This is a question running constantly in the minds of every sales professional, start-up and business owners as they are facing a drop in their top-line and struggling to keep-up with achieving the Annual Operating Plan (AOP) numbers. As a seasoned sales professional and a founder of a B2B Sales Consulting firm, I would be foolish to say that,
‘this thought is not on my mind 24/7 and it doesn’t keep me up at nights’.
While Sales seems glamourous to the outside world; it is tough to convince someone and/or group of people to give you that order. You feel and are made to feel S*%TTY for not hitting your target numbers but hey we are in the new normal,
‘I am standing in S*%T’, what now?
There are a million sales motivational quotes but none that can withstand the pandemic emotions. In the absence of in-person face-to-face interactions life has gotten tougher. This S*%T is going to stick, stay a while and leave a stench on the P&L, whether we like it or not. If you feel that soon life will be back to normal and everything is going to be hunky-dory, then my friend ‘YOU ARE LIVING IN DENIAL’. It’s time to wake-up and smell the coffee. This phase of our life is being called as the NEW NORMAL and will continue to be called the same.
I constantly ask myself, ‘What needs to be done?’ and ‘How do we survive this’?
Three words come to my mind,
- Adapt : Change/ Modify the way you work and operate
- Adopt : Use tools/ technology that will help you adapt faster
- Allocate : Optimally utilize the resources (people, time, money, knowledge)
I am listing down some of the activities that have worked for me, you can try as well,
(1) Reach-out: The new Work-From-Home (WFH) norm has changed the landscape of interactions. There is shift in the needs and objectives of every organisation. This is a good time to reach-out to all your existing customers, dead accounts, new and cold prospects. If you want to explore the potential of your lead; don’t be vague! Be targeted, tell them how your solution/ service will can help.
(2) Increase Communication: Ask for virtual meetings, to increase interaction (closest one can get to F2F meeting). The advantage is that virtual meetings avoid delays in starting a business conversation and facilitates in building a strong relationship with the clients. It works towards changing the mood, identifying new opportunities, bridging communication gaps on existing projects, and learning from each-others pandemic experiences.
(3) Create Digital Experiences: Everyone is spending a lot on time in the virtual world. Design a Strategy to create a hook for your products/ services which will transform into generating leads and/or requirements. For example: quirky social media posts, or a 25 second product thumb-stopper, etc.
(4) Set-up an e-Marketplace: It’s never too late for this. If your products/services give you the flexibility to set-up a virtual store, just go for it. This will help you showcase your products/ services, and generate leads from your prospective customer. It will accelerate the decision process and increase sales conversions.
(5) Virtual Events/ Webinars: Well this wouldn’t feel the same and cannot replace the experience of a live event but at some level it can help generate leads. One will need do multiple focused sessions with target audiences to educate them about the products/services. Webinars and round-tables are found to be more impactful as they are interactive and engaging. These sessions enable participants to ask questions regarding features, challenges, and gaps. Such interactions help in hastening the decision process and help in translating into leads.
Disclaimer: Don’t be a hero by doing it yourself, reach-out to a good professional virtual event management firm, who will advice and help you organise these sessions with audiences across platforms/ industries/ sectors.
Well, so far these pointers have worked for some of us. Hope they help you as well at some level. These are changing times, panic is evident but shouldn’t dictate our action. Change is always difficult at first but in order to survive, we must accept change with open arms.
It’s time to ADAPT and ADOPT the virtual tools to engage with customers, generate leads and remotely add fuel to keep your