As most of the nation approaches the two-month mark of quarantine, a sea change is occurring in how Americans conduct business. Some of these changes might be permanent. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey sent an email to staff permitting them to work from home indefinitely, even after the lockdown is over. Google is reportedly encouraging many in its workforce to do the same.
As more professionals join the ranks of work-from-homers, it necessitates a transition for salespeople from the old model of selling to this new reality. All of a sudden, outside sales hunters are literally inside salespeople as they are unable to meet face-to-face with most prospects. This is due to both social distancing rules and the fact that offices, bars, chambers of commerce, conference halls, etc. are all empty of people to sell to!
If sales aptitude testing in your company reveals that your sales force is populated with many inside sales farmers, you are ahead of the curve as these salespeople are used to selling virtually via phone, email, or video conference. However, if sales aptitude testing shows a majority of outside sales hunters, your team might struggle at first.
Here are 3 tips and tweaks to help salespeople adjust to the “new normal” of selling in the age of Covid-19.
Learn to Zoom
Video conferencing platform Zoom has experienced a flood of new users since the start of the pandemic, jumping from 10 million users to over 200 million in the space of a few weeks. That growth has been spurred by how easy it is to use – a quick software download that doesn’t require a user name and password is all users need to participate.
Schoolchildren have embraced the platform to continue their learning remotely. “Zooming” is replacing “Skyping” in the American lexicon. Many offices already use Zoom for staff meetings and collaboration sessions, and fitness trainers are conducting classes using this platform. This widespread adoption means most B2B prospects are likely familiar with the platform already and will happily join a Zoom meeting as it doesn’t require anything more than a link to enter the conference.
Zoom offers a free plan which allows up to 100 participants to confer for up to 40 minutes with no monthly fee. 1 to 1 meetings are available for unlimited time at no cost. Upgrades are available which allow for longer and larger group meetings, cloud recording of meetings, and more.
Dress the part
Sales aptitude testing will identify natural salespeople, who tend to be self-directed and self-motivated. However, even the most gung-ho salesperson will start to lose their spark by working in their pajamas all day.
The way you dress affects the way you feel about yourself and how you perform. If you would not normally visit a prospect wearing t-shirts and shorts, you should not do so when selling to them virtually either.
B2B salespeople are held to a certain expectation of professionalism. This includes attire, so make sure you dress the part in order to match these expectations and maintain rapport.
Set a schedule and stick to it
Another motivation killer is lack of structure to one’s day. While it might be tempting to sleep in until noon just because you can, it keeps you out of sync with the rest of the business world. For many people, starting the day late will keep them from ever “getting going” just from simple inertia. To handle, structure your day to start early and block time to execute the most important tasks, such as:
- Conduct virtual sales calls via phone or videoconference with new prospects
- Close or set follow-up appointments with prospects already in progress
- Prospect via email and social media activities to set appointments with new people
These activities are the likeliest to pay off with increased income so should be scheduled for when you have the most energy – usually the first part of the day. Only after these have been done should the rest be scheduled:
- Answering emails and DMs
- Handling customer support issues
- Sales training or other self-improvement
- Administrative tasks (CRM entry, paperwork)
Many salespeople spend an excessive amount of time on the latter bullets, but setting a schedule and referring to it throughout the day helps focus attention on what matters most – the selling activities in the first group.
Focus your attention on what matters most by setting a schedule and sticking to it.
If you haven’t done so already, now might be a good time to take your entire team through sales aptitude testing to identify the inside sales farmers who will likely do quite well during this period of virtual selling. By knowing who they are, you can support them and provide the training and tools they need to succeed. And the best part? The APQ can be done remotely from any internet-connected computer, so no need for special social distancing tactics!