Why selling strategies must change post-lockdown2.07.2020
There is no doubt that consumer behaviours have evolved during lockdown. When something as significant as a global pandemic occurs, it stands to reason that our outlook as individuals will be impacted.
Isolation has created an opportunity to reassess what’s important, with many showing a desire to prioritise personal wellbeing – this is certainly something that we’ve observed with our Partners and staff. These shifting priorities will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on business operations and buying behaviours.
The impact on the global economy has already been significant, and there is likely more to come. Sadly for many businesses, 2020 sales forecasts have been written off and as we see in the news, many businesses are facing closure.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, and our channel finds itself in a unique position, in that the solutions we provide are key to supporting the new way of working. However, if channel brands want to succeed, they need to understand, respect and respond to this new reality.
Approaching ‘the new normal’ in terms of sales
It’s important to be proactive – there is opportunity in the channel, for those who are willing to adapt. At the beginning of lockdown we understandably observed a lot of hesitation due to uncertainty. But the country’s circumstances have become normalised, for now at least. Agree a strategy for today and push ahead.
Working closely with our Partners has allowed us to evaluate what’s important for them, so that we can place our focus in the right areas. For example, the ISDN and PSTN switch-off is unrelated to the pandemic, but the deadline remains and Partners need to be proactive. We have been working closely with impacted Partners to help them prepare their business, and their customers.
Adapt sales methodology, with a focus on delivering real value
Human to human connections are more important than ever, and communication plays a huge role in that. Most sales people are social creatures who thrive in a one to one situation, but having a screen between you and your prospect can strip away some of your best sales techniques. Provide training and support to your sales team and equip them with the right tools for the job, to sell remotely.
Prospecting through social media has become a priority for many of our Partners. Our Marketing team have been providing support and advice on how to succeed in this space during lockdown. Webinar fatigue is now setting in, but smaller, more targeted events and focussed Q&A sessions have worked well and deliver real value.
Reposition your products to fit with today’s circumstances
Demonstrating your value is key. Buyers are likely to be more hesitant to spend money and to make a commitment, but many business owners are examining their overheads and seeking out new alternatives. In understating more about their individual circumstances, you can offer a solution which really fits.
Companies have been slowly but surely moving towards allowing remote working, and this situation has simply accelerated that movement. As well as home working, customer priorities now include business continuity, disaster recovery, the ability to adapt to growth and downsizing. Repositioning your solutions to fit with these themes will allow you to fulfil the demand that’s out there. Targeting these customers in a very personalised way will boost results. As an example, customers in the hospitality space currently have very different needs and timelines, compared to those in retail – speak to your customers in a way that resonates with their individual circumstances.
Relationship building is the cornerstone of sales, and the fundamentals which make a positive relationship haven’t changed. Practice empathy and be human. Show goodwill and communicate often. If customers feel that you have listened and understand their needs during this period, you’ll come through the other side with an even stronger partnership.
For 9, Partner satisfaction remains our priority. Our relationships with our Partners and our teams are stronger than ever, as we have been through a time of crisis together.