Covid-19 and the challenge of remote selling

SDA Bocconi Insight - Research Updates


In April 2020, at the height of pandemic, the Commercial Excellence Lab (CEL) at the SDA Bocconi School of Management ran an instant survey showing that the vast majority of sales companies sampled (71.2%) implemented various kinds of restrictions in terms of their customer relationship management policies. In fact, sales calls were cut by 60.1%, and initial expectations were to see an average decrease in turnover of 22.1% - a figure that later rose to 41.1%.

That same survey revealed that 42.2% of customers could not be contacted in person, but only via alternative channels, for example by phone, email, or instant messaging or using more evolved technologies such as web conferencing platforms (Skype, Teams, WebEx, Zoom, etc.). The findings confirmed that use of multiple channels for customer interaction was not an insignificant factor. Indeed, the more channels of contact that salespeople utilized, the better able they were to maintain relationships with their customers and curb the losses in turnover.


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