How to Increase Sales During the Pandemic

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Crisis Marketing

Even if you started 2020 with a full pipeline, few businesses have escaped the economic turmoil of the pandemic. According to a study by McKinsey, 50% of B2B companies have reduced their budgets.

When budgets are slashed, selling is that much harder!

In a pandemic, you cannot rely on inbound marketing and feature-benefit selling. You’ve got to level up and bring your A game.

Demonstrate Clear, Hard ROI

If 50% of budgets are slashed, and companies are sweating every penny they spend, you better deliver a compelling value proposition.

To quote Jerry Macquire, “Show me the money!”

Sell every deal like you’re selling to the CFO. It’s all about the ROI — return on investment. What will your customers get by investing in your products and services?

Don’t leave it to chance. Be blunt and tell them exactly how your solutions deliver ROI after the pandemic.

You can demonstrate hard ROI in three ways. Your solutions will help them…

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time

What do your products and services tangibly deliver A.C. (after coronavirus)?

Dramatically Increase the Volume of Prospecting

In Sticky Branding (the book) I argue, if you don’t blow your own horn, nobody will.

Tried and true lead generation tactics have been blown apart with the pandemic. What may have worked well in 2019, or even the first quarter of 2020, aren’t relevant today.

The biggest reason for this is the shift in buying roles. Managers have lost their decision making authority, and even small purchase decisions require executive approval.

Fortunately, executive decision makers are easier to access. Since March, we have seen a 40% increase in executive access.

Leaders are taking calls. They are more receptive to ideas and information, and they can deliver yes / no responses very quickly.

But to reach these buyers you need to engage them directly. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. You initiate the conversation:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • LinkedIn
  • Referral

Look back to the playbooks of 2005, and before social media. This is where we are at today.

Prospect like you’ll never receive another inbound lead. How are you going to engage the people who can make decisions every single week?

Get Comfortable with Virtual Selling (It’s Here to Stay)

September 11th transformed the software sales industry. When I started my career in CRM software sales, we primarily sold face-to-face. After 9/11, we sold on the phone and with WebEx.

What the software and SaaS industries learned almost 20 years ago, the rest of the sales world is learning after the pandemic.

Everything from industrial solutions to capital equipment to professional services are transitioning to virtual sales. This isn’t as scary or bad as some may say, but it is different. It’s less relationship oriented, but it’s faster.

With virtual selling, you can get to decisions with a lot less windshield time, lunches and wasted meetings.

It also requires you to up your game and deliver a very clear, practical value proposition. Virtual selling strips away the benefit of goodwill and getting to know each other. Salespeople are presenting solutions and facilitating the purchase process.

Personally, I think this is better for most organizations. It reduces the cost of sales in several ways:

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Less travel expenses
  • More centralized sales organizations
  • Fewer sales reps

Transitioning to virtual selling can be challenging: different tools; different skills; different talent. Sales leaders will definitely face resistance, but push through. Virtual selling isn’t going away. Don’t let your competitors master it before you.

Nothing Relieves Pressure like Sales

My dad used to say, “Nothing relieves pressure like sales.” In a downturn, it may be the most accurate quote you will hear.

This is a moment in time where innovative sales approaches win.

There are no tried-and-true sales tactics with this pandemic. You’re charting a new course. This will require experimentation, trial and error, and working to figure out what works as we emerge from the crisis.

The key to all of this is in your prospecting. The best way to learn is to sell. You need to continually reach out and engage executive decision makers. It’s a numbers game (it always has been).

You will see your sales funnel evolve in three steps:

  • Effort: Put in a concerted effort. Even if you’re not seeing the results yet, you need to increase the volume of sales activity in your organization exponentially.
  • Indicators: B2B sales take time. So while you’re rebuilding your sales funnel track your numbers to ensure you’re on the right path.
  • Results: When you put in the work, and continually adapt, you will see the results.

Slingshot Your Business Out of the Crisis

Sticky Branding works with you to recover the customers and revenue taken by Covid-19, and to develop the strategy to come out of the crisis stronger than ever. If you’re interested, call me (Jeremy Miller) directly at 416.479.4403, or check out our Crisis Marketing services.

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Jeremy Miller

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