Covid19 has changed sales forever. Are you ready to adapt?

Well, the black swan event has hit us with Covid19 slowing economies in many countries around the world, forcing lockdowns and leaving a trail of devastating bereavement for many.

So, how do we adapt to the new demand landscape and accelerated changes brought on by the virus if we are in the sales profession?

Firstly, we have to look after our staff and customers as the number one priority. I have said before. “Customers and employees remember how they are treated in tough times for a long time.” It’s certainly no different this time.

Secondly, we now need to adapt our sales processes based on changing customer needs and the rapid acceleration of digital business brought about by Covid19.

Deals being done on a handshake and physical meeting are going to become much less regular.

The sales profession during and after this pandemic is going to look different and you now need to get ready to adapt to a new world of offsite, digital, omnichannel and inside selling shaped around previously proven sales processes and human behaviours.

Here are some key tips for embracing the new world of digital sales.

Adapting to digital sales.

1. Digital Tools. Ensuring you and your sales teams are tech savvy will be much more important moving forward. Webinar, Zoom, Skype and other video customer meetings will be much more common*. Now is a great time to introduce a digital sales capacity to your sales team with appropriate training to support them in moving to digital selling.

2.  Remote offsite sales. With almost 95% of physical meetings stopped, the traditional meeting sealed with a handshake may become a relic of the past. Sales teams will increasingly become remote and offsite. Business day trips between Sydney & Melbourne or London & Amsterdam are also likely to significantly reduce. Even local commutes to a local office, often full of distractions will be less appealing as we migrate to more productive offsite and remote sales activities.

3.  Web improvements.  With more digital business taking place, ensuring that your website is up to date, user friendly and immediately free from glitches or errors will be crucially important. You need to ensure prospective buyers can easily find the information they need quickly and efficiently. Offering a live chat support option will also become very important for customers doing initial research. In addition, having your own digital marketing profile through LinkedIn accurate and up to date will be a necessity.

4.  Analytics and automation. If you cannot measure it you cannot manage it. Tracking analytics on all of your content, articles, website visitors, opt ins and purchases to understand what is important to your customers will become so much more important. Content creation has already exploded during this pandemic and is set to accelerate further as we do even more commerce and insight sharing digitally. In addition, personalising every interaction will also become expected by customers, so seek to maximise the automation and analytical capabilities of your CRM Customer Relationship Management System.

5.  Partnerships and collaboration. To be effective in the new digital sales world will require strategic technology partnerships and collaboration. No company will be able to do everything on its own and those that partner will reap the rewards.Successful sales infrastructure will become a combination of technology and people process.

6.  Don’t forget the human touch. Don’t think that technology can run all your sales activities. Buyers will still want the human touch once they have gathered their required information and research online. Human touch will work best for more complex enquiries and approaching prospective customers with unique insights and value. In addition, ensure sales managers can support prospective customers through the manner of their choice whether that is video, phone or live chat. 

In the new world where customer demands have accelerated and changed to a more digital and virtual approach, sales managers will need to constantly monitor how customers want to interact.

With traditional sales and face to face meetings moving to more remote, digital communications supported by webinar, video, live chat and phone communication the companies that blend technology with a customer focused human centred approach will succeed.

To get your free Sales Plan Template to help support your migration to digital sales visit www.markswain.com.au/insights

* I wrote in Banking 2020 how the bankers of the future will be working virtually, supporting staff-less branches, obtaining real time analytics yet thinking long term with most interactions taking place over video. I certainly did not expect these secular changes to eventuate so quickly.

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