When COVID-19 first took hold, the world simply referred to it as the “pandemic”. It was a broad enough term for a scary enough phenomenon that helped people process the massive, wide-reaching changes in their lives. Then, as things started to feel routine – as the world slowly adapted to these changes – a new term emerged. “The New Normal”.
The New Normal is a forward-looking term, with its feet planted in the present. It understands that this period of unrest and transition may take some time while acknowledging the continued changes people must make in order to thrive. The term applies to any industry, any profession – but it has special resonance in the world of selling.
For some time before the corona virus outbreak, sales had been changing. The traditional practice of “outside sales” where salespeople communicated face-to-face with prospects and clients was slowly being supplanted in part by “inside sales,” the practice of selling remotely, by telephone, email, and text, etc. This helped sales teams and sales leaders get a head start in the New Normal.
But what are some other ways that sales leaders have navigated the new normal? What does the new landscape look like? Here, let’s discuss some of the changes selling has undergone to keep apace with “The New Normal.”
Utilizing Technology for Better Remote Selling
As mentioned, remote selling has been around for some time. Still, transitioning a sales team to remote selling has meant that managers have had to embrace new technologies and processes.
For instance, if they weren’t already, sales managers are now utilizing sales tracking software to monitor their employees’ individual performance remotely, evaluate call metrics, and gain insights for better communication with marketing.
Tackling Decreased Productivity
Removed from the interpersonal pressure of a high-octane office, it’s a gamble whether employees will maintain their old productivity. Some thrive in an at-home environment. Others, surrounded by distraction and with no physical presence to which they are accountable, see a dip in productivity.
Sales managers now have to mobilize their team remotely – they have to monitor, motivate, and engage without face-to-face interaction. Workflow automation has certainly helped, though, as it cuts down drastically on administrative tasks, ensuring salespeople work as many leads as possible.
Understanding New Customer Behaviors
Sales has always understood the need for evolution. But not quite at this pace. It’s still unclear how customer and prospect behaviors are shifting in the COVID era, mainly because they continue to change. As many epidemiologists and scientific leaders have hastened to mention: this is a rapidly evolving situation. What’s true today might not be true tomorrow.
Sales managers have the unenviable task of quickly responding to new consumer demands and new prospect pain points. Luckily, according to this McKinsey report, B2B companies haven’t seen a drastic reduction in spending during the corona virus.
As everyone adjusts to the new normal, sales will as well. The most successful will be those who show that they can adapt quickly, leveraging new technologies, maintaining productivity, and understanding the constantly shifting demands of their clients and prospects.