At its best, sales is about helping clients succeed. When we help our clients win, we win as well. But these aren't normal times and sales approaches that worked a few months ago may not work today. How can salespeople survive or even come out stronger in this new reality? The answer comes down to three core principles: be authentic, buyer-focused, and human. Here are four examples of how sales leaders can do exactly that.
1. Double down on providing value
The most important thing salespeople can do right now is ensure that they understand their clients’ needs. Check in with clients and listen to what they need during this time. Contact centers also hold a wealth of business intelligence and speech analytics resources. Make sure your organization’s sales team is aligned with its customer support team for insights about what your clients and prospects care about, sentiment about your company and your competitors, and emerging relevant topics.
2. Think seamless virtual interactions
In a quarantined environment, salespeople need to think in terms of virtual selling. At the same time, individuals have different preferences for how they want to be communicated with and sold to in the sales and buying process. Be prepared to communicate with buyers through a variety of platforms and devices from video conferencing tools to mobile apps, SMS, web, social, and voice. As buyers come to expect seamless and personalized virtual experiences at every step of the buyer journey, an internal flow of customer data and collaboration across the organization will be more important than ever.
3. Maximize efficiencies
Artificial intelligence and automation are invaluable in enabling effective and efficient selling. Even before the pandemic, AI was streamlining data-driven tasks, boosting productivity, and accelerating lead prioritization and data entry. Now is the time to lean into AI to drive speed to value. A buyer, for instance, could be greeted by an AI-enabled chatbot that quickly gathers information about the type of product that the buyer is interested in and routes the message to the right salesperson. On the backend, AI can provide the sales representative with relevant buyer insights in real time while also performing data entry.
4. Be human
Most sales professionals are already used to conducting business over the phone or video. But many people may not be used to this mode of communication. Remember to be even more conscientious about time spent communicating with prospects, buyers, and clients. Acknowledge that they’re busy and may also be adapting to a new environment. Plan out your outreach conversations as structured conversations, with plenty of research and thoughtful questions to ensure you’re using that time effectively and efficiently.
Recalibrating for a new normal
Sales professionals today are walking a tightrope in acknowledging the COVID-19 crisis without being opportunistic while still producing results. Instead of despairing, sales professionals have an opportunity to find new ways to connect with clients and do what they do best—help clients solve their problems.