The world is struggling with unprecedented new challenges. No industry has been untouched, and for B2B salespeople it’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect with prospects.
As the nature of work shifts, economic repercussions impact businesses, and large gatherings of people are limited, salespeople must find new avenues for building genuine relationships.
The good news? If you can learn how to not only survive but thrive during these times, then you’ll be in a better position for future business.
Here’s my top advice to lead you in the right direction.
1. Stay Calm and Focused
Try your best not to panic.
As offices close and events disappear our most common methods of connecting with leads are lost. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options available.
95% of B2B sales and marketing professionals are already using LinkedIn to connect with potential prospects. Social media sites, email, and other online platforms are all viable places to connect when prospects aren’t able to attend live events.
Think about new ways you can engage with your audience. During this time you can also refine your messaging to ensure the people you’re connecting with are suited to your sales strategy. For instance, consider going for mid-tier decision-makers, rather than continually trying to communicate with busy business owners.
Effective targeting in this confusing time is about examining the unique needs of your industry and what you have to offer.
2. Make the Most of Your Data
In a world where data is one of the most valuable resources we have, information can act as a useful compass when it’s not business as usual. Behavioral data provides useful insights into which companies are accomplishing the most in searches for keywords related to your offering.
Sales engagement tools provide helpful insights into the pain points and expectations of your audience. However, because you only get part of the picture with your CRM technology, it’s important to find ways to augment that internal data.
With a suite of guided selling tools for CRM and email integration, automated sequences, and revenue acceleration, you can pull a selection of crucial data points together. This provides a more complete and accurate view of what’s happening in your market.
For instance, in 2020 we have seen many areas implementing stay-at-home orders. This meant people could no longer visit their office sites to work with their teams. As a result, many businesses began offering software solutions that supported a remote workforce. Cloud-based workforce optimization tools and collaboration suites soared in popularity.
Examining the data in your landscape could help you to come up with better strategies on how to achieve your goals or pivot your offerings.
3. Build The Right Tech Stack
We’ve already touched on the value of a tech stack for accessing CRM information. The right CRO technology (Customer Revenue Optimization) can help keep sales teams engaged and moving in theright direction during a crisis.
In addition to CRO technology, these tools are also valuable additions to your tech stack:
Collaboration software — Tools that allow your teams to stay connected through instant messaging, video conferencing, and audio sessions will be essential. Remote workers need to feel as though they’re still part of a cohesive team.
Work tracking tools — Sales leaders need to implement online tools that support sales rep productivity. If your CRO solution doesn’t come with time and project tracking built-in, you’ll need another way to add those things to your stack.
Contact center technology — If your sales strategy involves a lot of cold outreach you’ll need to ensure that all of your contact center technology is set up on the cloud. This will allow teams to adequately support customers from a distance.
You also want to make sure your team has access to tools like video cameras for conferencing and backup software for disaster prevention. Business leaders must ensure that their pros have what they need to perform their jobs in this unusual environment.
4. Embrace the New Digital Landscape
In another time, our current realities could have shut down the entire business world. Without the technology we have today, we would have had no way to connect with B2B clients.
Fortunately the digital revolution has left some doors open in this complex environment. If you wanted to plan an event where participants were introduced to your software, you have the option to make it a reality.
Just because you can’t host an in-person conference doesn’t mean that there aren’t options available. If you already have people signed up for your conference, invite them to come to a digital version of the event instead. You can host your experience online using video and introduce people to what you have to offer that way.
Many video conferencing and webinar tools now come with “hand-raising” functionality which allows businesses to hold Q&A sessions. This could be an excellent way to figure out what your customers are most concerned about when deciding whether to buy your solutions.
You can use the information you gather here with the data in your CRO to discover new opportunities. Would your customers like an online learning experience? Perhaps you could host a podcast? Now is the time to experiment with these new mediums to connect with your customers in a new way.
5. Stay Active
The last thing you want is for your business to be out of sight and out of mind in this new environment. Your customers are going to remember the businesses that offer them genuine value during this complex time. That means that you need to think about how you can maintain a valuable presence wherever you are.
Around74% of people say that they listen to podcasts to learn new things. With this information in mind, you could consider hosting your own podcast, answering critical questions for your audience and telling them everything they need to know about your product.
Combine your audio content with webinars and video calls with leads. Everyday interactions can still happen in a digital environment where social distancing is the norm. Some businesses are even exploring the possibilities of more futuristic pieces of tech. Apple has embraced the potential of AR to deliver sales demonstrations without hosting any meetings in person.
All businesses are dealing with complicated new challenges. We’re faced with issues we’ve never encountered before on a massive scale.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should just give up and watch your sales dwindle.
As difficult as it might be to adapt to this new way of doing business, companies that are able to pivot will be the ones that remain strong.
Your aim shouldn’t be to simply look forward to the day when you can return to business as usual. Instead you need to be actively looking for ways to adapt and evolve. Not only will adapting to this current landscape improve your chances of continued sales, but it will prove your strength and versatility to your clients as well.
Originally published May 25, 2020 8:30:00 AM, updated May 25 2020