Sales methods and techniques have seen rapid changes in recent years, and much more acutely so in the last few months, suggesting that traditional sales methods are now largely outdated and ineffective, according to a report from cloud CRM vendor, Really Simple Systems, which details the findings of international research into the roles, practices and processes of sales professionals. This article is copyright 2020 The Best Customer Guide.

Among other findings, the report highlights a degree of evidence of the increased use of sophisticated technologies in sales, including the emergence of LinkedIn as a primary tool among today's sales professionals.

At the same time, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been demonstrated through the now-obvious dramatic increase in the use of video calling, not only in day-to-day corporate operations but also in the sales arena.

However, the report also highlighted concerns that high numbers of small businesses are still using traditional, manual methods to manage their sales and selling processes, as well as verifying that 'sales value' is seen as being the strongest determining factor in the sales process.

Worryingly for a professional that relies so completely on data, the report found that the use of cold sales approaches continues to be prevalent despite the introduction of data protection legislation that explicity forbids those techniques.

And when it comes to the way sales are conducted and communicated, an ongoing shift toward software-as-a-service (SaaS) environments has seen email and sales automation surge ahead of the traditional telephone call for sales efforts.

Really Simple Systems marketing manager, Helen Armour, commented: "Conducting this this sales research has been truly eye-opening. The sales sector has certainly seen some dramatic changes and although many are adapting well, it suggests more work is needed to prepare for an uncertain future."

The full Sales Professionals Research Report has been made available for free download here: