Humans are an interesting lot – in order to feel more, well, “human,” we need a certain level of personal connectedness. We’re talking handshakes-and-hug, three-dimensional fellowship – not this digital, pixelated surrogate that has stood in for connectedness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Through wars, terrorism, and economic crises, the power of working together, and of a shared mindset, has seen us through. But as sales leaders, it can be tough to turn to those around us. Often, the people most familiar with what we face work for our competitors. Simply by our nature, the pressures of competition, and the need to protect proprietary information, sales leaders have chosen to live on islands – islands that, given the current state of affairs, can seem even more lonely and isolating.
In the scramble to adapt to the so-called “new normal,” outcomes such as social distancing, working remotely, stock market volatility, spending cuts, and uncertainty have rendered useless the 2020 go-to-market plans for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies alike.
As you are reading this blog, it is our hope that you are both safe and healthy, and also following the guidelines for helping to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. For the majority of workers, this likely means that we are now working from home – carving out a corner of our living space to continue to MAKE a living.
In our new normal of Zoom calls and Slack messages, sales managers are grappling with an essential truth: How do I keep my now-remote employees productive and engaged? And, in particular, how do I bridge the distance between us with the kind of curated connection that keeps us communicating with purpose?
Ask most sales professionals when they last took time for themselves, and you’ll likely be met with one of three reactions: A pregnant pause while they try to remember; a scoff about the preposterous nature of the question – or simply a blank stare.
We’ve all had those moments when a colleague or manager approached us with what they called “constructive feedback” – then unloaded on us with a list of grievances didn’t seem at all to be constructive.
That said, feedback is an indelible part of sales coaching – and when it comes to evaluating and sharing perspectives with your sales team, finding the right venue and message for your reflections is absolutely critical.
In today’s selling paradigm, it’s become clear that enterprises, too, are looking for that memorable experience when they seek out a vendor to fulfill their needs. No longer is it adequate to offer a feature and benefits dump and expect to close the deal. Instead, businesses are looking for a trusted advisor – someone knowledgeable on their company and its objectives, and able to suggest specific solutions, in detail, that will support greater efficiencies or increased sales.
My colleagues and I rely heavily on a concept called adult learning theory – and, more specifically to our training focus, how to best deliver the material so that it is maintained and retained by those receiving the information.
For every salesperson who has had to sit through a performance review, it would seem to be a dream scenario -- an anonymous, unfiltered, and direct opportunity to tell your sales management exactly how you feel about them.