Overnight, face-to-face demos and sales meetings transitioned to digital connections and distance selling.
For some smaller, cloud-focused companies, the switch has been relatively simple. However, for most of us, it’s been notoriously difficult.
If pivoting into the digital environment has tangled up your sales strategies, I’m going to share four guidelines that will help you iron things out so you can get back on track.
I’m going to show you how to use tools like sales engagement platforms and CRMs to smooth out the stress of adapting to a new sales landscape.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Begin by Finding the Right Tech Stack
A few years ago, a pandemic as big as COVID-19 would have been enough to shut many sales teams down completely. Today, however, we’ve got digital tools that make it easy to align and upgrade our online strategies.
When you’re struggling to figure out how you can engage and motivate your audience without meeting them in-person, it starts with finding the right tools.
You can connect with audiences through multiple channels — everything from emails to social media to phone calls.
If that feels disconnected, don’t worry. According to the TOPO sales development report, around 80% of the top high-performing sales teams communicate with their customers up to 15 times through at least three platforms.
The report also found that 92% of businesses believed the sales engagement platform was more vital than a CRM.
When designing the perfect stack for your team, think about:
Sales engagement: A sales engagement platform helps reps effectively monitor, track, and optimize interactions with customers on a crucial level. The best platforms also help CSOs and teams close leads faster while tracking KPIs.
CRM: Your CRM technology should ideally integrate with your sales engagement platforms so you can have a single point of truth for all of your customer data.
Collaboration tools: You also need a way to bring your team members together on the back-end to discuss important deals. This means implementing collaboration tools for video, file sharing, and more.
Workforce optimization: How are you going to track your team’s progress towards things like sales goals and expectations? Optimization tools can help you to track the potential roadblocks in your path to success.
Step 2: Make the Most of Your Data
With the right technology in place, you can do a lot more than motivate and guide your sales team. One of the biggest challenges for CSOs and team leaders right now is the fact that we’re in a brand-new environment — one that we have very little insight into.
There’s no playbook on how to achieve results during a time like this. The business world has evolved at a rapid pace, and we’re all trying to keep our feet on the ground.
The best way to get ahead of the game is to use all the data that you can draw from your critical sales technology. Sales engagement platforms do much more than just helping you to track your sales. These solutions can also show you exactly what’s happening in your business, including which sales strategies your teams are responding to.
While facing the unknown is always a difficult process for modern brands, the more data you have, the more informed your decision making becomes. With sales engagement tools and a CRM, you can track everything from how many cold emails you’re sending to clients, to how many touchpoints you need over the phone to make a sale.
Step 3: Become Increasingly Personalized
As in-person selling becomes less of an option, businesses are looking for alternatives to face-to-face connections. For instance, taking an account-based marketing approach to things means that, instead of casting a wide net, you tailor your strategy to suit a targeted list of prospects.
Alterra Group studies show that ABM campaigns produce a 97% higher ROI compared to other strategies for marketing. Research from Marketo found that organizations using ABM strategies also achieved a 42% higher conversion rate.
During this difficult time, make sure you’re not focusing all of your attention on gaining new prospects and forgetting about your existing leads.
Instead, look at your environment. Think about who your most high-value accounts are. Once you’ve got that information, learn as much as you can about your client, including what their biggest issues are right now.
Then think outside the box. If your clients are struggling to make the most of your software solution without an in-person demo, consider hosting a webinar online instead.
Step 4: Rethink Prospecting and Pipeline
There’s a chance your sales pipeline has dried up in recent weeks. If that’s the case, then perhaps the best thing you can do is refocus your pipeline and look for new opportunities.
For instance, rather than building your sales strategy around product demos in-house, perhaps you can develop a series of webinars or online tutorials to deliver a similar experience.
If you used to install services in-house, maybe you can concentrate your efforts on delivering software over the cloud.
Even the initial stages of prospecting and lead nurturing may need to change. For instance, if companies aren’t maintaining staff members in-house, there’s no point in calling them to start prospecting. Connecting via email or LinkedIn could be a more lucrative idea.
One thing you absolutely shouldn’t do right now is allow a lack of communication to ruin your relationships with customers. Connect with your clients as much as you can and find ways of accommodating their needs as they change.
Remember, you can also take advantage of your sales engagement platform to determine which of your reps have the best outcomes with potential customers.
Untangling Your Sales Processes
Ultimately, sales has been massively impacted by the new COVID-19 landscape. Although we won’t be stuck in this pandemic forever, the quicker you can adapt to suit the new space, the more you’ll be able to accomplish.
Your ideal customer profile is not the same as it used to be, and the tools that you’ll need to survive are evolving too.
Optimizing your business right now means re-assessing where you stand in the marketplace and adapting to suit your customer requirements.
As you venture forth into this new landscape, concentrate on offering as much value as you can at every touchpoint. This has always been a cornerstone of modern selling, but it needs to be a priority in an environment where people are more nervous with their money.
Experiment. Keep track of what works. Your sales engagement platforms and other tools are there to help you evolve. Make sure that you use them.