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The Evolution of Sales Approach in the New Scenario

In a world that is increasingly digital, we witness an evolution in sales approach. What does this imply to organizations?

In recent years, we have seen a further evolution of the world where we live in that is increasingly uncertain and difficult to read. The socio-economic crisis, the continuous technological evolution, and COVID-19 have had an impact on organizations and professionals, redefining the methods of interaction, ways of working, and skills necessary to act successfully in the new business context.

The sales world, in particular, is experiencing a strong transformation both for the new ways of interacting with customers, through multiple digital channels and for an evolution of the purchasing approach from “seller centric” to “buyer-centric”. This evolution is surely changing the roles of sales.

The customer is leading the sales process

Customers are increasingly informed as they do online research before buying, having access to multiple sources of information—social selling is becoming an integral part of the sales process as online shoppers rely heavily on customer referrals. Therefore, the role of sales is becoming less central at the beginning of the sales cycle and more central in the closing phases of the sale. The impact of a salesperson is particularly high in seeking and forging relationships with decision-makers, in explaining the value, and in guiding the client to close the sales.

Due to the economic crisis, climate changes, and many other factors, consumer behavior also becomes less predictable and sales forecasts are less stable and long-term. It is, therefore, necessary to think about data in real-time to be able to adapt plans in a fickle world. For example, in the clothing retail market, economic uncertainty makes it difficult to make clear sales forecasts. Climate instability impacts on seasonal trends and makes it difficult to select the right products and articles to showcase and sell in-store and through e-commerce. Collections are seasonless so clothes can last more than a season.

Social selling is becoming an integral part of the sales process as online shoppers rely heavily on customer referrals.

Even in the talent acquisition and management areas, it becomes more important to guarantee a good customer experience to the (sales) candidates through different channels—so much that all digital interactions can be considered a customer journey. Just think of the ever-increasing importance of the candidate experience as a customer experience.

Clients are asking for simplicity and synergy

Since the process of purchasing goods and services has moved online, it is necessary to work on consumer engagement strategies through data management, and the homogenization of experiences through different channels, which are increasingly tailor-made and need to be simple to make it easier for the customers. For example, in the insurance world customers can use different channels, both digital and in the agency, for different products. Therefore, it is important to ensure alignment between the different moments of purchase and to make the process clear and simple.

What are the implications for organizations?

Consumer data becomes increasingly relevant in the sales process. Sales need to collect data from different sources (on the field or through digital channels) and integrate them to have a better understanding of the market and identify the best approach and course of action.

In addition, customers increasingly expect to interact with a unique organization, despite the sales channel they approach—customers expect to find a close connection between functions and channels in terms of products and services. It is therefore essential to work in close synergy so that different channels and products are presented in an aligned and synergistic way.

So, how can you ensure your salesforce is ready to effectively face the new challenges?

All you need is forward-looking data to understand who has the potential to succeed in the new world of sales and who is likely to struggle and has room for improvement.

Using the right tools, such as SHL’s Sales Transformation solution, can help you in:

- Anticipating performance issues

- Workforce planning, either identifying people who are in their optimal roles or acquiring scarce skills on the market

- Providing personalized enablement and targeted development

The changes that we have seen in the past few years impacted many aspects of business, including the sales landscape. Customers are increasingly more tech-savvy and have more access to information, and they also demand simplicity and synergy in the purchase process. Aligning your current and future workforce to the new sales requirements will help you ensure success in your performance.

Build a successful sales team with our sales transformation solution. Contact us to learn more!

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Maria De Iulis

Maria De Iulis, has been working in organizational consulting for more than 25 years. As a Senior Consultant, she currently works on talent audit, talent management, succession planning, and employee development projects, all aimed at generating value and business impact for companies through the alignment of organizational strategies with people performance.

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