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Taking Sales into 2021

With this week’s news of an impending vaccine alongside encouraging, if muted, signs of economic recovery, how optimistic can we be looking forward to 2021?

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, welcomed today’s announcement of a 15.5 % bounce back in growth but reminded us that the recovery has been very uneven and there is a “huge” gap relative to activity this time last year¹.

With Brexit talks still on-going, a patchwork of lockdown measures strewn across the country and the full rollout of a vaccine still potentially months away, the uncertainty of 2020 looks like it still has a few punches to pack.

But what does all this uncertainty mean for sales?

For many of our clients, the immediate impact of Lockdown 1.0 led to a rapid tightening of belts, a realignment to a ‘virtual’ model and in some cases, business as usual. Except that nothing has been ‘usual’ in the ‘new normal’ of this pandemic year. From a sales perspective, the initial shock of moving online was quickly replaced by the realisation that our cherished sales relationships were still achievable on Zoom, Teams, Google, or whichever platform takes your fancy.

Beyond the horrors of early tech issues (connected to Ethernet, everyone?), sales conversations flowed, systems were adapted and, at varying speeds, product output and delivery has continued. Here at Intelligent Dialogue we’ve had to adapt our own face to face content at breakneck speed to recalibrate, deliver and enhance our training portfolio. Rave reviews so far suggest that we’re more than hitting the mark but the acceleration of new ways of working has also broadened our reach. Where one classroom door closed in March, many more opportunities for learning and developing our clients have emerged.

As we near the end of 2020, with all the uncertainties that remain ahead, how can Sales Leaders look beyond Lockdown 2.0 and not only strengthen their existing offer but forge new opportunities in a post COVID world? Andrew Bailey recognises that it’s difficult to predict to what extent there will be lasting changes to the structure of the economy but that it’s not unreasonable to think that the shorter the duration of the COVID period, the more subdued its impact will be. But vaccine or no vaccine, in his words, “It’s all pretty tentative, to be honest.”

So, as Sales Leaders, it’s up to us to dig in for the long term, to plan, adapt and identify not only the pitfalls yet to come but the opportunities hiding around the corner. And how we support and equip our sales teams as we navigate through this economic maelstrom together will strengthen our chances of sustained growth over the long term.

At Intelligent Dialogue we’ve been working closely with Sales Leaders for over 20 years to help open new doors and navigate tricky times. This year, of all years, we’ve enabled sales teams to plan, engage and thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace. Looking ahead to 2021, we can’t guarantee the structure of the economy, but we can help you roll with the punches.

For more information about how Intelligent Dialogue can support your Sales Teams, please visit:

¹Andrew Bailey talks to FT economics editor Chris Giles about his first eight months in the role