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COVID-19 and its surprising impact on 6 sales sectors

COVID-19 for the most part has been a burden on businesses. But it has also been a boon for others. Which businesses are benefitting the most and why?

72% of sales reps say success metrics have changed, and 58% of them expect their roles to change permanently Property buyers buoyed by real estate developers eyeing a reduction in unit prices and considering mergers Only 20–30% of B2B buyers want to ever interact with reps in person

COVID-19 for the most part has been a burden on businesses. But it has also been a boon for others.

It’s a well-known fact that companies promoting cashless transactions and digital services are well-positioned to reap rewards during the pandemic. 

In addition, there are new realities and surprising sales results across other sectors.

1. New ‘Sales Rep’ realities

Salesforce published the fourth edition of its State of Sales research report, surveying nearly 6,000 sales professionals globally from B2B and B2B2C companies across North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

COVID-19 has shaken up customers’ circumstances with unprecedented scale and speed. As a result, 72% of sales reps say success metrics have changed, and 58% of sales reps expect their roles to change permanently.

Outside sales teams, typically reliant on in-person meetings, are now learning how to sell from home via call or video.  

67% of salespeople say formal reporting to managers is enforced more than in 2019.

77% of sales leaders say their digital transformation has accelerated since 2019 with video conferencing leading the pack that includes AI mobile sales apps, and CRM systems as sales operations seek to provide teams with both on-the-go and data-driven tools to do their jobs.

Read: E-commerce sector records sharp increase in sales

2. Real estate at really low prices  

The Dubai property market started strong in 2020 but came to a halt during the government enforced lockdown, however, has since hit the ground running, according to Allsopp & Allsopp. 

In August 2020, the company’s buyer registration rose by 129% compared to August 2019, and sales transactions increased by 82% with overall revenue generated increasing by 78%, it said.

In the last four years, the Allsopp & Allsopp workforce has increased by 123% with job applications rising to record levels post lockdown.  

Buyers are interested partly due to real estate developers’ eyeing a reduction in unit prices and considering company mergers.

Eng. Marwa A. Murad, Managing Director of Maximiliano Development Management Services (MDMS) says: “The inability of buyers to pay the installments entails strategies such as the reduction in unit prices by 25% in the event of cash sales. Small developers who may face the risk of bankruptcy might consider merging with another developer to protect their business.” 

Mergers and stiff competition between real estate developers will help lower costs for potential buyers and renters.    

3. Good deals on used wheels

In times of crisis, and when jobs are not stable, used car sales could be ideal for growing a lucrative business., a USE leader in online auto marketplaces for used car sales, announced it was expanding into Saudi Arabia’s used car buying market with the launch of Kayishha.

Kayishha will integrate the’s advanced technology engine with an international dealer buying network and auto inspection locations to enable people across the country to sell any make, model or year car in any condition within 30 minutes at fair market value.  

The company received a recent $35 million investment from Sanabil Investments, a unit of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Through predictive data analytics, the website has a documented ability to assess the fair market value of any car with 92% accuracy.

Kayishha is investing heavily in job creation through an expansion plan that calls for hiring more than 300 people across the country over the next 18-24 months.

4. Appetite for local foods

Following a survey of more than 1000 UAE residents conducted by YouGov, Management consulting firm Kearney Middle East revealed that 62% of the respondents in the UAE have experienced a significant or complete change in their lives during the pandemic

The survey revealed that 1 in 3 (33%) respondents have supported local businesses by buying more locally sourced and produced foods and products during the pandemic. Emirati (37%) respondents claimed to have made the most purchases of locally sourced products, followed by Asians (33%), Arab expats (31%), and Westerners (23%).

5. Speedy growth of UAE domestic courier services

The domestic market for Courier, Express, and Parcel (CEP) in the UAE is expected to gain momentum as travel restrictions and e-commerce boom generated demand for courier services in the country, according to a report.

Referring to the latest Modor Intelligence report, Najeeb Kabeer, partner and managing director of Century Express Courier Services, said the market for CEP in the UAE is estimated to be valued at more than $1.6 billion and growing steadily with online transactions generating additional demand to deliver the sales orders across the UAE.
 The report said the CEP market in the UAE is currently dominated by international B2B deliveries with more than 65% share of the total market, including providers such as Aramex, UPS, DHL, FedEx, and the government-owned Emirates Post. 

In the domestic delivery business, the market is dominated by local brands such as Aramex, Emirates Post, Fetchr, and Century Express Courier Services

6. B2B sales not what they used to be 

B2B decision-maker preferences and behaviors have shifted dramatically since the onset of COVID-19. The go-to-market revolution is here and sales is forever changed for B2B.

Digital self-service and remote rep interactions are likely to be the dominant elements of the B2B go-to-market model going forward when selling to both SMBs and large enterprises.

Only 20–30% of B2B buyers want to ever interact with reps in person. 

Around 90% of B2B decision-makers expect the remote and digital model to stick around for the long run, and 3 in 4 believe the new model is as effective or more so than before COVID-19. 

97% of B2B buyers claim they will make a purchase in an end-to-end, digital self-serve model, with the vast majority very comfortable spending $50K or more online.

Videoconference connections are critical and are preferred over audio/phone by almost 4 out of 5 B2B buyers.