Four B2B sales trends have developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think they are here to stay.
Planning. Most customers and prospects are working from home, so it’s easy for them to ignore your calls. Many, if not most, do not want to see sales reps, even if they are working in the office. As a result, sales reps must engage in more detailed planning.
Planning includes both territory planning and call planning. Territory planning is vital to know which companies to target and which contacts to call. Savvy sales reps research their targets before sending an email or making a call to request an appointment. They know in advance their prospects’ and customers’ primary challenges and issues before their initial contact.
Once they’ve secured a call, the best sales reps intensify their planning efforts. Every sales call is planned to ensure that time spent with the contact is valuable for both the customer and the sales rep. In today’s environment, sales reps may not get a second chance to make a sale.
Virtual Selling. Today, nearly all B2B sales representatives rely on virtual meeting tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. Although virtual calls are not as engaging as face-to-face sales calls, they probably get you 80% of the way there.
Today’s virtual meeting tools allow sales reps to discuss, present, and read facial and body expressions as they would during in-person meetings. Meeting participants can join from multiple remote locations as needed. All participants are safe from viruses. And, companies save on travel expenses — everything from airfares to meals, lodging and rental cars — and save on time traveling to customer locations.
Digital Marketing. The pandemic forced every sales organization to refocus its marketing efforts. Now marketing needs to generate even more leads and nurture those leads if they’re not yet ready to buy. Lead management is important today and will pay off when markets reopen after the pandemic.
Key digital marketing programs include social media, blogging and email campaigns. Digital marketing is becoming more targeted as customer data — generated through search engine marketing, customer relationship management and internet research — becomes more available.
Video Marketing. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a few minutes of video is worth at least a thousand pictures. And the cost to produce video is incredibly low compared with just a few years ago. Smartphone cameras take excellent video. To produce professional-quality short programs, just add appropriate lighting, good microphones and camera mounts such as tripods and monopods.
Consider creating videos to showcase your products, operations and customers. Show the features and benefits of your products and use live video to deliver remote demonstrations. Provide video tours for customers and prospects to see your creative, production and manufacturing facilities. Post them on your website or present them in real time. Video endorsements and testimonials from customers are powerful marketing tools, allowing prospects to hear directly from your customers about your capabilities and why they do business with your company.
When creating video productions, clearly define your message and plan your presentation. Hiring a video producer is usually an investment that delivers a superior return.
Wallace Management Group helps companies drive sales success. We can help you put the plans and tools in place to sell effectively during the current pandemic and beyond.