COVID-19 has destroyed livelihoods and continues to do so around the world. The full implications of the pandemic are far from certain but it is clear that its economic consequences are dire.
Sales leaders are taking care of their people and customers since that’s the top priority and also adjusting how to sell in the face of new customer habits in this tough economic times. We are at a digital inflection point, where B2B sales planning & operations will look fundamentally different from what they were before the pandemic.
The time saved on travel can now be used to upskill oneself and explore new sector or industry that you previously did not cater to. Having a sound knowledge of your clients’ business makes you stand out amongst your competition.
McKinsey did a survey of B2B Businesses across 11 countries and the findings reveal 3 emergent themes:
Spend: While companies are generally reducing spend, a sizable number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and more than any other factor, location in the world.
Digital: Looking forward, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers as traditional sales interactions.
Remote: Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a video conferencing (VC) / Phone / Web Sales Model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.
There is a great deal of uncertainty, but there are plenty of signals that indicate an acceleration of previous trends – Omni-channel selling, Inside Sales, Tech-enabled selling, eCommerce, rather than completely different behaviors.
Sales Leaders are moving quickly to navigate the crisis focusing on how to make targeted changes that help their businesses weather the storm and start preparing for the recovery.
Once Sales Leaders have stabilized the immediate situation, they must turn to what it will take to sustain momentum despite social distancing and invest to rebound in the recovery. Companies in every industry have the opportunity to come out of the crisis as winners. In fact, 14% of companies were able to not only accelerate growth but also increase profitability during the past four recessions, according to a recent BCG study.
Sales Leaders are doing the following strategically:
- Emphasize that their business now stressed, not unviable, investing in business continuity will be key.
- Offer deferred payments, or sell in modules. It is vital to get new customers on board, no matter how small the ticket size of the sale is.
- Look for diversifying your clientele, perhaps sell to the sector having windfall now, Telecom, Insurance, Pharma, Media & OTT, etc., they may have urgent needs to cater to rising demand and if you provide the tools to meet that, then it’s a win-win.
- A bird in hand is worth it. Engage your existing clients, retaining them is crucial, go the distance to ensure you invest in their success.