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How Does Company Size Affect the Ability to Adapt to New Market Conditions?

“Leading from the Front in Challenging Times” is the latest survey from the Sandler Research Center (SRC). It compiles and analysis data from a global collection of hundreds of sales leaders and managers. The data was collected during the fourth quarter of 2020. The complete report is available for review and download here.  

This post looks at the way several critical data points relating to adaptation and change management strategy in the post-pandemic era varied, depending on the size of the respondent’s organization.

For this analysis, company size was determined by the annual revenue of an organization as was reported by the survey participants. Here, four sizes of companies are compared:

  • those with annual revenue of less than 1 million dollars,
  • those with annual revenue of, between 1 and 10 million dollars,
  • those with annual revenue of between 10 and 500 million dollars,
  • and those with annual revenue greater than 500 million dollars.

Obviously, the pandemic has brought about great change in everyone’s lives. This change has been both personal and professional. The SRC survey asked whether an organization’s sales processes had undergone strategic change as a result of the transition to remote commercial trading. Overall, 71.4% of survey participants replied “Yes” to that question. But applying the lens of company size to those results showed that strategic sales process changes were more likely to happen at smaller and mid-sized organizations than at the very largest ones. This suggests that larger companies have been somewhat slower to adjust to the new selling realities of the current period. Moreover, many respondents were unable to reply either yes or no to this question, reflecting uncertainty about the effect of the transition that was most pronounced at the largest companies.

Strategic changes in the sales process were more likely to be reported at smaller and mid-sized organizations, a finding that suggests that larger companies have been somewhat slower to adjust to the new selling realities of the current period.

 

 

Bringing new salespeople with new skill sets into organizations, working remotely, and competing in an ecosystem that connects virtually means that selling for a living is going to be different going forward than it was before the pandemic. In this survey, the SRC asked participants if they had made or encountered any changes to the on-boarding process since the arrival of COVID-19. About three in five (62%) responded that the on-boarding process had changed. The smallest organizations were the least likely to implement such changes as indicated in the table below, while companies with annual revenues between $10 and $500 million dollars were the most likely to make onboarding changes.

 

 

When asked what percentage of their sales team showed the capabilities to succeed in the new reality, the responses diverged only slightly, with the largest organizations reporting a 4-8% lower response than those of smaller companies. In a telling result, most respondents said that only slightly more than half of their existing sales team showed the capability to succeed in a post-pandemic world.

 

 

Noting the shift toward a more digital, virtual sales space, the SRC asked sales managers and leaders if they had received any training on how to lead remotely.

More than half of all respondents reported getting zero training on leading a team remotely.

The smallest and largest organizations were slightly better off in this regard, with a higher percentage of respondents getting training; those working at companies with annual revenues between $1 and $500 million were less likely to have received training.

 

 

The survey also asked whether the respondents’ company was investing in their personal development. Smaller organizations, those with annual income of less than $10 million, were significantly more likely to respond positively to the question.

To learn how companies were facilitating the shift to a more digital, more virtual sales space, the survey queried managers and leaders to find out whether training had been conducted to equip their sales team to sell remotely. More than half of respondents said YES across all groups, with those in the largest organizations notably more likely to have provided this training.

The largest companies are more likely than other players to have conducted training designed to equip sales teams to sell remotely.

 

 

Finally, the survey asked about forecasting, querying respondents about the accuracy of their team‘s forecasting ability. Higher confidence in forecasting ability showed up in smaller organizations.

As organizations grow in size, the sales team’s ability to forecast accurately decreases.

 

Leading From the Front in Challenging Times provides valuable insights in reaction to the pandemic in the global sales space. You can download a complete copy of the report and dive into a deeper analysis for yourself, here.

 

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