How to Improve B2B Sales Productivity During the Crisis?
9 minutes read
In sales, it’s normal to deal with slow seasons, bad seasons, and horrible seasons. But none of those compare to the current situation.
The outbreak that has shook the world is ultimately affecting our lifestyles, our plans, our economy and, naturally, our businesses.
While a lot of big companies have already established ‘Work From Home’ policies and processes that are well equipped for the crisis, others are still figuring out a way. And, many B2B organizations are experiencing immediate challenges including decline or stoppage in cash flow. There are also issues like dried up pipelines, deal slippage, postponed meetings and decline in site visits. But, the good news is that by carefully planning and implementing a few things these challenges can be overcomed.
We have curated 7 tips for the B2B managers which they can implement quickly and easily to improve the efficiency and productivity of their sales staff working remotely. Check them out:
1. Go virtual with your sales
Given the sudden change in situations, it is important to learn how to excel at selling remotely. And, we need to do this quickly. Think about how to turn everything virtual and what assets you would need to do that. Set up a virtual procedure which enables you and your team to handle the end-to-end cycle of selling and buying.
Here is how you can do various sales activities virtually:
- Business prospecting-- Leverage Social media platforms to do prospecting.
- Promoting the company’s brand-- Run social media and email campaigns to promote your brand.
- Introducing a product to the customer-- List it on your website or use video call to give a demo to your customers or leads.
- Face-to-face meeting-- Use live video calling like skype or zoom
- Keeping a track of sales activities-- Leverage CRM or a digital sales platform
- Closing a sale-- Do it through a live video conference where all the stakeholders can join in to close the deal.
2. Provide right set of tools for your sales reps
Equipping your sales staff with the right set of tools ensures that they are efficient and productive while working remotely. Since it’s remote work the tools are going to be tech tools. So, invest in the right tech stack so that your sales reps work quickly and efficiently.
The tech stack should typically include CRM platforms, phone applications and video call applications apart from the hardware on which they will be run. While choosing these tech tools, make sure that they meet your virtual selling requirement. Here are certain things to check:
- The software’s compatibility with the hardware on which it will run
- The picture quality of the video calling platform
- The voice quality of the voice and video calling applications
- How the screen sharing works in these applications?
- The speed of the internet
- If the digital sales tools provide real-time tracking of the sales activities.
- If they provide real-time analytics and reports of sales activities etc.
3. Prepare your team for virtual meetings
Since in person meetings are no longer an option, the best way to replicate this face-to-face experience is through video calls. But, holding a meeting virtually requires certain special preparations from the sales rep’s end.
Note: - Even if your sales reps are used to working from home and selling remotely, chances are that the prospects may not be. So they need to keep this in mind and if required help the prospects as well in starting the virtual meeting.
Here are certain things that a sales rep needs to keep in mind while holding a virtual meeting:
Dress up in formals for the meeting even though they are working from home.
Make sure that they have have a professional set-up around them like a home-office (if possible)
Make sure that their laptop is properly charged and the audio and video on their system is working properly. Also, if they are presenting or giving a demo, then ensure that the presentation or the demo is all ready to be shown to the customer.
Strike a balance between formal and informal conversation during their video calls. Small talk always helps in establishing a connection remotely.
Using more of chat conversations than emails in order to exchange any information. This provides a dynamic and faster way to communicate.
Asking the right strategic questions at the right time to uncover the customer’s needs.
Be extra patient while handling objections
4. Get creative with the sales pitching/demos
Sales reps might have been used to giving the presentations to their customers, in-person and on the big projector screen. Or they might have been showing a live-demo of the product to the customers. But, to suit the current scenario, they need to repackage their sales pitch/demo into a virtual presentation.
