No one can doubt how much the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world. We are living in a new reality. Even with the successful rollout of vaccine programs, we aren’t out of the woods yet, and we are still living in challenging times.
Humanity is going to be living with this pandemic, and the economic consequences, for some time to come. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of a vaccine and new political leadership, there is still a long way to go.
Businesses and professionals across the world have had to make major adaptations. Sales and marketing are two areas that need to keep changing, to serve customers and stakeholders more effectively for the duration of this pandemic, and beyond. In this article, we look at how sales and marketing teams can make more sustained changes for the years ahead.
What is the ‘new normal’ for businesses?
Unfortunately, Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere for now. Even with vaccine rollouts, new variants have emerged that are threatening plans in various countries to reopen fully, and that means potential ongoing economic consequences.
For sales teams, this almost certainly means that face-to-face meetings are still potentially risky. Alongside physical events, networking, expos, conferences, and anything else where people gather in large numbers. Even with masks and social distancing, in many cases, the risks are too great.
Likewise, when it comes to how companies operate, things need to change. Whenever possible, staff should be encouraged to work from home (WFH). As a business owner or team leader, you need to ensure teams have the best spaces in which to work, alongside the most effective technology to work from home.
Omnicore Agency has recently written a detailed post presenting the list of items that are essential for creating a productive environment when working remotely.
What does this mean for sales teams?
As part of these ongoing adjustments, companies need to ensure they’re supporting sales teams, and staff in every role.
For millions around the world, this pandemic has taken a toll on people’s mental and physical health. Your staff needs genuine support. Whether that means more time off, increased pay or bonuses, mental health coaching, or help converting a space within their home into an office.
On a daily and weekly basis, this means helping them keep to a routine, and managing them, without micromanaging. These are challenging times, and no one is going to work at their best if they feel like managers and companies don’t care.
How should this change sales strategies?
Sales strategies, as people have found this year, aren’t the same as they were before the pandemic.
For 2021, sales managers need to think about the following:
#1: Set realistic goals.
Very few companies and sales teams have hit their target this year. That’s understandable. In many cases, it would be remarkable if sales teams had been able to continue as normal, and every customer and prospect equally carried on as if nothing had happened.
Being agile is essential. If you try to stick to rigid plans, world events and the economy might make those goals difficult to achieve. Make the targets realistic and achievable. Create and continue to adopt a strategy around the data and relationships in your sales pipeline.
#2: Review the data.
For what worked in 2020, and what is still working right now. Look at your customer relationships, partnerships, your position in the market, and the state of the sales pipeline. If everything’s the same, or only marginally affected, then keep doing what has been working. If however, that’s not the case, assessing what’s worked, and what hasn’t, is the best way to formulate a plan for the year ahead.
This is where a CRM comes in very handy, such as the OroCRM. You need a CRM platform that brings together sales and marketing data, giving you a complete 360 view of every customer, allowing you to analyze and plan better.
#3: Use the video for sales calls.
When it comes to sales meetings/calls, the most effective technology is video platforms, such as CrankWheel. 74% of sales leaders found that video, whether remote screen-sharing or Instant Demos, helped them hit their target. Video is known for being 34x more effective than phone or email, as a way of engaging with prospects.
What does this mean for marketing teams?
As far as managing teams is concerned, everything that applies to sales teams applies equally to marketing teams.
Actually implementing marketing, on the other hand, has changed even more than sales. Brands, big and small, have had to adapt and need to make continuous adaptations.
It starts with businesses assessing and understanding how Covid-19 is impacting their customers. On a general level, it’s affecting all of us, one way or another. So that does need factoring in, especially when it comes to tone of voice (TOV) and the messaging businesses use.
But on a more specific level, marketers need to know how their audience is affected. In particular, you need to know whether the pandemic has impacted demand for your product or service. In some sectors, such as hospitality, it’s having a serious effect on demand. Many businesses are closed, and not enough of them will reopen. Hence the struggle for many marketers indirectly affected sectors to keep customers engaged when they can’t engage with your product or service.
However, in sectors that are still open, there is an ongoing challenge to stay relevant, acknowledge the reality of the situation, and be helpful to your customers. Brands that are helpful, engaging, and provide support, one way or another, will do a better job keeping customers and winning new ones as the economy improves.
Looking ahead: 2021 and beyond
Businesses made massive adaptations in 2020. Now we are getting through the worst of it, in many regions of the world, businesses can start to move forward. Sales and marketing teams are no exceptions. Looking ahead, we can expect companies to need to keep teams working remotely, and therefore using tools such as video platforms for sales calls. Marketing teams need to keep using a more helpful approach to messaging to continue to engage customers and drive new sales leads in.
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Jói Sigurdsson, Founder & CEO of CrankWheel, a zero hassle screen-sharing web and mobile-based app, designed to help salespeople increase conversion rates and engagement with prospects.