When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early last year, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on the world. More than anything, it has shown how quickly things can change without warning. Many people are still struggling to regain their losses from the sudden pandemic.
For businesses, those losses may be felt most in their sales management teams. In this article, we will discuss how to improve sales management for your business during the pandemic.
Have remote work available
Your business must be prepared to become fully (or partially) remote at any time. Instead of the traditional, in-person sales, switch to virtual meetings. Having the availability to work from home has been proven to be beneficial to both companies and their employees. TechRepublic reports that 40% of companies said that video conferencing had made their employees more engaged.
There is a variety of videoconferencing tools you can choose from for your business. Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and BlueJeans are just a few examples of tools that companies use to meet prospective customers and continue making sales virtually. Videoconferencing is an excellent option for companies to expand upon their digital communication.
If your sales must be made in person, please follow social distancing guidelines established by the government and lower your salespersons and customers’ capacity during business hours.
Reevaluate what and how you’re selling
With the strict federal guidelines for COVID-19, your company may want to stop selling certain products or services that will no longer be in high demand by customers. The pandemic changed how everyone moves throughout their daily lives, which means your business must know what your customer needs are now. Products or services should be either removed from or adapted to adjust to something more relevant to customers.
If your services or products are not available online, now is the time to look into e-commerce. The majority of consumers are buying online, and, according to Data Feed Watch, 65% prefer to shop online or pick up in-store. Having an online store helps to avoid any issues with lockdowns or lessened foot traffic in your business.
Hire (more) inside salespeople and customer success managers
Depending on what service or product your business offers, you may have a staggering number of field salespersons. However, with the pandemic limiting the amount of in-person meetings, it is highly suggested that you hire or switch current field salespersons to inside salespeople. This change may lead to some lay-offs in your company, but it will be highly beneficial to you in the long-run. According to Harvard Business Review, having inside salespeople can lead to increased sales and stronger relationships with customers who prefer virtual sales.
Hiring a customer success manager can also be of benefit to your company. The primary role of a customer success manager is to develop strong relationships with an existing customer to ensure they are satisfied with their product(s) or service(s).
Listed below are some of the critical responsibilities of a customer success manager:
- Onboarding of new customers
- Manage renewals
- Promote the company
- Influence upselling and cross-selling
- Develop relationships with customers and the customer support team
- Advocate for the customer
Keep sales team motivated
It is essential that you keep your sales team enthusiastic and motivated throughout the pandemic to ensure that sales stay as steady as possible. Your salespeople may feel discouraged by the implications created by your company to stimulate sales during COVID-19, but having a great team culture can counter this.
If finances allow it, your business can also do some of the following to encourage improved sales performance by the sales team, such as creating leaderboards, immediate bonuses for sales, and celebrating wins during sales meetings.
For those that have lower sales performance, your company should find ways to improve their performance. Please be aware that the pandemic may have caused those employees to take care of additional family members or friends, so try to understand as possible.
Meet the new needs of customers
The longevity of your company ultimately depends on one group of people: your customers. With the ongoing pandemic, it is now more critical than ever to listen to your current and prospective customers’ feedback. While there can be an abundance of changes done within your company, you need to ensure your customers’ needs are met.
Creating daily meetings with your sales team to discuss customer feedback is a step in the right direction. This allows for constant updates on any trends, patterns, etc. That can be used to make your business’s sales management changes.
There should be multiple channels that both customers and sales managers can use to provide insight into your company’s performance. Having an open communication line between customers and your company can be vital for staying in business during the pandemic.
Consult the experts
The pandemic has led many to realize that they’re not fully prepared for events like these. Many businesses have struggled to make ends meet because there was no plan for when the economy takes a unique hit for an unexpected period with no end date. As a business owner in the sales industry, you must create strategies for your sales management to ensure that your business and customers are well cared for.
As a fractional VP of Sales, James Bellew works with small to medium-sized business owners to build or rebuild their sales organizations. That includes sales strategy, processes, building, establishing, and aligning sales teams and their sales tools.