Develop an interim sales, distribution, and team strategy
Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson said it back in 1987 during an HBO interview: ‘Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit’. His statement was a variation of the military wisdom of the Duke of Wellington: 'Strategy ends when the battle begins'. Since the outbreak of Corona, for almost all organizations, our plans no longer hold. The sales strategy, the sales plan: what was sacred a few weeks ago, now offers no support. What can we learn from the boxer and the military? The answer is simple: smartly respond to what matters NOW.
Let go of your existing strategy for a while and develop an interim strategy. How? Strategy is about the added value in your market column. Where, during restrictive measures, is the acute pain for prospects, customers, suppliers, and relations? How can your company or product be of value now? There lies the answer for your Corona strategy. Think not just about commercial value. Societal value is - especially now - at least as important. People will remember what you do well during this time.
Values that rise to the top now are, for example, protection, cleaning, security, certainty, convenience, and access. Do you have raw materials, semi-finished products, or products and services that can provide value to specific (new or existing) target groups in this context? A great example is how a brewery is currently making disinfectant gel from surplus beer for hospitals and nursing homes. Or the curtain maker who has converted and scaled up their entire production capacity to make face masks. And hotels that now offer their rooms as home office spaces.
Whether it has only a social approach or also commercial value: work where possible with suppliers, buyers, and/or customers on this kind of temporary relevance.
If you want to continue working on your core business (possibly alongside such a temporary strategy), look at your distribution strategy: how can you get your products to customers differently? How can you deliver to their homes? How can you provide online? How can you safely receive customers 1-on-1 (think of a drive-in for a recruitment agency)? There are many alternatives to existing distribution.
Also tweak your sales structure. Now that the original sales plan is no longer valid, discuss with the sales team where the current opportunities lie. Discuss how you can provide value to key accounts at this moment. See how you can now reinvigorate the relationship with neglected customers and prospects. Because: now that most of the Netherlands is working from home, there is more time and opportunity for a quick online meeting.
Ensure connectedness among all members of the sales team. Set new targets together for everyone, for a day or a week. Targets that are about contact, attention, and delivering value. That's what matters now. Celebrate achieved targets together online. Share experiences at the end of the day and translate them into best practices. Make sure the entire sales team feels that you are doing it together.
Being smart in times of Corona means making connections. Connect your knowledge or raw materials to societal goals that matter now. Connect with your customers in different ways. Optimize the connection in your sales team. Sales are the result of a relationship. When we can 'normally' sell again, you will reap the benefits of these new or strengthened connections.
If the above examples are impossible for you? Then prepare now together on how you will activate the sales team when space opens up again. Integrate modern selling into all your sales processes.
Do you want more tools for leading your team in these special times? Then read the Whitepaper Bend or Break: The Necessity for Modern Selling.
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