When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our operations and impacted nearly every aspect of the business world, many sales teams were uncertain about their next move. With the fear of decreased sales, many teams had to regroup and then redefine their objectives to continue moving forward.
As we are adapting to these changes, sales teams and their leaders are asking several questions, including:
- How can sales teams overcome the lack of in-person communication that has previously been necessary for closing deals?
- How can we measure sales performance when we’re faced with obstacles?
- How do we continue empowering our teams to thrive through these challenges?
Below, we’ll discuss how you and your team can adapt to the modern workforce and how to measure sales performance appropriately and thrive year after year.
Adapting to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Tina had worked in her territory for more than 5 years and enjoyed being out and about visiting customers before the COVID pandemic hit. In an instant, like many other salespeople, she went from being an outside sales rep to an inside sales rep overnight.
Tina was worried she couldn’t make the adjustments in her selling style to be as successful remotely as she had been in person. She saw herself as a face-to-face salesperson who was great at building relationships.
Quickly, she went from the top of the sales team to battling with continuously decreasing call volume and activity. Tina didn’t know how her manager would be measuring sales performance, so she asked him for help to up her game. Her manager, Mark, began working with her to get her back on the leaderboard. When he asked her what was really going on, she told him the following:
- I know my customers, and they don’t answer calls from salespeople.
- Cold-calling and prospecting before the pandemic were hard enough, but trying to reach new prospects now is almost impossible.
- Everyone in our industry is in wait-and-see mode, so no one is spending any money right now.
- In this environment, customers are buying on price and not on value.
Mark then asked Tina to evaluate the following list and figure out what each item had in common:
- Bats are blind.
- Sharks don’t get cancer.
- Elephants are afraid of mice.
- Bulls become angry at the color red.
- Goldfish have a 3-7 second memory.
Tina reviewed the list and commented that each statement included an animal or creature of some sort. After a few minutes, she noted the statements were all myths.
Mark acknowledged that she was indeed correct; each one was a myth. After they went back to review Tina’s list of concerns about selling remotely, they realized the reasons behind her current struggle were also largely myths. Mark shared he had similar conversations with the other salespeople on the team, and in each case, they recognized that their reasons sounded more and more like myths and fears rather than real issues.
All of this is to say much of the fear we’ve seen might not be what’s actually happening. The best way to move forward with your sales teams is to understand the difference between perceived and actual concerns in order to use that knowledge for making smart sales decisions and goals.
Measuring Sales Performance During Remote Work
While many aspects of the sales process did change, one constant is that every aspiring salesperson needs to measure their work in order to thrive for the better.
Here are three ways we recommend measuring sales performance indicators of your sales team during this time:
1. Communication Is Key — Measure Communication With Your Customers
In a changing environment, it is easy for salespeople to become overwhelmed. But, when we looked at some of the top-performing companies over the past couple of years, in the midst of the pandemic, we found that many companies experienced their best years ever.
For example, Amazon and Walmart have both seen huge revenue increases. Brookings research group found that “Together, they have earned an extra $10.7 billion over last year’s profits during (and largely because of) the pandemic—a stunning 56% increase.”
Top salespeople recognized their prospects, and customers were more willing to communicate with salespeople than before because they were also working remotely, spending more time on their phones and computers. In addition, prospects and customers were more likely to respond to emails, schedule virtual meetings and connect on social media platforms.
To implement this on your team and help your salespeople see the increased results, you can measure:
- Email open rates.
- The rate of calls answered.
- The change in customers’ budgets, if any.
By understanding the communication rates of your customers, you can understand which methods are working best to more effectively connect with your audience more.
2. Solid Value Propositions Close Deals — Measure Your Conversion Rate
The salespeople on top-performing teams figured out several ways to adapt. First, they learned how to stay motivated and embrace the disruption of COVID by finding new ways to engage and sell. Second, they recognized they could actually make more calls and have more meetings than they could by seeing people in person.
Third, and most importantly, they realized they still had value to provide to their current and potential customers. Once they realized the pandemic didn’t invalidate their value proposition, they continued helping their customers to make a decision based on value to win the deal.
With a solid value proposition that’s confidently portrayed by your sales team, you can increase the lead-to-customer conversion rate. By measuring sales performance via the lead-to-customer rate on your sales team, you can showcase to your salespeople how they are reaching their remote prospects and converting them into loyal customers.
3. Increasing Social Selling Efforts — Measure Your Social Selling Efforts and Effectiveness
As mentioned earlier, many customers became more willing to connect on social media during the pandemic. Whether Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn, social media has become a make-or-break selling tool for many top-performing sales teams. LinkedIn reported that “78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.”
Though a new sales method can be difficult to implement within your sales strategies, social selling is a critical component of modern sales.
Debunking Sales Myths and Thriving for Success
The metrics to measure sales performance in this evolved world of online and over-the-phone communication methods should be clearly communicated so the team can focus on what matters most — making their clients happy.
As we learned with our story of Tina and Mark, when it comes to selling, we can either let the myths bust us, or we can bust the myths. The good news is that we get to make that choice.
We can choose to overcome those fearful thoughts and myths that keep us from making sales calls. Even in unforeseen circumstances, top performers have the ability to remain successful.
Are you ready to be part of a top-performing team? Watch our Strategies of Top Producers webinar today to learn more about remaining successful through difficult situations.