Besides all the hardships that we have faced this year, there will come many changes not only in the way we lead our life but also in the way we do business. One of the most drastic changes will be the way sales leaders, sales managers, directors, and vice presidents will have to adapt if they want to be successful at managing their sales teams. Here are seven things sales leaders must do going forward.
1. Invest in Marketing
If these times have taught us anything, it’s that people need marketing now more than ever. Selling is so much easier when people know your name and can identify your brand and what you stand for. I really like the fact that, during this pandemic, companies that see the value of marketing are doing much better than their less-known competitors. Good luck to sales managers who still don’t value marketing. The time has come; you need to get your name out there and make sure you are found.
2. Use Social Media
Sorry, but you can no longer get away with not knowing what “twittering” or “insta-whatever” are. And please don’t say that social media is a fad that will go away. You sound old and grouchy when you say that, and the world has had enough of old, grouchy people. Social media is not a fad; it is a very effective sales and marketing tool. Get with the program or fail.
3. Work Remotely
Now that we have had a taste of this, it makes sense, doesn’t it? For years, I have been trying to get salespeople out of the office and in front of customers. The irony is that now that we finally have them out of the office, they can’t see customers (yet). But they will soon enough, and all I can say is: don’t let them back in the office. There is no reason for customer service and inside salespeople to be in the office. Get over that. There are some very good professionals you can hire right now if you allow them to work remotely.
4. Travel Less
Although I think we will get back to normal business travel one day soon, we will be more discerning about it. Hopefully, travel for travel’s sake will become a thing of the past. Travel will be more intentional and productive.
5. Be More Innovative
If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that we must be more innovative than ever. We must get out of our age-old ruts of the way we have always done things and find new, more productive, and more successful ways of doing things. As the sales leader, not only do you have to be more innovative, but you must also teach your sales team how to be more innovative. Teach them to find a way to get that first meeting and then the first order, as well as how to solve problems on their own.
6. Be More Intentional
Be more focused. Pay attention to what is important. We must find what are the most meaningful things to do and then do them more meaningfully. Think back to when life was “normal” and compare that to what you have been doing for the past six months; this will make you realize how much time you were wasting by just going through the motions and taking the same path that had been laid out for you by your predecessors. Break out of that while you can while the times dictate that you find a way. There is danger in getting back to normal because the old normal is not going to cut it anymore.
7. Be More Flexible
As I have said many times this year, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. One of the more important truths we have learned is that we need to be flexible. Adapt to new situations and circumstances as rapidly as they occur. We have had to think on our feet and come up with solutions to problems as rapidly as they have occurred. We had to be—say it with me now—flexible!
And one more tip, as we always under-promise and over-deliver. Consider this to be a time of rejuvenation where you can hit that reset button and start over fresh. Take more time to think, plan, and come up with all kinds of new ideas to be different. The world is ready for that. This pandemic has shaken us to our core. All of us have had to look at everything from a different perspective; no one has been excluded, and we were all put on the same baseline. Now is the time to take advantage of that and reshape our future. It’s up to us as sales leaders. Are you ready?
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.