Two months ago, everything was business as usual. Salespeople made calls on prospects and customers daily. Many of the customers required the solutions that those salespeople had to offer – all was good. Then COVID-19 hit. Now everything has changed. Those customers have put everything new on a backburner. Instead, they are focused on the safety of their employees, whether they can get supplies and products to produce their own goods, and how they can interact with their customers. Their world has been shaken, and many have legitimate concerns about cash flow and how they can make payroll. Many are already laying off employees and making other budget cuts.
Just as things are different for your customers, they are also changing just as quickly for you. Like many, sales leaders can't interact face-to-face with your customers or team anymore. Or your hours may have been cut to balance the lack of influx of customers. Or your company may have been forced to embrace remote working, and you're currently reading this on your couch. That is a lot of change in a short amount of time.
Right now, sales teams need to be adaptable and make well thought out adjustments. Running the same play that you've always run will most likely not produce the same results. Here are some practical tips to consider moving forward:
Many companies have core values such as "Put the customer first" or "We are a customer-centric organization." Now is the time to prove it. Those customers may be going through hardships and having the issues listed above. As a good partner, you can only strengthen your relationship by going to those customers and finding out what adjustments you can make to help them through this difficult time. Get closer than ever and communicate often. Please don't wait for them to call you and tell you that they are going to a less expensive provider. Be proactive.
Some salespeople spend their business lives on planes, in meetings, in coffee shops and walking through customer and prospects sites. That has all changed. Now they must shift to conference calls and video conferences. Do they know how to do that? Do they have the equipment and software to do it? If not, you need to quickly make some changes and get them access and trained so they have the tools it takes to maintain contact. We like this list of top live chat tools by Website Tool Tester.
The steps or stages of your process probably don't change, but how you execute each step may have some nuances. Review this with your team and determine what are the new best practices. This may be a bit of trial and error until you determine best practices, but start documenting what you want people to do. If you want even more on the sales process, you can check out our blog on, "Why You Should Standardize Your Sales Process."
Numbers and data are your friends right now. You have many people working from home, which is a safe and smart thing to do. However, many aren't used to working from home. It's easy to get distracted. It's harder to communicate with others. Make sure there is still a focus on what we call the Big 3:
If you see activity falling off, then you may need to address it. Close rates may go down as your prospects and clients are dealing with the crisis. You may need to focus on raising activity to compensate. Your weekly 1-on-1 meetings are a critical time to review these things with each salesperson. If you want even more insight on the Big 3, you can check out our blog on "Measuring What Matters."
Now more than ever, make sure that your team is focused on the clients and prospects that give them the best chance to win. Selling is more complicated and only gets amplified by chasing the wrong prospects. Help your team by reviewing the deals they are pursuing and making sure they are the RIGHT deals.
you have an opportunity to "listen in" more often now since more is going to phone and web conferences. Use your time to see how people are adjusting and whether they are doing a good job asking questions, getting to decision-makers, differentiating, etc.
your CEO/Owner is also going through a crisis and managing cash flow. They need to know what's happening. Forecasts and clients at risk need to be communicated accurately and often so they can make the right business decisions. Nobody likes to be surprised by bad news. If you want even more information on feedback, check out our blog on "How To Give Less Negative Feedback."
These are just a few practical ideas to get you started on how to set some normalcy into your new norm. Pivotal Advisors will continue to provide useful tips as you navigate through these unchartered waters. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.