Selling in a Post-Covid World
The famous Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said: “you cannot step into the same river twice.” Heraclitus’ observation, which argues that things are always changing, begs the question how the Covid pandemic has reshaped the current business landscape. Therefore, selling in a Post-Covid world is harder than ever.
According to a McKinsey poll, 46% of businesses plan to decrease their spending next year because of the current pandemic. Couple this reality with another interesting McKinsey statistic – that 79% of companies are likely to continue operating as they have been since the onset of the pandemic for the next 12 months – and this new normal means sales leaders will have to decide how to adjust their products, people, and processes to sell in the face of new customer habits and trying economic times.
Given another Covid reality: namely, that 2/3’s of decision makers believe digital selling is at least as effective as traditional sales models, it is clear that some form of digital selling should be an important part of a business’ 2021 sales strategy. In fact, 96% of B2B sales teams say they have either partially or fully shifted to remote selling, which means sales professionals are already remapping their customer decision process while embracing new skills and approaches to sell in this new digital normal.
For example, traditional face-to-face interactions have been replaced by sales and customer service video conferences, webinars, emails, on-line chat boxes, and using other technical means. Businesses are also seeking the assistance of digital experts to help their sales teams marry face-to-face selling with new digital approaches; and IT professionals are optimizing digital sales and marketing pathways to give buyers more ease and convenience while also improving the collaboration among a business’ different digital approaches.
Sales leaders are, furthermore, pivoting to how they can better serve current customers, while also seeking out new customer niches. Sales organizations that have focused their sales efforts on their customers’ changing needs, for instance, have seen 17.9% higher win rates and 11.8% higher quota attainment; and sales organizations are reaching out to new market niches to make up for longer sales cycles and to further close their sales gap.
Many sales leaders are, moreover, readjusting sales forecasts, introducing more flexibility and empathy into the sales process, focusing on immediate customer needs, offering more financial flexibility, and shifting resources to emerging opportunities. For commission salespeople, sales quotas have been adjusted, draws have been modified and guarantees instituted to mitigate fewer sales, and generous incentive plans have been replaced by more affordable ones. These practical modifications can be lifted as the fear of Covid is minimized and the crisis reverses itself, but for the time being, to survive this crisis, businesses will need to be iterative in their approach and continue to adapt.
Steps to Opportunity
So, selling in a post Covid world is not as simple as introducing new digital sales channels. Sales leaders need to be thoughtful about how they redeploy their resources, position new digital strategies, train & lead their people, and manage their relationships with their customers and salespeople. The right sales dashboards and consultants can also help business owners figure out their next steps in 2021.
The Covid crisis has caused major challenges in the short-term, but it also presents a significant opportunity to transform your future sales organization.