The impact of COVID-19 has been significant everywhere in the world.
This global pandemic has forced countless businesses to shut their doors and move their sales strategies online. Events have been cancelled, face-to-face meetings are no more, and the demand for efficient digital selling opportunities is greater than ever.
Gradually, however, the world is returning to the office. Lockdown requirements are easing, and the economy seems to be slowly opening for business. However, there’s no return to “normal” in the cards. All companies will need to continue to evolve and adapt.
After all, the pandemic hasn’t just been a dip in the road for most of us. This event has caused a fundamental shift in the way we work.
So, how do you ensure you still hit your sales targets when you return to work?
Step 1: Create a Cohesive Plan
Only 10 percent of executives have done extensive planning on how they’re going to return to work. Unfortunately, rushing into old-fashioned processes too quickly could harm not just your bottom line but your business reputation.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep a close eye on the marketplace and how you need to adjust going forward. Are other companies in your landscape jumping straight back into face-to-face meetings, or are they maintaining an online approach because it worked better for their clients?
Will the new services and solutions you brought into your business continue to appeal to customers when the pandemic is over, or will you need to shift your strategy again? Perhaps you’ve discovered a new market in this time, and you need to think about maintaining their interest. For instance, companies selling marketing software may have begun hosting Webinars during the lockdown. If that’s the case for you, is there still demand for that education?
Our recent research has shown that outbound sales activities increased by 18.5 percent in the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year. Sales teams are strengthening relationships with customers through calls, social media, and SMS. The demand for digital conversations is growing.
Think about the routes to market you’ve established in recent months – and the ones you’ve replaced or updated. Can you carry on as normal or do you need to create a hybrid strategy that combines old and new processes?
Step 2: Don’t Rush Straight Back to the Office
When the traditional business environment re-opens and your staff can go back to the office, you’ll need to think about whether a traditional workplace is really still suitable for you. Despite the availability of traditional workplaces, it will be prudent for many businesses to continue some form of remote working for as long as possible.
For instance, some customers might not feel comfortable approaching your business if there are too many people working in the same space – even after the virus has begun to slow. Additionally, for economic reasons, many organizations will find it helpful to keep staff working from home. Reducing the overheads of a brick-and-mortar office ensures you’ll have more money to spend on business growth.
If you’ve already built a process using cloud-based tools for customer engagement and revenue optimization, then there’s no reason to go back to the way things were.
Elinor Stutz, SmoothSale™ motivational speaker and sales trainer, says that concern for employee wellbeing should be essential right now. Make sure you have the needs of your team and your customers in mind as you return to work.
Step 3: Keep Building Your Online Presence
Even when businesses are able to start re-opening, the entry into the typical face-to-face world will likely be slow. With that in mind, we probably won’t see any huge global sales events for several months. You won’t be able to present demonstrations to your customers face-to-face as you did before, and there will be a bigger focus on maintaining a strong online presence.
With a little luck, you’ve already started to improve your reputation online in these past couple of months. Perhaps you’ve got a strong social presence now, or you’re constantly rolling out new content to keep your customers coming back to your Website.
Whatever your strategy, continue building on it in the months to come, and remember to keep an eye on your digital engagement strategies. You might need to update your sequences based on whether you’re connecting with a client offline or online.
Step 4: Maintain Regular Communication
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to improve their communication strategy on a significant level. In the past couple months, many of us have been connecting with our customers (and even our colleagues) more than ever before. When you return to a regular workplace, it’s important not to allow your communication efforts to slide.
In some cases, a change in environment can lead to disruption and a loss of focus; but, if you maintain the same tools you’ve been using over the past few months, you can try to overcome this. For instance, if you already have policies in place for weekly video conferences that began when you started working remotely, stick to that strategy.
Having your video conference with people inside and outside the office will ensure your back end stays as well connected as possible. Additionally, when it comes to communicating with clients, make sure you’re still touching base using the methods they prefer. This could mean sending messages over social media or just creating a weekly newsletter to be sent via email.
Step 5: Grow from What You’ve Learned
The changes to the workplace caused by COVID-19 have pushed many businesses into a disruptive environment they simply weren’t ready for. However, despite the stress and hardships, many companies have uncovered benefits to this new way of working they never considered.
For instance, you might find you now have stronger inter-team collaborative processes and better employee work/life balance. You might find your online revenue optimization tools have helped you better pinpoint the best ways of connecting with your customers so you now have more engaged clients.
Don’t just return to business as usual; take the lessons you’ve learned over the past couple months with you into the year ahead.
Sean Sheppard, the founder of GrowthX, thinks now could be the perfect time to focus more aggressively on a specific subset of people you know you can help most.
Returning to Work after COVID-19
Ultimately, the impact COVID-19 has had on the world of work can’t be overestimated. Many of us have been forced to drastically change our sales strategy, just to stay afloat. However, the good news is that we can take what we’ve learned and use it to become stronger in the months and years ahead.
Our own research proves that sales opportunities are rising. However, the world will need to be prepared for a shift in processes. The offline world is switching to online. Everywhere you look, empathy is the key to better customer conversations.
Are you ready for what comes next?