With an internal soundtrack fueled by Willie Nelson’s hit tune, “On the Road Again,” or perhaps with the melody of the Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ it to the Streets” in your head, it’s time to get back in the marketplace.
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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?
Seemingly overnight, the business world, as we know it, has changed, albeit temporarily. However, it’s hard not to imagine that some of these changes might become permanent. People, undoubtedly, will find more ways to be productive in a more virtual workspace – and, as I write this, I and my team are still trying to figure out the rules of engagement.
As sales professionals, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what the selling landscape will look like, both in the near, and long term. But two things are certain: We need to find ways to maintain some level of productivity during these heady times of social distancing and economic turmoil; and, though it’s hard to picture now, eventually, the threat will pass, the clouds will part, and we will need to be ready to resume activities in the new normal.
When last we met, we discussed the importance of embracing change as a means of improving your sales throughput – and further, that integrating new sales strategies is an exercise rooted in patience, and not in quick fixes.
My particular interest around this topic, understandably, is based on observations I’ve made after years of leading our IMPACT Sales training program here at The Brooks Group.
My goal, then as in now, is simple: Get the Sales Training lessons to stick – PERMANENTLY. We’ve trained tens of thousands of sales professionals, and we find that most go charging out of the training room, ready to take on the world. But without a committed, top-to-bottom plan where change is supported and committed to for the long haul, it’s inevitable that the lessons become undone.
The world, today, doesn’t just seem different – it is different. With daily reminders of the power of the Coronavirus, and its companion COVID-19 infection, to bring markets, enterprises – and yes, even normal daily activities – to a sudden, shuddering halt, we are all looking for a way to navigate this new reality.
Change, for the win: Consultative Selling Habits
Many creatures of the forest, as we learned in grade school, tend to hibernate through the winter. After working all season to hoard their nuts, berries, and other fortifications, they slink off to take their long winter’s slumber.
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.
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.
In its simplest form, sales effectiveness is a measure of how much return your organization gains on its investment in sales. In this sense, measuring sales effectiveness could be as simple as measuring your cost against the revenue generated. But if you want to measure sales effectiveness in order to improve it, the task is more complex, and few organizations are doing it well.
Leave it to an ancient Chinese philosopher to offer the quintessential commentary on change management.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat,” said Sun Tsu – who presumably understood the value of planning in the business of conquering empires.