As the coronavirus crisis generates unusual uncertainty, it’s crucial that companies find out how to secure and increase revenues – not default to simply containing or slashing costs. Certainly, the ability to progress will distinguish the leaders from the pack when the global economy kickbacks, as it ultimately will.
After sales leaders have stabilized the immediate situation, they must attend to what is needed to sustain momentum despite social distancing across the world and invest to bounce back in the recovery. Companies in each industry have the chance to emerge from the crisis as winners. In reality, 14% of companies were able to not only speed growth but also raise profitability during the previous four recessions, as per a current BCG study.
However, with factories and offices shut, resulting in delivery cancellations and delays; customers and employees compelled to work from home; resources at a premium, and almost impossible to travel, companies have numerous challenges to meet straight away. Sales leaders, particularly in B2B markets, will decide if companies can convert this crisis into an opportunity. They must adopt the following steps to lead sales, and their businesses, through these turbulent times.
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Remain Connected To Your Customers
Remaining in touch with your customers is vital. However, this might not be the best time to be pressing sales. Rather, considering publishing webinars, tutorials and educational content which display your brand personality and back your customers. This will maintain your brand visibility and brand preference more.
Respond By Interacting With And Stabilizing Sales
It’s crucial to engage rapidly and frequently with the pricing, sales, marketing, and service teams, highlighting the pandemic-based uncertainty accompanying the business and stabilizing the processes, teams, and pipeline. Actions show commitment, so leaders must react to the instant needs of the sales, organization beyond safety and health. That includes constant communication, supporting employees – particularly caregivers and at-risk employees – through the strains and stresses of the situation, and discovering ways to keep all focused on the job.
Installing a virtual commercial war room to direct a voluntary and well-coordinated customer-based response is vital. The cross-functional team that mans this war room must function in an agile way employing virtual teaming tools, as shown to us by several companies. It must be tasked with designing a dashboard that monitors sales, supply chain issues, risks, HR problems, customer challenges and safety concerns on an everyday basis. The team must also build short-term actions to stabilize sales and create liquidity and to deal with the burning question of how to sell during the crisis.
Due to variations in the dissemination of COVID-19, ensure that the virtual war room has national and local representation. That will assure faster feedback and more effective decisions. For example, when Amazon was faced with shortages of essential products in the US and Europe, a company taskforce altered the products that the online retailer stocks and ships. It has highlighted the delivery of medical supplies, household staples,and different high-demand products for the foreseeable future, speeding only those deliveries.
Negotiations concerning the level of service that companies can offer (also termed service-level agreements) are unavoidable, both within the organization and with customers. Fulfilling commitments may be hard under the present conditions, so its finest to he truthful and transparent with customers regarding the situation and the steps taken by your company to maintain service levels.
Business leaders must adjust fast. Getting teams to move to working virtually will involve scaling, rolling out, and testing essential technologies, like VPN access and broadband connectivity, along with important applications like videoconferencing. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more probable it is that the crisis will reach an inflection point following which B2B sales team will function virtually the majority of the time. Planning presently to invest in the technologies and people required to perform that shift will reward tomorrow.
Ponder On The Fluid And Emerging Scenario
Despite the demand for urgency, conditions lay down that leaders be deliberate and mull over the challenges facing them prior to reacting. They should discuss their business continuity plans, which aid protect employees and assets, and assure that they can function, despite the restrictions, during such a crisis.
To earmark the best course of action, sales leaders’ initial step must be to analyze the company’s vulnerability on the demand as well as supply fronts according to the pandemic’s effect on product markets and regions and the organization’s willingness to deal with the crisis.
Teams must evaluate in depth the primary customer challenges in every group and product sector to recognize the actions they can take. One method of doing this is to collect data from the field and other indicators to build a scenario-oriented forecast that focuses on a realistic view of demand and supply.
Having evolved a dynamic perspective regarding the situation, sales must implement an alert but phased approach to ensure fast and targeted responses. In markets where sales are falling, it’s vital to locate main customers that sales should concentrate on and develop a perspective about where the industry is trending for offering insight to customers. If demand is staying stable or growing, as in some instances, sales must discover inventive ways to manage the uptick rapidly.
Either way, the initial stage should involve rapid planning to formulate an action plan. To mark the levers at their disposal, companies should organize workshops with senior management and preferred commercial managers. The aim should be to design maps of the levers available to sales, highlighted by the company’s exposure to the crisis and the levers’ maturity. And the war room can align the actions that require to be taken.
Then, sales must organize virtual agile-action spurts that will enable the rapid development of sales strategies to reduce the impact of the crisis and handle short-term gaps in the sales process. Sales leaders can fashion the spurts, which can be run side-by-side to the process of deploying other changes, for them to develop quick responses in the regions of greatest exposure. Together, the action spurts will aid build a commercial roadmap and provide the organization some much-desired quick wins.
In a few companies, salespersons may have to be kept motivated by changing performance management systems and sops to reflect the latest context. Leaders could, for example, declare an incentive floor, under which commissions will not go down, estimated from every salesperson’s 3 month rolling average or the past year’s performance.
Create Community Website For Your Customers
Developing a community around your brand can be a potent way to engage your audience. Nevertheless, if you don’t know where to begin, the technical aspect of hosting a site can seem like an uphill task.
Fortunately, there are potent plugins that can modify a plain WordPress website into a wholly-fledged social platform. Among the most long-standing, common solutions is BuddyPress. It only requires some steps to make your community up and running with this tool!
BuddyPress apps offer you a chance to trap more of your target audience and engage your users more than you could on the mobile web. This aids businesses to understand customer behavior better and forge strong relationships.
BuddyPress is an official component of the WordPress family and presents a solution for operating a fully-fledged social network through your WordPress site.
BuddyPress is the finest and simplest way to build a social community for your WordPress site. BuddyPress plugin incorporates the community features to WordPress.
Nevertheless, you will need to employ a Buddy Press Theme since all WordPress themes are not compliant with this community plugin. These themes can be built for general as well as niche community sites – such as educational communities, online shopping communities, etc.
It ships with a comprehensive range of functionality and allows you to combine member profiles, user groups, activity streams, the capability for members to run their individual blogs besides much more.
Like with bbPress (which BuddyPress is built to integrate smoothly with), BuddyPress should operate pretty nicely with most WordPress themes out of the box.
The regular feature set of the software is adequately impressive, though it’s easily extended through a range of free and commercial BuddyPress plugins.
Adopt New Sales Channels
Even as more of the country enters lockdown, people still are going to wish and require to purchase things, building opportunities to cater to your market via alternative sales channels. For instance, if coronavirus is reducing foot traffic to your retail business, look to grow your e-commerce presentations. Restaurants in China have witnessed a reduction in in-store customers, so they’re selling takeaway meals rather.
All are affected by the impact of COVID-19. You should play your part by maintaining your business healthy and plan for the long-term.
Communicating these value proposals effectively can make or break any company, and it’s certainly a testing time to do so. For sales prospecting, new opportunities may be scanty, but highlighting these important messages and assuring they are bucked up in all communications will aid sales and customer crews keep on track in uncertain times.
Elisa Wilson is a passionate blogger at wbcomdesigns.com She is a marketing specialist and loves to write on topics related to online marketing, WordPress, web design, web development.