of B2B sales professionals is harder post-pandemic, according to a survey commissioned by Jiminny, a leading provider of conversational intelligence, and conducted by the research firm Coleman Parkes.

About half (48%) of respondents said the role of B2B sales is harder compared to pre-pandemic times. This is largely a result of the sudden and rapid change to the sales environment as businesses transitioned to remote work, the survey found. The silver lining is that 77% of respondents say that sales teams are more valued because of the pandemic.

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The research team polled 300 B2B sales professionals, including 57% who said they hold sales leadership roles, across the U.S., U.K. and the Nordics in July and August of 2022. The findings were detailed in a newly published report titled, The Adaptability of B2B Sales Teams in Uncertain Times.

“Sales doesn’t like uncertainty and as a profession driven by numbers in black and white, sales leaders have spent decades wrestling with ways to avoid it,” says Jiminny Founder and CEO Tom Lavery. “As a community, B2B sales has conducted training, improved processes and implemented technologies all designed to facilitate sales motions and bring greater certainty to forecasts and revenue. Even so, uncertainty remains.”

Indeed, concerns of an economic recession are very real among the B2B sales professionals surveyed. Most respondents (65%) are concerned their country’s economy will dip into a recession. Interestingly, recession fear is 14% higher in the U.S. than in the U.K. – and nearly double that of respondents based in the Nordics. About seven in 10 respondents said the economy has become a more prevalent topic with customers.

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Other key findings from the survey include the following:

  • The top B2B sales challenges. A plurality of respondents said, “staying motivated” was their top challenge (39%), followed by “getting a response from prospects/customers” (36%) and “being happy in my job” (34%). The top challenge by just those respondents in sales leadership positions was “managing stress or my mental health” (36%).
  • Back to the sales office or not? Nearly seven in 10 sales professionals have been working in a remote environment over the last couple of years. A whopping 92% of respondents said their employers are attempting to bring the sales team back to the office at least part of the time. However, the majority (59%) indicated remote work is still currently commonplace.
  • Sales onboarding improved over the pandemic. Six in 10 respondents agreed their organization improved their onboarding process following the pandemic. The education activities employed vary but respondents said “business, market or product demonstrations” (17%), “instructor-led sessions” (14%) and self-paced sessions (13%) were the most useful.
  • Professional development in sales. Training on company products (45%), training on sales technology and tools (42%) and online sales training courses (39%) are the most common professional development activities offered to B2B sales teams. Nearly two in 5 provide or require self-coaching, peer-coaching, and leader-led coaching weekly.
  • Salespeople are largely satisfied in their roles. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said they are “somewhat satisfied” (24%) or “very satisfied” (48%) with their current role. This bucks an underlying theme behind the “great resignation”; however, 82% of respondents say their company is generally “supportive” of the sales team.

“We’ve all collectively found ourselves running from one unexpected global crisis to the next over the last few years,” added Lavery. “We live in uncertain times – somewhere between a global pandemic and a potential global recession – and this survey demonstrates that salespeople in the B2B market sector have proven to be remarkably adaptable.”

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