We are in week 6 of lockdown, week 8 of voluntary work-from-home, while adapting, guiding and directing companies who still need to sell their products and services to generate revenue. At this point sales is about so much more than generating revenue for profit or to keep employees working.
For most companies, sales is now about generating revenue to survive, as we stare down a whole new way of doing business. Forget uncertainty! Where we are right now is downright scary. But if the past 6 weeks have taught us anything, it's that with the right tools, strategies, mindset and tactics, we can adapt and even thrive. For those who may read this after May 1, 2020, the following best practices are based on where we are as I write this on April 27, 2020.
It's not just the geographically distributed sales teams anymore; it's everyone, and we need to consider the biggest challenges of leading remote sales teams:
They are looking to you for reassurance, positivity, motivation, success stories, support, guidance, direction and hope. They are afraid:
The one thing that every salesperson can do right now is build pipeline.
I can't think of a single reason why you would waste salespeople's time by having them complete call reports. Consider:
The one thing that every salesperson can do right now is build pipeline. My conversations with CEOs reveal two problems: Delayed closes and insufficient pipelines to compensate so:
Forget 50% of your time coaching! It needs to be 75% of your time. You have the time, even if you are responsible for personal accounts. Every salesperson, every day, for a minimum of 30-minutes of one-on-one coaching to:
It's time to rethink your KPI's:
You may have lost entire Verticals (like travel/tourism), Segments (small specialty retail is a segment of retail) or Audiences (sales enablement and learning and development have been casualties).
I can't be more clear about this and you have no option but to do something about this. If your salespeople continue to take a present/demo/quote/proposal-based approach to selling they will fail and the only business you will get will be low-margin business. Only 15% of all salespeople have all four of the critical skills below as a strength:
I'm sorry but you can't put this off. There is no way around this. You must do this today, unless you got PPP funding, in which case you must do this at 60 days post-funding! You must be able to generate more revenue with fewer salespeople
Consider factors other than revenue and performance
If you have the cash flow to hire salespeople, do it now. This is the first time in about five years that good candidates are available and actively looking for their next home. Just make sure:
Get Help! Sure you want to be a superhero but Kryptonite brought Superman to his knees and the enemy we are fighting today is our version of Kryptonite. Don't be embarrassed to ask an expert for help.
Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best selling author, successful entrepreneur and sales development industry pioneer. The founder and CEO of the Objective Management Group, Inc., the leading developer of sales assessment tools, headquartered in Westboro, Massachusetts. He is also the CEO of Kurlan & Associates, Inc., a leading sales force development firm. He has 3 decades of experience in all facets of sales development, including consulting, training, coaching, selection, strategy, systems, processes, and metrics.