Three Ways to Prepare Your Sales Team for the Rebound
As a basketball fan (sorry to say NBA season is still on hold), I had to think really hard about the use of the term “rebound” as opposed to “recovery.” When I think about the term rebound, it conveys an image of something that happens relatively quickly; the player misses the shot, and the ball bounces off the backboard or rim very quickly. Given that businesses are starting to re-open at different paces depending on industry and geography, I struggled with this idea of the economy recovering that quickly.
In thinking about this further, I realized that every rebound is, in fact, is different. Some clank off the front of the rim and go directly back to the player that took the shot, and others bounce around for a while. Whatever the case, great teams, and players should always put themselves in the best position possible to capture the rebound.
With that context, here are three ways you can help your sales team prepare for the “rebound.”
1 | Stay in touch with your current, former, and prospective customers.
Use virtual technology and social media as ways to reinforce and strengthen relationships. Relationships are fundamental to selling and include developing rapport, building trust, and demonstrating expertise. Sales professionals can leverage Zoom calls, webinars, content offerings, and social connections to enhance relationships. The goal here is not to “sell” but instead to “connect” on a personal and professional basis.
2 | Requalify every opportunity in your sales pipeline.
In response to the COVID- 19 crisis, sales pipelines have gone through dramatic changes due to shifting priorities, budget constraints, and a more cautious approach to new initiatives. In reviewing each opportunity, it is essential to consider the following:
- Business need, budget, and timing
- Decision-making criteria and process
- Solution alignment and value creation
- Competitive landscape and win themes
What you will likely discover is that many opportunities are much further from closing than initially anticipated. While this isn’t welcome news, it does provide a reality check. More importantly, it allows the sales team to think about what actions they need to take to advance each opportunity.
These actions include reviewing customer budgets and timelines, accessing new influencers and decision-makers to build internal support, enhancing the value of your solution, and thinking through “win themes” that make your solution the best choice for the customer.
3 | Rebuild your pipeline.
While this may seem daunting, it is essential to start now so that you can participate in the rebound. One important thing to remember is that in a virtual sales world, geography is not a constraint. We have the technology to connect with anyone who we think is or can lead us to a good prospect.
In thinking about how to get started, consider segmenting your account base so that it is clear what you are striving to accomplish and can align your messaging accordingly. As an example:
- Active customers – expand your presence within these accounts
- Former customers – reconnect and determine what has changed since change typically drives new opportunities
- Target accounts – these accounts represent your best growth opportunities so take the time to “map the organization,” research priorities, and develop direct contact and referral strategies
As you work with your team to rebuild the pipeline, remember that the emphasis should be on relationships and the importance of adding value in your customer communications.
Summary: The economy will rebound. How fast and how strong it is out of our control. As sales leaders, however, it is essential to position your players for the rebound to ensure that they are poised for success.
About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.