Covid-19 and 4 Revamped Priorities Every Technology Sales Leader Needs To Pay Attention To!
The Covid-19 pandemic is not only changing how global teams and industries are going to function once lockdowns ease, it is creating a shift in the priority lists of technology marketing and sales teams. The “new normal” now requires technology sales leaders to shift focus on forecasting, better cost control and enhanced / unified access to analytics to help with business continuity.
Over the past few weeks, every sales leader has had to address the changing needs of their teams and the organization as a whole to align it to the evolving economic climate.
There is a certain degree of uncertainty that everyone is facing during this time.
During this phase though, how can tech sales leaders soften the effects of the global pandemic on their businesses?
Several studies have thrown light on how now is a crucial time as any for sales teams to continue focusing on enhancing business relationships with both prospects and customers, while being advisors to their potential clients, without actively trying to sell anything.
Here are four focus areas that every technology sales leader might need to pay more attention to, to help mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic given all of this.
1- Effective Management of Remote Sales Teams
The right CRM or CDP tool that helps sales and marketing track the status of every lead, prospect or sales conversation is what every sales leader needs to refocus attention on, especially at a time when global teams are working remote and it is a tad bit harder to get the right visibility on everyone’s efforts and status.
At the same time, while the above helps ensure that every sales person within a team is on the same page, another crucial aspect is implementing and setting down ground fundamentals to help a more seamless and collaborative effort among the team. This is where and when a sales leader has to redefine how their team operates during the time of the Covid-19 crisis.
Formalizing work from home policies, developing strategies to build better virtual experiences during both internal and client meetings, ensuring that there is a fair level of engagement among the team are also important priorities for any technology sales leader to focus on at this time. In several of these cases, sales will have to work closely with their Operations department to ensure a seamless process is implemented.
2- A complete shift in how forecasting is done
The risks that the current Covid-19 crisis have initiated have only gone to show how badly buyer confidence has been affected. This teamed with significant rise in job losses across sectors and growing economic uncertainty has impacted business plans as well as sales forecasts, to say the least.
What sales leaders and sales teams used as forecast parameters up until a few months ago, be it lead conversion rates to load rates may not be effective anymore. The unknowns created by the current economic climate are going to impact how revenue is generated and how revenue decisions are made, resulting therefore in a shift in how sales forecasts are to be made.
It is now time for technology sales leaders and teams to supplement their forecasting techniques and efforts with new indicators. Track buying triggers based on the economic condition while building a healthy business relationship with leads. Focus on strategic buyer behavior purchase intent and insights as well as signals to assess how demand will be affected for your segment or product over the next few months, before jotting down a new sales plan.
3- Re-looking Sales Analytics
It is all about data and metrics today, in every technology marketing and sales team. Analytics can inform a team’s core decision-making. Certain decisions need to be made basis specific metrics and performance.
At this time, it is crucial for sales teams and sales leaders to revisit the performance criteria and shortlist other focus metrics. Selling during a pandemic is a challenge. Most sales leaders have been talking about being empathetic and using this time to create and foster good business relationships.
Besides ensuring the above, what every sales leader can do is:
- have sales teams make a certain number of calls per day just to keep prospects warm
- ensure sales teams create shortlists from there to focus on converting them a few weeks after the pandemic situation eases up
- use this time to create a healthy pipeline of people who might be interested in buying from you/your company at a later stage
- besides this, assessing the deals that were almost at closure stage right before the pandemic hit hard and creating a different process for those at-risk deals is a good way to try and save the sales cycle
Sales leadership teams and sales members will have to work together at this point to rethink metrics and performance indicators given that focusing on meeting actual sales targets might not be the best way to assess productivity during this challenging time where buyer behavior is itself going through a change.
4- Reducing Cost of Sales
Every team, every business and sales leader is forced to re-assess their budgets and costs during a downturn. Knowing that the effects of Covid-19 are set to last a little longer also means that anticipating lower revenues will mean reducing overall budgets.
A recent Gartner poll of sales leaders shows that 63% of organizations have already cut sales operations budgets, and another 38% plan to cut their budgets in the next three months.
What can work at this time for sales is identifying new ways to add to revenue cycles while working closely with operations and other teams to try and close deals that were already in their final stages.
This is a time to focus on limiting expenses, automate more tasks and hire less while also rethinking incentives across the hierarchy. Above all, ensuring business continuity is what the priority for every employee should be during this challenging time!