Don’t Sit on the Sidelines!
Here’s some old news: in many markets, purchasing has been paused indefinitely by COVID-19. Here’s something new, though: across the US, businesses, schools and other institutions are actively working through their plans and developing schedules to reopen.
This seems like great news for lead generation teams, and it is! Many sales teams who’ve been sitting on the sidelines are now eagerly queueing up their old calling lists, retraining their BDRs, and dusting off their old marketing materials and phone scripts. Once things are back to normal, they think, they’ll be able to hit the ground running.
Unfortunately, things aren’t quite that simple. In fact, standard business practices following the pandemic are almost certain to be permanently altered. Even if it was previously working well, your old lead generation strategy might flounder in the post-COVID marketplace, where the rules will be different and the stakes will likely be higher.
Therefore, rather than just revving up the old sales’ engine, this is the ideal time to start crafting a new strategy. How do you do that, though, when there’s still so much uncertainty about what’s to come?
While we don’t proclaim to know all the answers, VSA does know what’s been working for many of our clients so far. Here are 4 simple adjustments you can make right now to ensure your sales team is well-positioned to handle the new features of the post pandemic economy, whatever they end up being:
- Continue making calls. This is critically important—as your prospects consider how to best move forward, you want them to keep you top-of-mind. Don’t think you can pause now and catch up later. Even if they’re unable to make new purchases right now, there are interested prospects out there who want to hear from you!
- Instead of going right for the appointment, ask lots of questions and express concern. It’s been a hard few months for everyone, so rather than being too pushy or formulaic, focus on having a more empathetic, open-ended conversation. Asking good questions is important—keep in mind that the more you know about your prospects’ needs and how they’re anticipating the market changing, the better positioned your sales team will be.
- Think about how your product or service fits a specific, urgent need your prospect has. Once you’ve asked the right questions, you may discover specific needs or pain points—perhaps ones related to this particular moment—that you didn’t even know your prospects had. Think about how your offering could help them overcome these challenges.
- Develop a system for following up with every interested prospect you talk to, even if that won’t be for several months down the line. The relationships you build now could eventually turn into sales—but only if you stay in touch! If following up and nurturing prospects is something that tends to slip through the cracks for your sales team, now’s the time to set up a system.
There are two trends here. The first, of course, is that it’s important to keep calling your prospects, rather than just sitting it out. The second is that, when you reach them, this is a great opportunity to start nurturing long-term relationships, especially if you’re selling into a market that was particularly hard hit or one in which sales take months to close.
Though no one can foresee the specific ways in which markets will reconfigure themselves this Fall, we can foresee that prospects will be most likely to consider solutions that solve specific, new challenges and are provided by partners who they already trust. Ultimately, whatever the new normal turns out to be, the most successful sellers won’t be the ones building relationships on the fly—they’ll be those who’ve already built them.