There’s always some level of uncertainty in the world of sales. Sometimes a particularly motivated buyer suddenly goes silent, and sometimes a big, delicious deal closes sooner than expected. It's all part of the job's thrill. But sometimes external changes bring new kinds of uncertainty — like when there’s an economic downturn, or when you change from field sales to inside sales, or when both those things happen at the same time. It can feel like you don’t know how to do your job anymore. If that's how you’re feeling right now, here are five tips to turn your current challenges into opportunities.

How to Sell Through Uncertainty 

The way that people buy has drastically changed over the past few weeks. The days of handshake deals over coffee have been put on pause, and many are wondering how sales people will adjust. Is it still possible to build a pipeline and sell in a remote and hesitant world? 

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We have five tips to help you manage your sales pipeline and efforts during times of uncertainty: 

  • Examine Reality 
  • Target Growth 
  • Increase Engagement 
  • Improve Personalization 
  • Educate and Empower 

Examine Reality

When reality is murky, nothing helps quite like a healthy dose of data. HubSpot has been releasing weekly benchmark data to help you decide when short- or long-term adjustments to your strategy may be needed.

Some recent HubSpot data found:

  • Weekly average sales call volume has maintained an approximate 20% decrease from pre-COVID averages, but the number of meetings booked increased from around 7% below pre-COVID averages in the first few weeks to 10% above pre-COVID averages.
  • Deals closed improved 9% week-over-week, but the volume of deals closed is still 22% lower than pre-COVID averages.
  • Sales teams created 8% more deals than the week of April 13. This is an improvement, but it is still trending 15% below pre-COVID levels.

Check out more benchmark data on selling through uncertainty:

After Weeks of Decline, Sales Metrics Showing Signs of Recovery [COVID-19 Benchmark Data]

Target Growth

During any economic downturn, the headlines tend to focus on struggling industries, but every downturn has an upside. But the people and businesses experiencing that upside sometimes need help adapting to these economic changes and can afford to get that help. If your solution isn’t tied to a specific industry, expand your target market to include the sectors where growth is happening.

Companies in these industries may already be looking into your solution. If your website has HubSpot’s tracking code installed, you can use the Prospects tool to see a list of companies that have visited your website. You can filter them by industry, size, location, and a variety of other factors.

Increase Engagement

Our data shows that chat volume has steadily increased over the last two months, and we believe this number will continue to grow. Conversational marketing offers a real-time way to answer customer questions and automate the lead routing process to allow your business to serve prospective and existing customers even when your team is out of the office.

Get up to speed with this beginner’s guide to conversational marketing.

Improve Personalization

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding a lot of emails in my inbox from companies I haven’t heard from in years. Unfortunately, in many cases, I can’t figure out why they thought I was interested in those emails, especially now.

Anytime there’s a change in the world that causes a surge of emails to go out — whether that’s a change to privacy regulations that forces everyone to update their terms of service or a global pandemic that changes society norms around the world — you need to find a way to stand out in your recipients’ inboxes. And the best way to do that is through personalization. Make sure you’re sending emails to specific people for a specific reason — and make sure that reason is clear.

One great way to do this is to send a personalized video to someone. When it’s clear that you recorded a video for one specific person, they’re much more likely to engage and respond.

And HubSpot recently announced that our 1:1 video tool is available for free for 90 days from activation.

Educate and Empower

But what if your solution is built for a specific industry and that industry is floundering? That’s still an opportunity for you. As a salesperson, you have huge expertise in an industry. You’ve talked with many different people at many different companies, and you’ve noticed patterns between them that are invisible to them. Now is the time for you to use that expertise to help the people of that industry set their priorities.

For a moment, stop thinking about selling your product and start looking for opportunities to advise people. You know what their top goals were before the world turned upside down, and you probably have a pretty good idea of the challenges they’re facing now. Help them see beyond the gloomy present to achieve their goals. Lean into thought-leadership by publishing blog posts and videos that will help your prospects weather the storm. As they come to trust you as a source of reliable and actionable information, sales conversations will happen naturally.

The biggest trick is getting found, so check out our SEO course to get started.

There are your five tips for getting through any uncertain time. Give one or all of them a try and let us know how it goes.

Want to connect with others on HubSpot tips, tricks, and updates? Head over to the HubSpot Community to join a conversation or start one of your own.

Continue to learn more with us in the:

Adapt 2020: An Education Series 

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Originally published May 7, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated May 07 2020