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How Selling Has Changed Post-COVID, and How it Will Change Again Afterwards

Recently, Jim Benton joined us for Redpoint Office Hours to share insights from his vantage point as CEO of Chorus.ai on how sales has changed during the COVID era.

Jim shared many data points that opened up my eyes to some of the challenges and the opportunities before modern sales professionals. I took away three key ideas, though we covered much more in the session.

Natalie, Chorus' VP of Marketing, whispered in my ear before the session that I should ask Jim about Ted Lasso, the television series. Jim asked his management team to watch it both because it’s uproarious and we all benefit from a laugh, and also because Ted Lasso practices many great management techniques.

Jim started as CEO just as shelter-in-place started. Imagine running a company not having met most of the team. How do you create alignment? Coach Ted Lasso has the answers.

After a fun foray into management theory, Jim shared some data points from the 15 million calls Chorus analyzed in their public report on the state of conversation intelligence. Here are a few bullets - sellers invite senior decision- makers to sales meetings much more often in the post-COVID era than before. Inviting sales managers to those calls increases conversion rates by 34%. - sales processes require 4.1 meetings over video, compared to 2.8 before, about 50% more time. - storytelling has become more important in closing accounts. The top performing sales people tell 20% more stories. And 68% of the time, those stories include social proof to establish credibility.

Last, Jim shared with us a vision for the future of sales: hybrid selling. Sales meetings will be hybrid: two people in the room, and two people dialing in by video, for example.

Because of that pattern, sales professionals will default to presenting in Zoom to ensure they can handle the last minute comment that an attendee will be joining remotely. This is an advantage: sales team will capture data on every meeting, not just virtual ones. And the best sales managers use that data to coach.

Above all, I found myself admiring Jim’s exuberance and passion for the art of selling. “We get a front row seat to the world’s problems and we get to go solve them…We are saving careers by representing magical solutions.”

I’m grateful to Jim for sharing his data, management philosophy, and selling ethos. It was an inspiration.