This is always true, but even more so in times of great change: Salespeople have to stay in tune with, and connected to, their customers and the marketplace. Salespeople work within the framework of the businesses and products they sell, but often have the chance to be agents of change. And if they cannot change the product or service, they can at least change the way it is delivered, packaged, or presented.
Salespeople and sales organizations drive a business forward and deliver on the potential of a great product or service. In times of great change, products or services that succeed are either those that were serendipitously in tune with the change (Zoom), are perfectly structured to deal with the change (Amazon), or those who are agile enough to adapt to their changing environment (Virgin).
Although the pandemic is likely relatively temporary and vaccines are on the horizon, it is likely that “normal” operating procedure has forever changed. People will likely be more remote and more physically separated in general from now on.
Because of that, I hear lots of stories about businesses coming to terms with these new frameworks and becoming more agile and adaptive. But conversely, I hear stories about salespeople and sales organizations anxious to get back to business as usual as if this is all a passing storm. Many salespeople and sales organizations are keen to rely on what has worked in the past.
Businesses are adapting to new ways of connecting with their own clients, as well as new ways of interacting between employees, and they will expect their service providers and vendors to adapt too.
If connections are being made virtually through Teams or Zoom, then salespeople must not only embrace these new methods of communication but become proficient at them. A salesperson must be a step ahead of their client and be able to facilitate smooth communication.
Technical difficulties have been and will continue to be an issue that cannot be completely controlled, but a salesperson must be ready to adapt and improvise on the fly to put the client at ease through a virtual platform. They must be able to effectively communicate value messaging through a virtual medium while also building trust with potential clients.
These necessities of trust don’t go away, and in fact have become more important in a world where communication mediums are seemingly less personal. A salesperson must make these mediums personal again in order to successfully build relationships.
Sales organizations must be agile in understanding the necessary framework to effectively deploy salespeople. Organizations that are still not used to managing a remote sales force need to permanently adapt to continue to engage their employees remotely. They must be ready to embrace new work models such as “work from anywhere,” that may change again soon and then change again after that.
Salespeople also have a responsibility in this organizational shift. In order for sales organizations to feel more comfortable deploying remotely, salespeople must become more entrepreneurial. They must become more self-sufficient and think of their job like a mini business. Many salespeople already think this way, but many who are used to working in office environments do not embrace this mindset.
Salespeople and organizations must also continue to be agile moving into 2021 to adapt to clients’ changing needs and preferences. Many types of businesses have failed in 2020, and others have thrived because of the services they offer and their alignment to new frameworks.
Salespeople need to stay in tune with the changing needs and desires of their clients so that they can continue to succeed in selling to those clients. If products or methods of delivery need to be adapted to fit the new needs of clients, it is salespeople who are closest to this information on the ground as it develops, and uniquely positioned to benefit from the forever changing landscape.
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