Preparing your sales strategy for the new normal post COVID-19
We all are locked in our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though there are no signs of this situation to normalize any time soon, everybody wishes to go back to their pre-corona state. But that is not going to happen ever. Our behavior has been altered forever without noticing it.
If organizations are willing to improve their top line then they have to be mindful of two changes that have happened, which will have a longer impact on the buying process.
Which two changes will impact the buying process most?
- Buyers are doing more research indoors and this trend may continue even after the coronavirus situation improves.
- Buyers will seek value for money. They are going to be watchful about spending they are doing on the products and services. With the likelihood of economic depression following the pandemic, everybody wants to spend wisely.
Simply put, these fundamental changes in the buying behavior of the users would also demand the change in the selling process. The sales and marketing teams must equip themselves with the new way of selling and prepare for the ‘new normal’ post-COVID-19.
How sales and marketing can be equipped with a new way of selling?
The sales and marketing leaders will need to bring in the following tweaks into the marketing and selling process.
- Skill to communicate with users while they are indoors: If your outreach strategy comprises of billboards and roadshows then now is the time to relook at it. Consider TV commercials and digital platforms that will give you access to users’ homes. This is where they are going to research a lot before stepping out for purchase.
- Ability to transact remotely: Can users place the order for your product and service from the comfort of their home without having to step out? Do you have remote support systems? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then now is the time to incorporate e-commerce and service desk into your sales tools’ portfolio.
- Ability to communicate digitally: Can your sales team conduct product demonstration over Google Meet, Zoom or Microsoft Teams? Do they have the right videos, brochures and other marketing collaterals to convince your users about products and services? Train your sales team to talk to users over digital platforms and depending on where the user is in the buying journey ask the sales team to share the right collateral.
- Ability to track communications with the users: On digital platforms, your users will communicate with you at their time of convenience. It may happen that at a different point a different salesperson is talking to your user. It is essential in this situation to track all user interactions making it easier for your salesperson to pick up the thread in the right context of communication. CRM is a great tool to make it happen. Have a properly configured CRM in place and conduct thorough training of all your sales team about using the CRM effectively.
- Ability to push leads through the sales funnel remotely: In the post-COVID-19 world, the users will have lesser interactions with your sales team. This will result in lesser face time with the users. Your marketing team needs to rise to the situation and build an effective lead nurturing program which will subtly push your users towards the bottom of the sales funnel. Have a defined set of personas and segregate your contact list in these personas. Map the users with their respective buyer journey. Deploy drip campaigns to maintain constant touch with your users and share meaningful and relevant information with them to convert them to sales-ready leads or customers.
- Ability to receive feedback while users are in action: Does your product have the ability to capture the feedback and send it digitally to the support team? If your product can’t accommodate the digital feedback mechanism then whether it highlights QR code, email or toll-free number where users can reach you to share their feedback. Are your service providers trained well to observe the behavior and receive feedback? Are you incentivizing users to offer feedback? Having the right feedback system is an essential part of the game. If you are not picking up the feedback at the right time in the right way or dropping the ball somewhere in the middle then you will lose that user forever. It is also important to have a social listening mechanism in place as users might talk about your product and service experiences on social platforms. And, you can influence the discussion in the right direction if you are aware of such interactions.
Building these abilities is the first step towards preparing your marketing and sales team for the ‘new normal’. And, if you are successful in developing these abilities then these skills might become your collective differentiators providing long term edge over your competition.