And, this may require a shift in their methods of pitching or giving demos. They need to get creative here in order to truly take the product to the customers through their screens and make them clearly understand every aspect of it. Because this is what is going to determine if the customer is going to buy from you or not. So, prepare them to be innovative, and keep sales going forward by doing stuff that they never did before. Such as
- Taking the customer on a virtual factory floor tour (using FaceTime or video conferencing apps)
- Making an in-depth product presentation that involves the technical staff who normally will not be involved in the sale until later.
- Sending a YouTube video of your product or solution to your client in action, and then speak to them via web conference while watching the video together.
Leverage SmartWinnr’s video coaching to make your reps practice and improve their sales pitches and demos.
5. Establish virtual coordination between the sales team and the marketing team
It’s important for the sales and marketing teams to coordinate virtually with each other during this time. Togather, these two teams have the power and capability to support your existing customers and grow your lead base during these crises. Here is how the collaboration and coordination between these two teams can help your business.
- Content: There is no doubt that the sales teams can maintain a good relation with their customers when they provide them with the right information at the right time.They need to share the latest developments that distinguish the product from your competitors, and share your uplifting brand stories in terms of awards and customer wins. All this content can be shared as blogs, monthly newsletters, white paper etc. This is where the marketing team can help the sales team with this content. The sales teams can tell the marketing team about what kind of content is relevant to the customers. And then the marketing team can generate that content and use it to bring in the leads. These leads can then be taken over by the sales team to advance them to the next stages of the buying process.
Pro Tip: - Focus on value-added content at this time as traditional demand gen and aggressive sales tactics are falling flat at a time when we are all uncertain, scared, and reeling from these conditions.
Social Media: Social media plays a major role in keeping you in touch with your customers and new leads. Social media sites like Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are where your customers review your product, discuss their buying decisions, and share reviews on your business. So, this becomes your asset. You need to stay in contact with your customers through social media, at every touchpoint The sales and marketing teams should co-ordinate here and plan:
What kind of social media campaigns to run during this crisis
What segment of customers to target on social media platforms right now
How to nurture the leads who show interest
6. Nurture Existing accounts
At present, it is much easier and cheaper to nurture and grow existing customer accounts than to get new ones. So, companies need to focus on serving their existing customers well and keeping in touch with them. Trust and quality of your service plays a major role here to engage your existing customers so that they don’t switch to another vendor.
While it takes time to build trust with someone you don’t know, nurturing your hot leads and existing customers is the key to success during these times. Confidence is one of the main elements which causes companies to choose one company over another.
P.S: - Remember that confidence is one of the main elements in the B2B market which causes companies to choose one company over another.
7. Don’t stop Prospecting
Economic crisis or not, prospecting is the one thing that should never stop in b2b business. This is a golden rule that every B2B business should swear by. However, at present, prospecting for the b2b businesses has become as important as oxygen for the living beings. Your business needs it to survive. So, we need to stock-up on leads just like how we stock up on supplies during the quarantine, to ensure that the business runs smoothly.
Here are a couple of reasons why prospecting is extremely important now:
We are swimming in unprecedented waters right now. No one really knows if this outbreak is going to be a short-term scare or it worsens than expected. We are not sure if the economy is going to fall into a deep recession or if it is going to recover soon. So having a well-stocked pipeline of revenue opportunities is never a bad idea.
The worst thing that you could do while operating remotely is going off the radar. If that happens your prospects are not going to remember you for a long time because they might have other important things to focus on. This leads to draining out your chances of reconnecting with them post the outbreak. So make sure that you stay on the top of their mind by connecting with them every now and then via online platforms. Share valuable content and information with them via social media and online tools. This ensures that you have an audience to engage with once things get back to normal.
Also, it’s important that you do prospecting now rather than later. Prospecting early on ensures that you have enough time to advance your prospects through the sales pipeline. So, put in more efforts, energy and money into bringing in more leads.
Pro Tip: - It’s important that you do prospecting now rather than later. Prospecting early on ensures that you have enough time to advance your prospects through the sales pipeline. So, put in more efforts, energy and money into bringing in more leads.
Published on Tue Apr 7 2020