The coronavirus pandemic has forced and lead billions of people around the world to stay at home, replacing the sales force and accelerating the adoption of virtual sales channels. Few organizations are prepared for such employee distribution.
Ninety-eight percent of sales executives said that as they adjust to uncertainty, change customer behavior, and embrace new ways of working, their business will be hit by a pandemic within five sales quarters. Since the onset of the pandemic, sales productivity has fallen 20% as executives struggle to adapt to the management and evaluation of remote salespeople, call-center representatives, and customer service agents. And most executives believe that the changes brought about by the pandemic will forever change the way they sell.
Sales executives are now forced to quickly adjust their business models to accommodate this new purchasing reality through the following methods:
· Move from old-school personal selling to virtual selling that is more tailored to the needs of new-school buyers who like to work through digital channels;
· Build a digital first-sales infrastructure to support large-scale remote sales;
· And get more impact, visibility, customer engagement, and speed from technology.
Unfortunately, the sales manager has limited time or resources to make this transition. This increases the risk of difficulties in resource allocation and investment decisions to be made in the coming year. With only a few months before planning for fiscal 2021, the vast majority (98%) of organizations will not have the additional funds to make these changes. In fact, two-thirds of people are forced to cut their sales budgets in response to declining demand. At the same time, your decisions about where to cut, invest and adjust your sales force will disproportionately determine your future profitability and competitiveness in the new buyer environment.
To help growing leaders make smarter decisions, the Revenue Enablement Institute and SMA surveyed sales leaders. This study’s results are published in the Remote Sales Productivity Report, which outlines five actions sales leaders can take to improve the productivity of current remote sales teams and prepare for effective sales during the payback period.
1. Speed: Accelerate data exchange, current flow, and response speed. Three-quarters of sales executives surveyed in the report cite adapting and responding to changing customer expectations as their biggest sales performance challenge. To effectively manage remotely, managers must find ways to increase communication speed to provide the entire sales team with prompt, transparent, and comprehensive information on all actions and customer engagement. This provides goals and direction for the remote sales force and allows managers to delegate authority without giving up control and responsibility to support quick action and direct sales force decisions.
2. Tools. Give your sales team the basic tools they need for effective remote selling. It sounds simple, but at the beginning of this year, less than 6% of corporate employees were officially equipped with remote office equipment. Recently relocated salespeople lack the essential tools to work effectively in a remote environment: unified communications, network access teams, collaboration platforms, and sales support tools. As organizations realize that business models have reached a tipping point, this situation is changing rapidly. Personal sales, travel, and events will only account for a small fraction. Like the problem of the year 2000 and similar devastating events, this pandemic has forced companies to modernize their infrastructure to provide their remote sales representatives with the bandwidth, flexibility, and capabilities to provide excellent customer service and reduce costs.
3.Visibility: Better understand the actions of buyers and sellers to avoid the blind flight. Visibility is a critical issue for the simple reason that you can’t control what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you can’t see. In fact, research has shown that a better understanding of salespeople’s actions, customer interactions, forecast engagements, and pipeline health are seen as four key ways to manage remote sales performance better. Unfortunately, a lack of transparency is a fatal weakness in distance selling performance. Provide more accurate information about where the buyer is in the buying cycle and provide them with information, content, and participants to make buyer demand much faster. This means that they can better control the data they already have about customer engagement and activity. Now, in the post-COVID-19 market, raising awareness is critical. It gives salespeople the information they need to manage better, measure, and manage remote sales teams at the periphery of the organization, enabling them to engage customers and make better decisions faster.
4. Hyperfocus: Focus on the pipeline and relationship building. Sales executives view demand uncertainty as to the biggest risk when planning revenue. According to the research, in the short term, only one-fifth of the customers you want to call will buy from the market. The seller expects customer retention to decline 77%, upsell and cross-sell opportunities by 42%, and new business acquisitions by 18%. And most people don’t think demand will pick up by the end of 2021. So surviving today and thriving in the next normal will require highly productive and focused relationships and channeling in the third and fourth quarters. All organizations must work harder and move forward: can they take advantage of the post-COVID economy to protect customer relationships? Or must they work hard on a solution?
5. Start a new sales script – Create a new virtual sales script. The sea change in distance selling will lead to a widening gap between tried and tested field selling practices of the “old school” and the “new school” of digital shopping at the flashpoint. Bob Kelly said that the sales manager and head of sales performance would close in the next few months. Kelly predicts: “They will be forced to adapt their organization to unusual patterns of collaboration, learning, and sales.” “Sales managers will need to change sales processes and sales information, reorganize sales roles, and replace suddenly outdated business models and incentives. And regional distribution. They will retrain vendors to understand these changes and then retrain them as their mobility strategy evolves. “
Michael Smith agreed that sales executives should write a new virtual selling book based on his experience to help more than 100 companies improve their sales performance. “As a tool for modifying transactions, traditional/experienced field salespeople will not immediately be satisfied with virtual sales. Over time, many people will find it difficult to move from personal relationships and consulting to digital communication channels and virtual sales. “Video and collaboration platforms provide answers for schools’ new digital customers,” Smith said. “This will force sales organizations to update or create new sales guides to clarify their expectations for everyone in the new virtual sales position, including video presentation skills, a faster work rate, more personalized content, and layouts. Team selling. Set new expectations.
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