As salespeople we are naturally resilient and strong, but how to keep selling in COVID-19 times? It is part of our DNA to keep going, quickly recovering from the many rejections we receive from prospects and the market, and this time is no different. No one saw the Coronavirus crisis coming – more than ever, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and tackle the situation.
It is a delicate subject and there is no right or wrong at the moment. Whilst many people believe businesses should completely shut down and that now isn’t a time to buy and sell, we understand that the economic impact on businesses and families will be more detrimental if companies stop buying and selling.
It’s a time of uncertainty for all industries; businesses need to be creative and quick to adapt to new challenges whilst supporting their team members, partners and clients as much as possible.
How to adapt
Just like in any crisis; some industries will be devastated by the impact caused, but for the ones that will be less affected, such as the B2B Software Industry, companies have a responsibility to help the economy flow. We all still have targets to meet – and will have to find ways to fuel the sales funnel.
The B2B Software industry has been seeing a massive hit regarding trade shows and industry events. Many events are being canceled or turned into virtual conferences, and the Face to Face element/networking opportunities are no longer possible, which in turn drastically decreases the number of leads and engagements.
The fear and uncertainty will also retract the market and organizations will see a smaller influx of inbound leads. So, how to adapt to the new reality?
A two-step approach
The first step is to acknowledge what the losses will be;
- How many leads were you forecasting from inbound activities or trade shows?
- What is the pipeline gap you will have without these activities?
The second step is to plan how to fill that void. We’ve typically seen companies switching their focus to two channels:
- Digital – which means Webinars, Digital Advertising, Content, etc
- Proactive Outreach / Outbound prospecting – which means a more human and tailored approach to get in touch with prospects via phone, email or social.
On the latter, there are a few elements that need to be taken into consideration when you reach out to a prospect, for example:
- Empathy – We are all human beings and maybe the person you are reaching out to has a close friend or family member that just lost their job, or even worse, is ill. The first thing to do in your outreach is to be human, address the issue, and feel the vibe of the conversation.
- Tone – The tone is fundamental in your approach. If you sense that the person on the other side of the line is not open to a conversation, make sure you back up and don’t be too pushy.
- Be patient and resilient – Some people won’t take it well that you are still trying to drive business in tough times. You will have to be even more resilient and work harder to get into conversations that will be open and interactive.
A few other considerations
When planning who to reach out to, switch your focus away from industries that have been more affected. Going after verticals like Hospitality, Insurance, Tourism, Health, etc is insensible and will only have a negative reflection on your company’s reputation.
Instead, think about how your solution can add value to industries that may struggle to cope with the demand (Retail, E-commerce, Internet solutions, etc). If there is a genuine way your company can support these industries, reaching out to them with the right message will be relevant and appreciated.
Even better, show solidarity and potentially offer your solution for free to certain industries that can use it to tackle the crisis.
As well as doing this, doing your research is even more fundamental than before. You may damage your company’s reputation if you reach out to organizations that have massively been affected by the crisis.
People are more open to talk
Currently, most people are working from home, meaning that they are much more receptive for interactions and happy to talk. Now is the time to have more conversations and to build relationships. Talk to people, listen to their challenges, understand their point of view and empathize with the situation. Whenever they need you or your solution in the future, they will remember you, so put all of your efforts into these calls, this will be crucial for your success in the future, even if not right now.
Look after your customers
In times where business may slow down, it’s time to look after your customers and make sure you are providing them with the value they need. It is an opportunity to get closer to your clients and strengthen these relationships. Understand the challenges they are facing, and be flexible in your business terms. Once this all is over – and it will be – they will remember the companies that stood by their side.
This article has been originally posted on Sales Hacker by Aurelien Mottier.
To learn more about how Operatix can help you avoid a Pipeline Gap during these times, get in touch here.