How to be a strategic advisor to your customers
Travel restrictions, changes in market demand, remote workforces, and other obstacles caused by COVID-19 are challenging organizations to pivot sales strategies quickly. Nearly one-in-four U.S. workers — 38.1 million out of 157.5 million — are employed in industries most likely to feel an immediate impact from the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
Because of these seismic shifts in the global economy, the selling environment has changed. The challenges you are facing likely include:
Slowed or stalled engagement with prospects
Difficulty finding the messages that resonate with customers
Challenges shifting from in-person meetings to over the phone or video
While every company is uniquely affected, sales and channel organizations face the urgent need to generate pipeline and revenue. The worst thing a sales professional could do right now is to take a "sit-back-and-wait-until-things-return-to-normal" approach to selling. Now, more than ever, you need to create value and connection with prospects and existing customers. Companies that find new and more efficient ways of working and selling will come out on top.
Here are three tips you can implement today:
1. Reevaluate your account plans and take more time for call prep
Research will be your differentiator in driving a compelling remote engagement! Think about where your prospect is located, the market they serve, and the industry they are in before reaching out. When reorganizing and prioritizing your accounts here are the top factors to consider:
Potential revenue, time, and customer type
How simple is the selling cycle?
Is it an existing customer (and relationship) or new?
Do you have strong or weak relationships within the account?
What are the cross-sell/upsell opportunities?
Industries that have been highly impacted by the pandemic need to be nurtured (i.e. hospitality, retail, transportation)
Others are growing and high in buying activity (i.e. biopharmaceuticals, healthcare, public sector, PPE manufacturing, finance)
2. Collaborate, don't pitch
It is more important than ever to deliver messages that resonate with customers' specific business challenges. Your 'why buy now?' messaging likely needs to change to reflect today's business realities and changing objectives. However, something that hasn't changed — the importance of asking questions and letting your prospect/customers tell you what their challenges, goals, and priorities are.
Ask your prospects:
How have their priorities changed in the last 6 months, 1 month, or even 1 week? Are they facing more risk or opportunity?
What outcomes are you hoping for?
How do we work our way through this together?
3. Get social
Research shows buyers are not just using social media for research anymore; they are increasingly using it as a major decision-making strategy. After all, 41% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content online before they engage with a salesperson. Take some time and get on social media to amplify your message and gain greater visibility.
Taking the next steps
While COVID-19 is changing where and how people work, it does not have to mean missing your sales quota. At the end of the day, the world is still turning, and deals are closing. Use these tips to develop relationships in your key accounts and help them solve a business need. Block some time on your calendar this week to start your plan!
Looking for more? Check out our "How-to guide for expanding market research with social selling" eBook to discover more ways your partner organization can use social selling tactics in this new selling environment.