With unprecedented speed and scale, the COVID-19 outbreak has upended B2B salesforces across the world. Rather than viewing these new challenging times through the lens of adversity, companies are pivoting fast and creating opportunities out of uncertainty.
In the short term, they should turn to the latest innovations to rebound from the crisis smarter, better and stronger. Empowered by the new dynamics virtual selling is creating in their workforces, sales leaders are increasingly leaning on emerging technologies. This will help them remain relevant in a rapidly shifting market while maintaining critical business continuity.
Without a doubt, buyer priorities are evolving. When the pandemic eventually subsides, B2B selling will be changed. To survive and thrive over the long term, organizations should have to fundamentally reinvent the way their B2B salesforces interact with customers.
The traditional ways of selling are giving way to innovative approaches that will alter the way we communicate and do business—often for the better.
Preparing for the next
The time to act in bold new ways is now. To best prepare for the immediate and long-lasting effects of COVID-19, business leaders must adapt and rise to mounting challenges quickly. It’s time to embrace the unpredictable. Enterprises must take strategic steps to combat the economic consequences of the crisis, successfully capture market share and keep pace with constantly shifting customer demand.
To help capture new opportunities, consider these recommended five powerful B2B sales dynamics:
Re-Discover Your Customer
The leaders of tomorrow must pioneer new ways of hearing and understanding customer needs while staying close now and in the future as their market and needs change. To continuously nurture real-time customer visibility, proactively reach out with empathetic messaging, enhance selling approaches with AI-powered tools and deepen sales integration to nurture opportunities at scale.
Re-Focus the Salesforce
To reinvigorate the new sales journey and double-down on high-value opportunities, look beyond historical leads. Source new ones instead from your most promising social media exchanges, referrals from existing customers and service exchanges. Rewrite your sales playbook, carving out a competitive advantage by elevating the core sales interaction moments that matter. Train your sales teams on the latest and most innovative digital and virtual deal execution methods and tools.
Re-Imagine the Offer
Be open to embracing new narratives, approaches and terms. Reposition existing product and service offers to exceed your customers’ unmet needs in real-time. This requires continuous use of emerging customer data sources and predictive AI tools that uncover propensity-to-buy shifts. Never stop innovating, testing and refining your approach as you go.
Re-Set Your Sales Approach
Focus sellers on the highest-value and highest-probability opportunities and activities. These include cross-selling, upselling and customer retention strategies. To encourage sales teams to focus on the top customers and new product bundles, double-down on incentives and discounting policies. Go a step further and revisit your existing channel mix in ways that make it easy to shift targeted customers to a direct model.
Re-Enable Your Sales Teams
Make it fast, focused and easy for your team to unlock the potential of marketing, sales and service platforms. Putting the right data-driven tools in their hands can help them capture a 360-degree view of your customers—and act fast and effectively on crucial opportunities. At the same time, these innovations can allow sales account teams and leadership to collaborate seamlessly together—and ultimately win.
The COVID-19 crisis will forever alter how sales teams interact with and serve customers the world over. To address uncertainty, remain relevant, stabilize revenue, and forge disruptive new growth pathways, B2B organizational leaders should reinvent their approach to sales now, focusing on the following four key areas:
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Create customer visibility and outreach in a rapidly changing environment
Reimagine offers to meet evolving needs of customers
Protect and recapture revenue in the new normal
Rebalance sales talent, assets and investments
Navigating uncertainty requires a new playbook
These trying times will have a lasting ripple effect on consumer behaviors, supply chains and routes to market. Sales operations will be heavily impacted.
Out of uncertainty springs innovation and ingenuity. Unprecedented times bring about unprecedented opportunities. Amid disruption, resilience and reinvention create hope and a lasting change for sales operations.