Salespeople in South Africa have dealt with unprecedented disruptions, new ways of working, changing customer expectations, and more. But in a landscape shrouded by uncertainty and doubt, they’ve persevered through it all.

By Robin Fisher, senior area vice-president of Salesforce Emerging Markets

A recent survey of 3 151 sales professionals in the EMEA, shows that sales reps in South Africa have been especially proactive when it comes to tackling new challenges with bold solutions.

According to the 4th edition of the State of Sales, EMEA Mini report:

* 85% of salespeople in South Africa say that they’ve accelerated their digital transformation since 2019, compared to 79% of salespeople across EMEA.

* 89% of salespeople in South Africa state that the role of sales ops is becoming more strategic, versus 83% in EMEA at large.

* 84% of salespeople in South Africa say that their success metrics have changed due to current economic trends, while 79% of salespeople in the EMEA say the same thing.

* 82% of salespeople in South Africa say that they have new responsibilities at work due to current economic trends, as opposed to 73% in the whole EMEA.

It’s evident from these numbers that salespeople in South Africa are near the forefront of transformation. But as they evolve, where are they headed? Let’s take a look at our report to find out what’s driving sales in South Africa.

Increased flexibility with customers

So far, the New Normal has seen a constant shift in customer behaviour and expectations. And it’s no secret that the businesses adapting to these shifts have positioned themselves to succeed.

Agility and flexibility are increasingly important, as today’s customers expect salespeople to be able to meet them whenever and wherever they please.

The global shift towards remote working (74% of EMEA leaders are retraining reps to sell from home) and 24/7 service has empowered some organisations to better connect with their customers, while others are struggling with the transition.

Improved data quality and accessibility

Data is the new gold, and not only are companies focusing on harvesting high-quality data, but they’re also focussing on discovering the best ways to use it.

Data is meaningless if companies can’t connect relevant data sources to find the signal in the noise.

Simplified sales processes

Complex sales processes can eat up valuable time, so it’s little wonder that simplifying and automating these processes is becoming a priority.

Businesses are turning to AI technologies to do some of the heavy lifting or low-code platforms to create mobile sales apps for their on-the-go employees.

Personalised outreach
The ‘next-normal consumer’ expects hyper-personalised communications, empathetic messaging, and salespeople who function as advisors.

The use of AI for segmenting customers and personalising communications is on the rise across the whole of EMEA, especially amongst top performers.

According to the report, 68% of high-performing sales organisations in EMEA use AI to log sales data and customer notes, thus freeing their reps to establish more meaningful and personal relationships with their clients.

Improved cross-functional partnerships

One of the key trends in the current climate is the reskilling and upskilling of the workforce. The Salesforce report shows that 59% of EMEA organisations are reskilling employees to perform different functions.

It’s critical to keep workforces connected across functions and departments. This is one of the reasons why more businesses are choosing cloud-based CRM platforms.

Salespeople in South Africa are confident and ready for anything

The report reflects a sales landscape that’s continually shifting to adapt to new standards. Staying agile and creating an innovative mindset are crucial for thriving in the current sales landscape, and salespeople are at the head of the pack.

Not only are salespeople using new strategies and technologies – they’re finding success with them.

With this confidence, a new arsenal of digital technologies, and an agile workforce, salespeople in South Africa are ready for anything.