With the news about the COVID-19 pandemic changing daily, focus can be a challenge for a sales leader. The constant shift likely means pivoting between heavy-hearted decisions, board meetings, conversations with employees and the albeit adjusted revenue numbers.
Your customers are facing the same difficult decisions. How are you keeping your sales reps focused? Your managers equipped to maintain productivity? And, readying your organization for when the panic dies down?
Here are five ways you can keep your teams focused.
1. Stay aligned on the current problems you're solving for buyers
Understanding how COVID-19 is impacting your customers will help you, as an organization, better understand where you can provide the most value. Use our four essential questions to achieve internal alignment around the key problems your offerings solve for your buyer's evolving challenges. Keep in mind, how your answers may have changed, given the current environment.
What problems do you solve for customers?
How do you specifically solve these problems?
How do you do it differently than your competitors?
What’s your proof?
For example, there may be new problems you can solve for your customers in this environment or maybe their challenges have morphed a bit. It's also possible how you solve those challenges will adjust as well. At Force, for example, we have cut off our in-person training sessions and gone completely virtual with our global trainings. Our sales team is now articulating our differentiation when it comes to delivering outcomes in that environment. Those differentiators may not have been what our sellers led with in the past, because it may not have aligned with the buyer needed at that time. The same shift in differentiators may need to happen for you.
Once you've established internal alignment on these answers, it will be crucial for you to enable your managers and reps with the ability to morph their sales conversations to account for the adjusting problems. Update your current tools (e.g., Discovery Guides, Pre-Call Planners, etc...) to reflect the change and provide helpful resources to your managers and reps.
2. Improve manager & sales rep listening skills
Listening is always essential and the key to great discovery. Take the time to make sure your teams are focused on the basic fundamentals of good listening and effective discovery. Remember, there's as much differentiation in how you sell, as there is in what you sell. Listening is a great way to differentiate yourself in front of the buyer.
Resources you can use to help sales managers coach on effective listening skills:
Whether it’s smaller budgets, shorter timelines, or a large requirement of capabilities — the need to justify your value is likely increased in this environment. Make sure you're equipping your teams to start negotiation early in the process and to not fall victim to buyer tactics and anchors that will minimize your value. Remember, the deals you negotiate now could impact your organization well after this pandemic is over.
Coaching resources to help sellers articulate and negotiate on value instead of price:
Some sales strategies and best practices never change, regardless of external circumstances. Good selling is good selling. Make sure your front-line managers are doing what they can to maintain sales productivity, as much as they can.
Staying the course isn't easy. Use this time to lead by example and take action. Whether it's reaching out to customers or providing transparent company-wide communications — do what you can to lead from the front in a positive way.