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How will my sales department remain operational during a second wave of COVID-19?

26/07/2020
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Jesse Huylebroeck
Sales Representative

The second wave is coming, not a nice thought for sales. It is not always easy for them to keep reaching their customers. Here are my tips for the months ahead.

To encourage the sales team, I would like to share my tips for coming months.

What activities can the sales team carry out during (a limited) lockdown?

B2B sales teams will do well to focus on generating high-quality leads during these months. After all, prospecting and thorough research are activities that can perfectly be carried out from home.

For example:

  • investigating lead lists
  • finding the right decision-makers at companies or
  • analyzing the needs of a potential customer in more detail

Some tips

Anyone who buys prospecting lists instead of compiling them, should be careful to pay attention. Mass mails according to the 'spray and pray' principle are a bad idea. You have to ensure quality emails and personalized communication is sent. If your message is irrelevant to the receiver, it will not only immediately ruin your chances, it is also bad for both you and your company’s reputation.

Sales profiles can make maximum use of LinkedIn during this period. Today is as good a time as any to upgrade your network and make new connections.

Contact the leads in your pipeline. Do not immediately expect to close a contract or transaction, but try to prepare the closing or a future contract well.

Raise your account management to a new level. Try to contact your customers in a meaningful way. These are good times to get to understand your accounts better. Video call them, or list your account plans for next year. Base them entirely on your clients’ needs and tailor your approach to them.

Organize a database clean-up. Not anyone’s favorite job, but if ever there was a time to start doing that... this is it. Remove your duplicates, label your data correctly, add relevant notes... I am not telling you anything new here, am I? ;-)

Review your marketing and sales materials. What options do you have to connect digitally with your customers? Can you offer products that can help customers with their digital transformation? Be creative and try to relate to them and understand their needs. If you notice that you are short on assets, meet with your marketing department to develop new assets or have them support you in developing them.

Having an understanding attitude is key! These are special times for everyone. Be considerate, show your compassion when necessary and do not expect everyone to be able to respond immediately. Your understanding will definitely produce better results than an aggressive approach would.

How do you increase customer engagement?

It is a good idea to think about some kind of engagement strategy with your colleagues to find ways to increase your engagement with your customers.

Try to determine customer segments or existing customers you are not yet communicating with, or try to stay in contact with them as good as you can. The reality is that a lot of people still work from home and may be happy with a short break in their routines.

You can stay in touch with them in different ways to ensure your company stays top of mind when they resume their activities or are ready to place orders again.

I will give you some ideas below.

  • Online events, but... keep them short and impactful. Online, you cannot count on the same amount of time that you would ask for in ‘real life’. Try to attract attention and inform your customers about your products, your services, or your image or brand values. Set up collaborations with your marketing team. There are plenty of content possibilities – do you opt for a formal webinar? Advertisements online? Valuable video content? There are various professional platforms for meetings, but more informal channels such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live can also work, provided you have enough followers.

TIP: ask a colleague to attend your session, so they can indicate when questions are asked.

  • Review your AdWords strategy. There are a lot of brands that are reducing their advertising budgets. Maybe this will allow you to bid on terms that were previously outside your cost-per-click budget. Re-evaluate your position and see how the new ads are converting.
  • Think Out Of The Box. Maybe you can collaborate with a complementary brand, influencers or experts who can add interesting value or insights to your content. Consider organizing an online contest.

Finally

Keep communicating. You may think the opposite is true, but now more than ever your teams, suppliers and customers expect clarity from your company. More relevant communication is always better than communicating too little out of fear.

About SmartSales

We were all required to work from home, with all the consequences it entailed. Many sectors were forced to close down, because employees were unable to work remotely. This raises the question of how to avoid this in the event of a second wave. The statement ‘Information is key’ shows that sales need information in order to meet customer demand. How do we provide this essential information?

The power of a mobile CRM tool/ SmartSales

In the past, a sales representative often had to rely on the back office for information varying from order history to sales visit reports, and from new promos to payment delays – and more.

If the sales team has this information readily available, it can effortlessly continue to manage their customers. As a result, the back office’s workload is reduced and sales can continue to work autonomously in similar situations.

SmartSales ensures that all information stored internally on the ERP and/or CRM system, becomes available to the sales team in a very user-friendly manner. The difference with an internal CRM system mainly lies in its use. It is possible to work remotely on the ERP or CRM system, but the sales representative always needs an internet connection to do so. SmartSales can be used completely offline, which means that all actions can be carried out at any time (actions are forwarded when an internet connection is established via Wi-Fi or a mobile network).

Moreover, ERP and/or CRM systems are often complex because of all the functionalities included, while a sales rep only needs specific information. By only providing these specific functionalities as user-friendly as possible, they will be able to optimally continue to work.

How are follow-ups organized?

During this period, existing customers can be followed up remotely. A remote system offers the opportunity to consult all customer data and to make changes if necessary. By linking SmartSales to the internal system, the latter will also be updated and work can continue safely from home.

The sales team will be able to continue to work efficiently and in a structured manner. The sales manager can follow up on his sales team by using the web manager by means of advanced reporting and dashboarding.

How to use SmartSales to communicate directly with the sales team?

If face-to-face conversations are not allowed, solutions to communicate directly become more important than ever. As a result, applications such as Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc. have become the new standard.

But how can we communicate directly by email and telephone? SmartSales offers the ‘Collaboration module’ as a solution.

This functionality can be compared to WhatsApp, but has an added application messages can be linked to a specific category (customer, contact person, order, product, document, etc.). As a result, the recipient immediately knows what the message is about, which results in direct and time-saving communication.

Try SmartSales for free

 

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