The world has changed in a way that few people could have ever predicted. Airlines have stopped flying, hotels are closed, freedoms taken for granted now limited. And not one business will be unaffected by this. Some will be winners, some will have holes in their profit margins and will pull through, some will be gone forever.
But what remains for sales forces across the world is the same as before. Sales is the lifeblood of every commercial organisation. We (along with marketing) attract, engage and gain commitment from existing and new clients who pay the money that keeps our business moving.
And in the world that emerges out of this pandemic; even more responsibility will bear down on sales functions.
With this responsibility will come extra scrutiny. From frontline sales to the senior Sales Leader, there will be renewed targets, more activity and KPI interrogation, and possibly less resource to do the job. There may be restructuring, uncertainty in your own job role and lower than expected salaries or commissions.
Yet you will still be expected to turn up, put a big effort in and hit some big numbers!
It may be that sales actually isn’t for you, or your energy and desire isn’t there anymore to deal with this renewed pressure. If not, then really consider closely your next step and make the right choice for you, your family and your team.
The fact you are reading this makes it clear you are ready for the challenges ahead; so these are 5 questions you must ask yourself:
Where is my energy directed?
Fundamental to sales success is motivation and mindset which drives our personal energy. Have you recharged your batteries from enforced lockdown and ready to go? Or are you in a pattern of long lie ins; short working days and Xbox extended play?
Get yourself mentally prepared and excited about the path ahead. It will be tough but it will be laden with financial and career success if you are ready. Review your personal “energy management” so that you can deliver the sales activity you need at the peak of your energy within the day.
What are the 4 or 5 tasks or activities that I MUST do everyday?
Consistently solid sales performers are consistently solid in their habits. These will be individual and super aligned to what drives their goal performance. It may be around prospecting, networking, KPI activity, personal mental or physical health. But what are the 4 or 5 tasks that if you do those, you will have a great day?
What’s happening to my customers?
Now is the time to get real close to your customer with empathy. Are they an essential service that has been maxed out and is exhausted? Have they been on furlough and will return to normality relatively quickly? Are they in a desperate situation with uncertainty about the existence of the business?
Understand their world and then ask yourself the next question…
How can I help?
Social focus is on helping and togetherness, rather than greed and selfishness. A bullish sales approach may lead you to lose that customer forever and get you bad PR. Get your messaging and intent right to build trust and long-term credibility. Don’t assume they won’t buy anything either and therefore not even ask the question. Be authentic in your messaging and intent, and you will get the right balance.
What’s my organisation’s marketing message?
Sales and marketing can often work in silo. Now is the time to be aligned in your personal messaging and the company marketing message. Your customer may be in a world of uncertainty and turmoil, with a huge amount of noise in the business media with differing advice and choices to “come out of this stronger”.
Give the customer clarity, certainty and confidence in your product or service approach by re-enforcing your value proposition through all channels.
The companies and people that come through this event will be the ones who are agile and adaptable to their customers. They consistently understand their customers world and clearly align their products and services to that customer’s need in the here and now. Doing what you’ve always done may not be enough. Rethink your sales approach and strategy and help make your organisation one that thrives.