Provoke Your Customers to Buy

How to sell in the pandemic

The pandemic blew up everyone’s sales strategies. Even if you started 2020 with a full pipeline, few businesses have escaped this year with their sales funnels intact.

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard in recent weeks is “no new logos.” Companies are generating sales from existing customers, but winning new customers (new logos) is a real struggle.

There are three obstacles to selling in the pandemic:

  • Sales requires “executive access.”
  • Salespeople are learning to sell, again.
  • Smaller purchases, last minute.

Let’s unpack these.

Sales Requires “Executive Access”

Top down selling is more important than ever, because the people sales reps used to have relationships with are churning or unable to buy.

Managers have lost their decision making authority. Even small purchase decisions are requiring executive approval. This is exacerbated by increased turnover in procurement and middle managers.

This makes sales far more complicated, because salespeople don’t have the right relationships.

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Fortunately, executive decision makers are easier to access. We have seen a 40% increase in executive access since March 2020.

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

Salespeople Are Learning to Sell, Again

Business development looks more like 2005 than 2019.

For the last decade sales forces have relied on inbound marketing for lead generation. This was effective when customers were proactively looking for solutions, but executives don’t look for solutions the same way managers do. (The above issue.)

Many sales professionals are discovering how to use the phone for the very first time.

Prospecting, networking, developing centers of influence are all skills salespeople had honed and well understood in 2005. In 2020, salespeople are learning the art of hunting all over again.

Smaller Purchases, Last Minute

Revenue growth is also being hampered due to fear. Customers are making smaller purchases and waiting until the very last minute to buy.

It’s like “just-in-time buying.”

The just-in-time model is highly problematic for a few reasons:

  • Predicting customer demand and having enough inventory or resources to deliver is extremely challenging. Companies are finding themselves scrambling with the diversity and sporadic nature of customer orders.
  • Salespeople are working just as hard to close small deals as they did for larger deals.
  • The sales funnel is lumpy; revenue is lumpy; and it’s harder to manage cash flow.

“Smaller purchases, last minute” requires reconfiguring your value proposition and production capabilities to serve a new customer with new expectations.

How to Win New Logos

The name of the game is to win new logos. This is old school selling:

  • Discover a burning need the customer cannot avoid.
  • Craft a value proposition and messaging that provokes the customer and gains executive access.
  • Target your prospecting and marketing to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
  • Relentlessly increase the level of sales activity to drive new business development.

These are the cornerstone principles of the Slingshot Strategy. We work with you to rapidly increase your sales and drive new business development within 90 days. If you’d like to discover how, let’s chat. Here is a link to my calendar.