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 "Our Mission
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Sales’ next day, post Covid 19: three areas to act asap.

Sales strategy post Covid19 Sales strategy post Covid19

We are entering a new stormy era. Action is urgently needed for Sales! Read my article of how to best respond as a sales leader.

As markets go through this historic crisis, Sales leaders have been busy connecting remotely their sales forces with their customers while filling knowledge and skills gaps through on-line training. Now all are busy working on the next phase, that of reopening.
The implications of the crisis will be severe and permanent due to new consumer habits and a recession ante portas. How must Sales adapt to the new reality?
Here are three areas to focus and the corresponding actions to take.

1. Serving customers from home is here to stay
Restrictions as to how many people are allowed in a store, the need to avoid looking congested as well as a higher demand in the first days of opening meanσ that sales consultants may not welcome or even allowed to visit some customers for quite a time.

Expand your call agenda to include a structured sales visit from desktop.
Make appointments or allow your customer to call you back when they have time and be ready for a well-thought way of covering their usual needs while being ready to upsell, present promos and eventually new products.

Ensure that the most important initiatives are presented face2face but you need to be fit to write the maximum possible sales over WhatsApp or Messenger.
As a sales leader, consider deploying digital tools like Gong (www.gong.com) to check the flow and content of the sales call and take measures to increase effectiveness when gaps are identified.

Ensure discipline in sales meetings.
Without regular team meetings in an office, discipline becomes lax or inconsistent. This includes daily or weekly 1on1 sessions, monthly sales and pipeline reviews as well as ride along of team managers with sales reps. With reps working remotely this discipline needs attention—though in new formats.

Train your team to negotiate from distance.
Role play with your teams to ensure they establish eye contact, engage in small talk, control their gestures and avoid technical difficulties. These are to complement the usual training of overcoming objections. When negotiating with on-line merchants who seem to be having immense negotiation power, upgrade your teams’ skills to overcome such situations.

2. Segment customers and strengthen inside sales teams.
As cost to serve is examined to respond to anticipated lower sales due to recession and as recent experience shows that some customers are equally well served from distance, calibration of sales teams becomes essential.

Assess the dynamic of each customer segment.
Channel shifts have been the core observation for sales during the crisis. Food channel has been a winner while e-market places have accelerated their significance. Traditional customers are certain to bounce back, consolidation of weaker players will follow; the extend is dependent on the industry.
Be granular in your scenario analysis / projection in the next 2 quarters and in the next 2 years to showcase clearly the evolution and allocate your limited resources on the right segments.

Rebalance inside manpower with field reps.
Consider adding or strengthening the role of Customer Success Manager, a position widely used by software companies selling entirely remotely. Such a role is performed by inside sales and in general has a lower cost to serve. Please note that they also need to be treated as part of the sales force, listen to calls remotely or review them later offline, and use virtual sales contests to recreate the atmosphere of the sales floor.

3. Pricing and trade spend become even more important
Cliff drop of sales due to lockdown and looming of recession will naturally result in increase of price competition and even price wars. According to a recent McKinsey study, 46 percent of US consumers and 28 percent of Chinese consumers said they plan to reduce spending in the coming weeks. At the same time trade spend, the highest line item in most profit and loss statements, must be controlled.

Don’t be hasty to drop prices.
Demand drop will not be reversed with steep price cuts; only profitability will be hit. Appoint someone to check regularly the pricing of competitors, including e-commerce, and be ready to react but try not to be drawn into a price war.

Think of value and not of prices.
Differentiate price levels to match different services. For example, consider charging a premium for expedited shipments or link pricing with cost-to-serve. It is advisable not to increase the base price but to examine the option to increase promotions in kind. Train your teams to upsell add-ons which drive higher margin.

Review your product portfolio.
As consumers move to more affordable products, review your product portfolio and focus on products suitable for price sensitive target groups. Consider trimming more upscale brands or SKUs while expanding no frill ranges.

The impact of the crisis is here to stay. By exhibiting true sales leadership and acting on these three areas, companies can emerge stronger from the crisis and be well positioned to succeed in the next normal.
For Sales there is no down time; act now!