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Salesforce State of Sales 2020 – Key Trends and Takeaways

Salesforce’s fourth edition of the State of Sales Report is out now and it’s unlike any State of Sales report from prior years. This year’s survey of 6,000 professional sellers analyzed how the COVID-19 pandemic created seismic shifts for sellers, and how these conclusions may continue to develop in the years to come.

We’ve detailed 3 key takeaways from this year’s State of Sales Report that we anticipate will have a lasting impact on B2B buyers and sellers.

#1 – Relationship-Building Takes Center Stage

A new selling landscape has permanently shifted B2B buying to a virtual world, and B2B sellers are adjusting their priorities in response. Salesforce’s 2020 report reveals that in today’s world, understanding prospects’ pain, establishing trust, and building relationships are paramount to closing deals. According to the State of Sales Report, 86% of sales reps report the increased importance of long-term customer relationships, and over 80% report the increased importance of building trust before and after a sale.

It’s logical then that teams are placing added emphasis on capturing prospect information in their CRM. 63% of sales reps log more details about customer interactions than they did in 2019, and 67% report more strict enforcement of activity logging. They want the ability to leverage relevant data throughout the buying process in order to build trust.

Groove Infographic

#2 – High Performers Search for Deeper Insights

Simply tracking customer data isn’t the only determining factor for success, according to the Salesforce sales report. It also details how high-performing sales teams are more likely to track and leverage deeper customer insights, such as customer communication and purchase history (1.5x and 2.4x as likely), staffing changes (4.5x), and competitor activity (2.9x), than underperformers. The best reps aren’t just monitoring the news, they’re seeking out details that will help them understand their customers’ unique pain points.

This information allows sellers to meet buyers where they are, which is important in today’s landscape. In fact, 88% of sales reps report that current economic conditions have increased the importance of anticipating buyers’ needs. Professionals across industries have faced various levels of pain in 2020, and sellers who are conscious of a customer’s unique situation stand a much better chance of meeting their needs.

Groove Infographic

#3 – Top Reps Automate the Small Stuff

Who has time these days?! In 2018, duties like data entry and paperwork filled so many hours that reps only spent one-third of their time actually selling. This leaves little time to search for deep customer insights that could win a deal. According to this year’s report, 77% of reps say “having enough time” is a major or moderate challenge to seeking customer insights and over 40% say they spend too much time discovering a prospect’s needs and researching competitive activity.

The best teams and reps use automation to get this time back. Today, a majority of high-performing sales teams leverage automation tools to take manual tasks off of their sales reps’ plates so they can focus on high-value activities. High-performing teams automate the following tasks frequently:

Groove Infographic

As B2B sellers ourselves, these three trends dominated this year’s State of Sales Report and have major implications for the future of sales.

Within our own customer base, sales reps are saving hours every week and driving better outcomes by automating manual activities like activity logging, lead follow-up, and booking meetings. We recommend checking out the rest of the survey for more interesting sales insights. Head over to Salesforce’s website to download the full report.

If you’re interested in how sales automation can help you respond to these trends effectively, we invite you to check our Definitive Guide to Sales Engagement Platforms. If you’re currently exploring platforms, be sure to request a demo of the #1 Salesforce-native sales engagement platform.

G2 Fall 2021 Grid Report for Sales Engagement

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