Like every other business function since the slow decline of the effects of the COVID epidemic, Sales teams have been adapting the ways they work over the last year or so. And like everyone else, many changes have happened after an intuitive “feeling out” of new working methods and approaches as business transitions to a more online and digital-first position. To take a single example, Sales professionals have had to place greater emphasis on building their online presence than they might have in 2019.
While some organisations’ Sales teams have succeeded in the new working environment, some are struggling to adjust. The important general tenets of the Sales process have not so much altered as evolved. If we take the first of the five pillars of Sales as advocated by Sales Activator, for example, “Know Your Market and Buyers”, methods to discover prospects and research the market have altered in terms of their importance. LinkedIn profiles and the importance of a credible online presence are massively more important in an environment where a great deal of business networking now defaults to online, where previously, that hadn’t been the case.
Another example might be the ephemeral building of trust. The internet has always presented a level playing field to its users, a place where smaller outfits could compete alongside global organisations. Beyond possessing a historical reputation, how can companies and the individuals in them build trust digitally, and how can that trust be converted into physical sales? There are so many variants and details across the sales journey that teams are wise to seek guidance on how to adapt their processes to get better results in this new (and still-changing) situation.
To author the five pillars referred to above, Sales Activator used extensive research into the activities of Sales departments across the globe and interviewed over 500 sales organisations’ leaders. Since COVID, the team has been out again, gathering opinions and sales teams’ reactions to the changed selling environment.
It found the fundamental journey via the pillars hadn’t specifically changed, but new realities certainly have changed teams’ focus. Remote or hybrid personnel’s mental well-being and toughness (MTQ) have certainly required more thought and attention – amid several other critical changes in approach that successful sales leaders need.
In Sales departments, the effects of hybrid and remote working are being felt strongly since COVID, epitomised by high churn rates of personnel looking for better working conditions and rewards.
Technology has altered both the expectations and the working methods of buyers, too, with influences also coming from emerging theories of human and social capital affecting the working world. A prime example is what Marketing teams are terming CX (customer experience), a generally high set of expectations for responsiveness and personalisation in digital interactions that’s the direct result of everyday use of “simple” apps from digital powerhouses like Uber, Just Eat, Netflix and the like.
As part of its commitment to the industry, Sales Activator has launched a new raft of training programmes to help teams thrive in a sales environment that has altered significantly over the last year and continues to evolve as 2023 emerges. Many organisations have begun with a Sales Team Assessment online, that checks Sales functions’ success in adapting their processes and approaches thus far. The results can be used to form a base on which Sales leaders can build targeted training for their teams (and themselves), whether that’s right along the Sales journey from scoping to conversion or more focused on particular segments of the Five Pillars.
Finding prospects may not be problematic for some reading this (depending on vertical), but getting in front of buyers may be a great deal more challenging, with the democratisation that the internet brings working against even the big names in any industry. Programs of advice, consultation and proactive training might address this issue alone or be part of a broader, digitally-focused training program for longer-term team education. From territory planning to influencing and cross-selling, teams need new skills to refine their existing knowledge, and could learn some new tricks, too!
Over 2022, Sales Activator has delivered more training to more Sales pros than ever before, using new trainers, coaches and materials from industry thought leaders. It’s also introduced a CAT (competency assessment tool) to measure the effects of Sales training in the medium to long term. It uses targeted memory refresh techniques to keep newly-acquired knowledge front of mind throughout Sales cycles. The Sales Activator learning model makes lessons stick for truly remarkable results, using techniques that inspire and motivate teams and leaders to do more, in new ways, with better results.
To learn more, head over to the Sales Activator training information resources page, and while you’re visiting, take the Sales Team Assessment to see where your Sales function’s focus should be. Over the last six years, Sales Activator’s knowledge, technology and experience have helped thousands hit their goals and go beyond. Join them today!