Despite the impact of COVID-19, 88% of revenue leaders expect 2021 to be a year of growth, Collective[i] poll reveals.

Press Release

At a recent private briefing for B2B revenue operations and management executives, Collective[i]®, a recognized leader in AI-enabled digital sales transformation, polled attendees on whether or not they expect 2021 to be a year of growth. A resounding 88% of poll respondents indicated "yes," demonstrating their optimism as we move into the new year.

The briefing featured Harvard Business School Lecturer, Stage 2 Capital Managing Director, and former HubSpot CRO, Mark Roberge, and covered his predictions and prescriptions for 2021. Attendees included over 80 of the world's leading B2B executives in revenue, operations, and enablement functions.

The discussion highlighted that the unprecedented changes brought due to a global pandemic have accelerated technology adoption and digital transformation at an unprecedented rate. The impact on B2B sales was profound. As context for his recommendations, Mark noted that "in some parts of the economy we're seeing one of the biggest runs ever," while in other areas, "we have almost a depression." Below are Mark's recommendations on how revenue leaders should plan for success in 2021.

Given the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, buyers are looking for expert opinions and thought leadership now more than ever. Mark urged sales leaders to fill that role. "The best sales people that survive all this are true consultants. You know you're a good salesperson if your buyers are calling you up and saying, 'I need your perspective on something.'"

Social selling and network building has become instrumental to develop trust and relationships in the absence of face-to-face meetings. Mark encouraged leaders to teach their teams "how to work a digital conversation the same way that you teach them how to work a trade floor."

When it comes to driving digital transformation and adopting new technologies, Mark suggested starting small. "Don't try to boil the ocean," he said. Instead, he advised finding several early adopters and innovators who can act as your "SWAT team" and serve as your example of success when you bring the technology to the entire organization.

Agility has always been an essential skill in sales, but COVID-19 highlighted the need to pivot messaging and ensure outreach is relevant to buyers' current needs. According to Mark, "If you're using messaging that has anything to do with what you were doing last January, it's not optimized. As humans, it's hard to unwind all that hard work we did for many years to figure out the optimal messaging, and to throw it out, but that's the opportunity we have."

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