It’s hard to deny that there’s a palatable optimism out in the world today. Each day, I hear people making plans for spring breaks and gatherings and of people who are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It feels like there’s a real lift of spirit as Spring 2021 heralds new optimism for businesses.
Everyone from private employers to federal policymakers predict that the second half of the year will bring bountiful consumption, increased consumer spending, low mortgage interest rates, and diminished unemployment – a combination that should have most sellers, whether B2B or B2C, salivating with excitement.
That said, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the start of most fiscal third quarters is not terribly far away. As we consider our sales cycle and what we must do to respond to an improved market, sales leaders need to start making plans now so we can be best poised for success.
This has led me to consider five things that any business leader should be focused on right now to ensure they are positioned to take advantage:
Time and time again, I’ve heard the lament from sales leaders that their sellers don’t have confidence in their skills related to working in the new remote or hybrid sales landscape. They hear complaints that their sellers aren’t comfortable with the virtual sales process, and even the selling tools that have been put at their disposal. That’s why it’s critical to create opportunities for your sellers to upskill, to practice, and to gain confidence.
Your sales team needs to be focused on two facets of the new reality. The first are macro-events, which are things on a global scale that can create either opportunities or headwinds for your sellers, such as new legislation, or even supply chain initiatives. Secondly, you need to consider micro-influences – more industry or team-specific challenges or capabilities. Understanding these influences, and interpreting them for your specific business, will help you get a toehold on how to approach the market.
3. Internal Alignment
Also called ‘organizational design,’ this speaks to how you conquer your selling landscape. In the pre-pandemic world, much of the focus was on dividing sales activity by geographic territories. Now, I believe we can be more focused with our alignment – pairing sellers with opportunities or industries that are a better fit and offer the best chance for success.
4. Strategic Changes Affecting Your Clients
I recently spoke with a client that performs a lot of its work on extended multi-year contracts, many of which were executed pre-COVID. Now delivery teams are working in a post-COVID environment while still trying to meet delivery benchmarks that were outlined in a much different world. Now is the right time to encourage your sales professionals to gauge whether their clients’ needs have changed as a result of the pandemic, and to adjust accordingly. This represents a strategic opportunity for nimble sellers who can get inside their accounts and really understand what’s going on.
5. Managing Personal Distractions
I get it – everyone has been couped up for more than a year. I hear of employees talking about vacation, about outside activities, and other leisure activities they are eager to undertake. This is understandable – but sales leaders must find a way to balance these distractions against the work that must be tackled, professionally, in a growing market. That means for sales leaders, we need to double down on our efforts to help our team stay focused and executing through the strong second-half lift.
It has been an interesting couple of months as we have observed the country make efforts to emerge from the self-imposed quarantine. It seems as though when the light switch was suddenly turned off, we had to redo our whole business. Now, we must prepare for a strong re-entry into a post-pandemic world filled with optimism.
If The Brooks Group can help you upskill your team and make the most of planning for the robust months of sales activity ahead, please reach out.