Your lockdown sales strategy could make or break your company
Countless businesses have come to a grinding halt during lockdown and the fear that this will affect their employees on a personal level is very real. Many are struggling to pay their staff and are having to decide whether to implement salary cuts or begin retrenchment processes.
As companies scramble to find ways to reduce costs and keep their businesses operational, sales revenue has become the lifeline of the organisation.
Databuild CEO Morag Evans believes now is an opportune time for managers to rethink their sales strategies and have the essential resources in place so that their sales teams can hit the ground running when it’s over.
“Sales teams should have a clearly defined strategy on how they spend their time,” she says. “Being idle begets negativity and in these challenging times instilling a positive mindset in your sales team is imperative for success.”
Managers should also be mindful that not all employees enjoy working from home, Evans points out. “Some may find the virtual working environment stressful, especially if there are small children in the household. Managers should therefore ensure they communicate regularly with their staff to help them become accustomed to the new working dynamic.
“Providing as much information as possible can help alleviate the anxiety caused by the enforced confinement,” she continues. “It’s also important to establish guidelines and set goals so that employees understand exactly what’s expected of them while working from home, especially when it comes to meeting deliverables and targets.”
Engage with empathy
With so much uncertainty in the world around what the future holds, immediate sales are perhaps unlikely in the short term, but Evans says this shouldn’t stop sales professionals from engaging with both existing and prospective customers. How they do this, however, will determine whether their efforts will yield positive results over the long term.
“Communication is key. In conversations with clients, don’t be afraid to speak openly about the current global crisis, but in a manner that demonstrates empathy to their situation,” she advises. “Ensure that your message is relevant to their current circumstances. Showing compassion will convey that you genuinely care about what they are going through, and will facilitate the building of trust in your relationship.”
Don’t waste time
Lockdown has given many people more time on our hands and Evans advocates spending it wisely. “Waiting until after lockdown to build your pipeline, for example, will be too late, but prioritising it now will give you a critical edge over your competitors. Begin by reviewing your current list of prospects and categorising them according to their current essential and non-essential requirements.
“Additionally, use the myriad of online resources available to extend your prospect lists and then make as many calls as you can every day. Starting meaningful conversations now will go a long way towards helping you harness the rewards in the future.”
Restructure your offering
The construction industry was in the grips of a serious a downswing before the outbreak of COVID-19 and many companies are now facing permanent closure. “Consequently, some clients may wish to cancel their business with your organisation,” Evans warns. “Be prepared for this to happen and express understanding for their pain points, but rather than allowing them to walk away, look for ways to restructure your offering while still adding value. Additionally, consider how your existing products can help clients be better off in these challenging times and propose these.”
Go back to basics
Despite the challenges imposed by lockdown, Evans says the fundamentals of sales have not changed. “Now is a good time to go back to basics,” she says. “The telephone has increasingly taken a back seat in the sales professional’s arsenal in favour of email and professional networking platforms, but during lockdown people are yearning for human interaction.
“Call your clients and make your voice heard. Give them the hope that lockdown will end eventually and that you are there to help place them in the strongest position to move forward when this happens.”