COVID-19 has had drastic effects on many companies unequipped for a radical shift in how customers do business. The good news is, there is still money to be made, and those able to pivot in new directions can still achieve sales success. Sales leaders are advised to follow the five C’s of COVID-19 in order to effectively lead their teams, retain and gain customers, and reach their goals in unprecedented times.
Your customer is the same, but many things about them have changed. For one, their environment — most B2B buyers are now working remotely. They most certainly have new personal and/or professional challenges as a result of the pandemic. You need to understand your customers’ feelings, and connect to their new reality. Empathy was important before; now, it’s essential to your survival.
Now, it’s about quality over quantity, and about connecting differently. Forget about lead volume and focus more on personalization. Before reaching out to a customer or a prospect, train your sales team to audit past conversations, do their research and craft a meaningful and helpful message instead of a pitch. When a connection is made, provide an experience that’s quick, responsive and personal, and consider being more accommodating in your negotiations.
When it comes to your sales team, your customer and your business partners, empathy is everything. As a sales leader, how you respond today will be remembered long beyond COVID-19. Remember that everyone is going through something right now, and take a “helping versus selling” mentality.
So help your customers and prospects, regardless of whether you are going to make money or not. Your support during hard times will go a long way. Providing thoughtful ideas, helpful resources and responsive customer service without expectations will lead to long-standing relationships. For your staff, find new ways to connect with and support them, and give them extra grace during these difficult times.
Before making big changes, you need to be clear about your business’ purpose. Most businesses think they are until they really start thinking about it; this is hard, but necessary work. Decisions made today will have a lasting impact, and shouldn’t be made haphazardly.
So look closely at your foundation, and get clear on why your business exists. You need to be clear on your basics: what are your mission, vision and values? Only then should you start making adjustments to what you sell and how you sell it.
Now is not the time to stand still, and those who only know one way of doing things aren’t going to make it. You need to think about how you can adjust your business model with your existing knowledge, products and services to meet the needs of the times. Ask yourself:
- What matters to the customer now, and how can we accommodate them?
- How can we add or improve technology to make our product easier to use?
- How can we adjust what we currently sell to make it easier for customers to buy?
- What sectors are doing well during this time, and what do we sell that could be helpful to them?
- Can we add a product/service that complements what we already do, and could open up new opportunities?
Adjusting to COVID-19 is a challenge, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to get creative with your sales strategy and challenge your sales team. There are golden nuggets of opportunity everywhere, but you need to look for them.
Anything you’re not doing, your competitors are, so take a look at every aspect of your marketing and sales process, strategy and messaging. Find ways to adjust, improve and enhance each piece to better serve your prospect and customer, and their current needs. This is hard work, but the pay-off will be enormous once you find your new sweet spot.
If you’re struggling due to COVID-19, please reach out for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our sales experts. We’re here to talk through your challenges and make recommendations for creative solutions for immediate and lasting sales success.