With much of the country poised to begin reopening, it’s an exciting time for business. Sales professionals can look forward to seeing clients & coworkers, dressing professionally, and, yes, even our beloved office coffeemaker. However, as with the change to working remotely, many sales teams can expect some disruption as things return to normal. Sales managers should remember that team members and clients need to, once again, adjust their lifestyles and processes in order to stay productive. This requires a thoughtful transition into what will feel similar to what we remember but will, in fact, be quite different. As a companion to our blog, Five Ideas to Kick Start B2C Sales as the Country Reopens, here are six ideas to kick start B2B sales as the country reopens and we discover our new normal:
Enable your sales team by providing the coaching, training, and support needed as your company emerges into a post-coronavirus world. Through individual and group coaching, team members can share their success in virtual selling and build on their unique experiences. Sellers may see value in receiving training for selling in a virtual environment. Remember, as the shift to working remotely took time and will likely continue, employees will need to adjust to working back in the office. Also, keep in mind, their return not only impacts themselves but their families as well. Consider small meetings or one-on-ones where your team members can discuss how these changes may be affecting them personally and reassure them that you welcome their thoughts and concerns.
If you’re returning to the office, provide a clean, welcoming, and comfortable work environment Make your staff feel safe. If possible, rearrange furniture to ensure social distancing. Follow local, state, and national guidelines, and be transparent in communicating with your employees about safety measures. It’s better to err on the side of overcommunication during their return to ease any lingering doubts and ensure your team is informed and focused on staying productive.
Revisit your lead acquisition strategy and adjust as needed. Working remotely and independently, your team members, including your marketing team, probably found new and unique ways of prospecting, connecting, and networking with potential clients. Review and measure traditional and recent lead acquisition trends (even if data is limited based on time) to make educated decisions and encourage your team to share their discoveries and successes.
That same notion applies to other KPI’s – track and measure your efforts closely, and revise your sales strategy, processes, goals, and metrics based on what works and what doesn’t. As a result of the shift to virtual selling, changes in the B2B sales process could produce different outcomes, and it’s important to understand these in context of the new selling environment.
Identify needs that may have changed for your customer base, and adjust your elevator pitch, value message, and offerings (where possible). Many customers will take months, if not years, to bounce back to pre-covid-19 normalcy. Their needs have changed. As a sales rep, don’t be tone-deaf and try to sell them the same products or services in the same way you did in the past. As an example, don’t offer a long-term solution when what they may need most is a solution to overcome an immediate challenge. Read the situation, be aware of the issues the customer faces, and be a Trusted Advisor for them.
Align your sales team with your marketing message and branding that may have shifted as a result of the recent changes. If you’re back in the office, let your customers know this well as which team members are still working remotely. In addition, consider incorporating your return into your marketing efforts. Share your enthusiasm with clients as this can rub off and generate excitement.
While the idea of reopening can be exciting, it’s important not to let our enthusiasm cloud our judgment or lose sight of personal needs in relation to business demands. Just as sales has always been about building relationships, understanding problems, and providing solutions, times like these require a disciplined and thoughtful approach as we emerge from our isolation and integrate back to normal. As B2B sellers get ready to kick off selling in a more open environment, remember the human touch and how focusing on others in our sales process goes a long way to maintaining the trust of our clients.