barrett-12-Sales-Trends-for-2021-The-Rebuild-product-image2020 has been one of the most trying year for many generations and we can’t wait for it to finish. We are over it and impatient for a sense of control, some degree of certainty, something more solid on which to build a better future as we look into the horizon to see what’s coming next, what the ‘new normal’ will look like, and when does this enticing new normal start. And here’s the thing, in a world where we don’t know what’s coming next, or when ‘next’ is coming, we have two choices: 1) we can sit and wait to see what will unfold or 2) we can choose to embrace this uncertainty and become pioneers and agents of change; we can choose to be part of the rebuild for a better future.

Taking heed from the lessons being learned during COVID-19, we are learning about the risks of offshoring production and supply in too few locations that threaten access to vital supplies and raw materials. The benefits of remote communication to stay in touch and keep working together. The effects of lock down on our collective mental health and why stable, calm, committed and leadership and having a Plan B or C is central to getting through the pandemic. The power of purpose and collaboration, and new opportunities emerging from the pandemic. And most of all we learning that the key workers in our communities are the supermarket workers (floor and warehouse), warehousing and distribution, IT teams, maintenance and cleaning teams, teachers, and of course, health care workers – the very people who hold the fabric of our communities together and keep everything up and running.

Enough has been written already about the need to ‘build back better’, to innovate and rethink how we do business, how we work, how we sell and buy, so for this edition of our annual sales trends report, the 2021 Sales Trends, we are focused on reporting on what businesses and people within businesses and sales teams need to start, stop, and keep doing to step up to the challenge of building a better future. Through all its devastation, 2020 gave us a gift, the chance to re-think, re-calibrate, re-connect, re-engage and rebuild. Change is afoot. Let’s make the most of it.

For immediate access to the full 2021 Sales Trends Report please download your copy here.

Sales trend 1 – Sales Systems and scenario planning to withstand shocks

The pandemic exposed serious gaps in many businesses and their sales operations. So, what can be done to be better prepared for future shocks? An adaptive sales system is key, and scenario planning once only in the realm of high-risk industries and projects will start becoming mainstream.

 Sales trend 2 – Our fragility has been exposed. Now what?

The fragility of our supply chain has been exposed this year. So where to from here? What do procurement teams need to consider in 2021 when rebuilding the buying process in a way that considers the risks of offshoring, the costs of onshoring, and other pieces of the procurement puzzle?

Sales trend 3 – Australian consumers are for Australia

Australian consumers have long shown a preference for purchasing Australian made products across a range of categories. 2020 has not only seen an expansion of that range but also a very active consumer looking for Australian made products. What does this mean for businesses with Australian made products or services, and for those whose goods come for overseas in 2021?

Sales trend 4 – Welcome to the age where less is more

For a moment it looked like all the progress that we had made towards sustainability in consumer behaviour had been lost. But, as 2020 would have it, there were more unexpected consequences to come. Like buying local and buying for good. Just selling stuff doesn’t cut it anymore in 2021. If you haven’t considered the social and environmental impact on what you’re marketing and selling, then you’re missing the next big consumer trend.

Sales trend 5 – Rebuilding leadership for a better normal

Leading in a time of chaos and uncertainty means that business and sales leaders have no choice but to continue to work through their options, and making critical decisions about the viability of their businesses, teams and markets. There are now many game changing opportunities emerging and key elements to manage that business and sales leaders would do well to take advantage of if they haven’t already.  2021 sees leaders needing to step their game up to another level.

Sales trend 6 – Hybrid Selling – rebuilding how we sell and buy

We reported back in June 2020 that it looked likely remote selling or virtual selling will become a standard operating procedure in the future and that it will be vital to upskill B2B field sales team to sell remotely. So will B2B teams go 100% digital? That’s unlikely, however, 2021 will see the convenience and economic value of selling remotely staying for the long term.

Sales trend 7 – The new versatility in learning

2020 fast-tracked and enforced changes in online learning like nothing before with many previously reluctant participants quickly adapting to this learning medium with great success. So what can we expect learning and development initiatives to look like in 2021 and beyond? And how can we all capitalise on remote learning and online learning to help salespeople and teams drive more and better sales?

Sales trend 8 – Tender and proposal management in the rebuild

Competitive tendering will remain central to public and larger corporate procurement processes because it still is the best way to demonstrate fairness of the sourcing activity. But, like any business process, tendering will continue to evolve, transforming and developing as a result of some key change drivers. So how will technology and humans interact when it comes to tenders and bid management in 2021?

Sales trend 9 – Conferences and events in 2021: rising from the ashes of 2020

In March 2020, within a matter of days, Coronavirus had crushed the conference and events industry and cancelled millions of dollars of services. So how is this industry rebuilding beyond the ordinary to keep events happening and everybody safe in 2021?

Sales trend 10 – The role of energy transition in the rebuild

We all need energy to run our businesses and stay connected. This trend explores the opportunities that will arise in 2021 in the areas of renewable energy, energy management, and peer-to-peer sharing of energy to literally keep the lights on and businesses operating. It highlights sales and business opportunities we can create in a clean energy world and the businesses efficiencies that benefit the bottom line and the environment.

Sales trend 11- Rebuilding our mental wellbeing in sales

2020 affected everyone’s mental health. This sales trend highlights that the mental health of our salespeople, sales leaders and teams is front and centre now. No longer ignored or brushed aside, mental health is on the 2021 agenda highlighting what businesses and leaders need to do support their sales teams and themselves to help rebuild everyone’s mental health so we can continue to sell better for all the right reasons.

Sales trend 12 – Resetting organisational culture

Changes in the world and the way we live affect organisational culture, and lots changed in 2020.  According to recent World Economic Forum discussions, Company Culture, will be the deciding factor in determining organisational success and economic sustainability in the digital age and beyond COVID. Any business that was directly impacted or was caught short in the frenzy of radical adaptation during this time will recognise that it takes more than money and technology to survive. So, in 2021 what do we need to take with us as we enter the rebuild of our teams and cultures?


For immediate access to the full 2021 Sales Trends Report please download your copy here.