Emerging Sales Trends in the Covid-19 era
Authored by Harmeet Arora, Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Zaggle.
COVID-19 has destroyed livelihoods and continues to do so around the world. The full implications of the pandemic are far from certain, but it is clear that its economic consequences are dire. The fallout will be felt with a lag effect and managing it will be the single biggest challenge for everybody from businesses to governments.
Like many other functional areas, sales, which in fact is most important from the revenue generation perspective of any organization will see a complete transformation in character. From a person to person approach to a completely contactless digital approach. Sales leaders or those in charge of the function, know this well. By now, they have already begun the process of transformation. We are at a very crucial cusp of change and addressing their own salespeople is as important in addressing the customers especially in the B2B segments.
A recent survey of B2B Businesses across 11 countries, conducted by McKinsey revealed three emergent themes – a changed spending pattern of companies, a highly digitized approach to sales and most importantly, a remotely controlled sales transaction.
What do the 3 point towards?
One, while companies are generally perceived to be reducing spending, a sizable number are actually increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and more than any other factor, global location. Two, in the B2B space, digital interactions for completing sales are being seen to be on a rise. In fact, there is a probability of a three-fold rise in the digital selling space than before. And the last and most important factor is the shift of sales from a person-to-person basis to more remotely and tech-enabled platforms such as video conferencing or having a web sales model and also the good old telephonic sales method. It is probably time to deploy high-tech tools like AR / VR to provide product demonstrations to customers. There certainly would be takers for this.
While the world adapts to a faceless sales experience, a large majority has already started believing that these remote sales models will be far more effective, than those used in the pre-Covid era.
There is a great deal of uncertainty, but there are plenty of signals that indicate an acceleration of previous trends - Omnichannel selling, Inside Sales, Tech-enabled selling, eCommerce, rather than completely different behaviors.
Sales Leaders are moving quickly to navigate the crisis focusing on how to make targeted changes that help their businesses weather the storm and start preparing for the recovery. Once the immediate situation is stabilized, the focus will have to shift to what will have to be done to sustain momentum despite social distancing. There will be a need to invest so as to bounce back in the recovery phase. Companies irrespective of the industry they belong to, have the opportunity to come out of the crisis as winners. In fact, according to a recent BCG study, 14% of companies were able to not only accelerate growth but also increase profitability during the past four recessions.
The action points
Sales Leaders are doing the following strategically. There is a lot of emphasis being placed on the fact that businesses remain stressed but not unviable. Adequate investments will be a key factor to come out of the trouble inflicted by the pandemic economically.
Getting the customer to buy in will be the most critical element in closing sales for any business. Novel methods including an offer for deferred payments or sell in modules will have to be considered. Getting new customers onboarded, irrespective of the ticket size will be important from hereon.
Looking out for a diversification of the client base will be an essential. Considering high potential sectors which may gain in the post Covid era will help in having a more sustained client base. Sectors such as telecom, insurance, pharma, media and OTT are some that have already begun reaping the benefits of the pandemic for their businesses. These sectors may have urgent needs to cater to raising demand and if one can provide them necessary tools to meet that, it will create a win-win situation.
Eventually, a bird in hand will always be worth two in the bush. Engaging existing clients and retaining them will be very crucial. Salespeople will have to go the distance to ensure they invest in their success. Evolution has been the basis of progress forever. The pandemic has reset all parameters of business success and sales will never be the same again.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Adgully.