5 Tips to Help Your Sales Team Thrive During an Ongoing Pandemic
It’s hard to overstate just how difficult it is to be a salesperson in today’s environment. In the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown, many of your most reliable and loyal customers are aggressively cutting costs, delaying orders, and rethinking their purchasing priorities. It’s hard to blame them. The ongoing pandemic creates a lot of hurdles. Companies that were thriving this time last year (or maybe even just a few months ago) are now facing the most severe budget reductions in their histories, laying off staff, and even considering shutting down their operations completely.
Even in good economic times, sales can be tough job. But the times we currently live in are absolutely brutal.
At the same time, you have an important job to do. Your customers need the things you’re selling, and your company—and your team—is counting on you to close those sales. You don’t want to be too pushy or salesy, of course. But you also don’t want to be so afraid of being told “No” that you miss out on valuable opportunities. You still have sales targets to hit, and you still need to put food on the table.
And if you’re a leader on your sales team, this balancing act becomes even more extreme. Every one of your colleagues is facing the same challenges you are. By pulling together and helping each other out, your team just might be able to get to the other side of this isolating, stressful, and uncertain era.
So here are five tips to help your sales team thrive during the ongoing pandemic:
It’s not exactly a secret that most salespeople are extroverts. We live for conversation and interaction, and we’re sustained by the thrill of the hunt. Unsurprisingly, months of self-isolation and quarantine can take their toll on salespeople. Many of us spent months without even leaving our homes, which would have been unthinkable at the start of 2020.
Without the comradery and friendly competition of an office setting to recharge our batteries, it’s all too easy to lose focus and motivation. So to keep those personal and social connections strong, we need to put in the extra effort. While virtual offices and video conference meetings will never replace the office, they at least provide an opportunity to catch up with the latest customer gossip, chat with workplace friends, and maybe even get a little work done in the process.
Celebrate the Small Stuff
Nothing beats the feeling of announcing to the rest of your sales team that you’ve just closed a big sale. It’s a moment of euphoria and accomplishment, and it even comes with a nice commission check. Those moments may have been few and far between over the last few months. So it’s more important than ever to celebrate the small victories.
Did someone on the team convince a customer to renew their contract? Give them a round of applause. Did the team hit their minimum sales quota for the month? It’s time to post a meme of a champagne bottle popping on the team Slack channel. Sure, it can feel a little corny. But in tough times, every bit of positive encouragement counts.
Rethink Your Sales Strategy for a Post-Pandemic World
No one knows what the post-pandemic world is going to look like. But the odds are that it will be very different than the pre-pandemic one. Your products and services were created for a different era, and features and selling points that were once in high demand may seem totally irrelevant to your customers and prospects. Don’t look at this scenario as a loss—because it’s actually a huge opportunity.
As the world recovers from the COVID-19 lockdown, your team has the ability to completely change the narrative about the things you sell. Reaching into new niches, connecting with new prospects, and clawing to get back customers from now-struggling competitors are all on the table. For instance, it’s the perfect time to update your marketing and sales materials and revisit your approach to advertising (social media, online, and traditional).
Streamline Your Sales Workflows
Most sales teams still rely on processes that date back to the days of handwritten quotes and mailed paper invoices. Over the years, there have been updates (e.g., emailed documents). But the underlying steps and assumptions that drive the actual workflow are still likely built around the technology of the last millennium. It’s time for an update.
Now is the perfect time to scrap these old and outdated systems and rebuild them from the ground up, in order to meet today’s needs. If your team hates doing a repetitive and time-consuming task, why not find a way to automate it? Are your sales reps still stuck in the paper era? Do they have to be nagged to update their data in the CRM? Now is the time to switch to a CRM-only model. To ease this transition, you can even use gamification tools like Splash.
Master the Technology
Chances are that your team’s old sales technology wasn’t designed with our new, social-distanced reality in mind. In all likelihood, your sales data is fragmented across a half-dozen systems, including Outlook, Google Drive, Excel, QuickBooks, and your CRM and ERP. And other pieces of customer and sales data are further siloed away in tools like Zendesk and Jira. Until you can bring all that data together, you can only get a fragment of the complete picture.
If you really want to help your sales team thrive, it’s essential for you to integrate all of these pieces into a single, coherent sales system. Your sales team will no longer be hobbled by incomplete information. If they need to know something, it’s just a few clicks away. If you optimize this system for mobile and remote use (e.g., Zoom and Slack integration), the entire world will become your sales office. Even an ongoing pandemic isn’t a match for a sales team with that kind of support.
To learn more about how FayeBSG’s technology can help your sales team reach new heights (even through the ongoing pandemic), call us today for a free consultation.
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