There are some green shoots of spring out there. Some sales inquiries are finally coming in. Maybe the end of the world is not nigh. Time to breathe again.
It’s possible that we are climbing out of the deepest part of the COVID-19 trough from a business perspective. Perhaps it’s time to breathe a huge sigh of relief and get back to partying like it’s 2019.
But that would actually rather suck.
The opportunity here is to get back to business and be better than we were in 2019. We can up our game.
A large dose of pain is what it usually takes for us to change our habits. To change the way we do things “normally”. This crisis certainly seems to fit that bill.
The crisis has probably “shone a light” on several places where your sales organization could be better. What can you learn and what can you change?
Consider some of these questions and think about where you can develop an even stronger sales organization.
- Right seats: Do you have the right people in the right seats? Do you need to hire some new people? Do you need to move some people around? If parts of your sales process are not working are the people running it the problem?
- Hiring: How difficult is it for you to find good sales people for the roles you need? Do you have a good pipeline of candidates? Do you approach building a pipeline of candidates systematically? Do your managers? Do you have someone in charge of building candidate pipelines?
- Onboarding: Do your new reps ramp up quickly? Is your ramp time is inline or better than industry averages? Do you have training for new hires documented and readily available? Is your training available in different formats, for example video?
- Training: How about training for long-time employees? Do you provide skills training on a regular basis? Do you provide product training? Is online training available to reinforce kickoffs, launches or sales events?
- Prospecting: How well does your prospecting process work? Is your pipeline sufficiently full of leads? Are those leads well-qualified? Do the opportunities in there look like good projects for you?
- Account targeting: Are you targeting ideal clients? Do the clients you get from your sales people consistently turn out to be great clients? Are these really profitable projects?
- Relationship development: Do you have a systematic process for growing relationships with potential customers? Do you have a system for growing relationships with partners and influencers?
- Proposals: Do your sales people and support team spend hours developing proposals that don’t close? Do you manage the development of proposals as a joint process with your prospect, leading to a high close rate?
- Time management: What do your sales people really spend their time doing? Do you track time? Do they? Do they have time blocks for key activities, like prospecting? Are they spending time on work that could be completed by an admin?
- Data quality: What’s the data like in your CRM? Do your sales teams have the data they need to contact your ideal prospects? Is the data up-to-date? Is the data duplicated all over the place?
- Lack of tools: Do your sales teams have the tools they need to be effective? Are they living and dying on suboptimal systems, like email? Does your CRM help your team sell or is it just a management reporting system?
- Wobbly tech stack: Have you gone too far with tech and now your sales people are swamped with tools? Are the systems easy to use and effective? Do some systems do the same things as others?
- Enablement: Does everyone in your team know how to effectively use the tools you have? Do they know your company’s particular way of using these tools?
That’s a lot of questions. If you pick one or two areas of improvement and implement them, you will come out of the COVID crisis much stronger than you went in. You can learn from this “gift horse” and ride on to stronger sales results in the future.