The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 or the coronavirus, as it is commonly known, has immensely disrupted lives and livelihoods. The statistics are harrowing to say the least, and millions have so far been affected by the deadly virus. Governments and advisory bodies from across the world are taking requisite measures to contain the contagion and mitigate its far-reaching effects. As a result, organizations have been directed to move to the ‘work from home’ model, allowing employees to operate from the safety and confines of their homes to ensure public congregations do not intensify the spread of the virus.
The work from home concept is hardly new. With the evolution of various technologies and businesses expanding their operations, remote working has only grown in scale and scope. With COVID-19 now leaving no other option, organizations have been forced to implement the remote working model on an unprecedented scale and rather quickly. There’s no doubt that the suddenness of this arrangement has disrupted operations in no small measure. But, with the disruption being felt by organizations of all sizes spread across all industries and geographies, the trying time has also provided the opportunity to organizations to analyze their preparedness to tackle contingencies. This disruption will most certainly help organizations level up if they learn from the challenges, optimize digital platforms and tools, and put in place a robust, all-weather process to drive seamless operations.
In the changed paradigm—the new normal—sales processes will be partially or completely reliant on remote operations. It is therefore important to learn from the disruption and redesign sales strategies by factoring in the obvious challenges. To start with, target mapping has to be done on the basis of the foreseeable challenges caused by economic uncertainties. Setting unreasonable targets will invariably frustrate the sales force and make it difficult to achieve the optimal sales yield. Similarly, smart investments have to be made in all-purpose, digital resources. There will be an influx in the number of personal devices that are in use during this prolonged period of working from home. Digital plans must emphasize on providing a well-rounded, conducive business environment to the sales forces for accomplishing the sales goals.
A thorough understanding of existing and prospective clients is also very important for organizations to achieve the desired results. The pandemic has affected enterprises across the spectrum. Hence, it is important to have a clear idea of the target market and the offerings to sell to whom. With tighter purse strings, organizations have to decide on a smarter modus operandi in order to get the best output with the slightest effort. Real-time insight on market, prospects, as well as the sales force will hold organizations in good stead to develop strategies, and monitor and evaluate outcomes. Due diligence and patience has to be shown by enterprise managements in order to bail out of these grim times and navigate to the new normal.
The learnings are not only for company leaderships and on optimizing resources while steering operations from multiple locations. Each one of us has plenty to learn from this difficult time to imbibe the best practices in order to increase our efficiency and enhance our output. Sales forces of companies are especially caught in a fix in this changed paradigm of work from home. Meetings are now happening over smart devices and not in person. There has been a fair bit of redefining and redesigning of how sales communication is done during remote working. The sales personnel, or the street hunters as I like to call them, need to realign their methodologies to match the need of the hour. It will require constant upskilling and reskilling as well. In the end, sales is all about connecting and creating value that leads to benefits for both the sales persons and their stakeholders.
The Best Practices of Remote Operations
The learnings are not only for company leaderships and on how to optimize resources while steering operations from multiple locations. Each one of us has plenty to learn from this difficult time and imbibe the best practices in order to increase our efficiency and enhance our output. Sales forces of companies are especially caught in a fix in this changed paradigm of work from home. Meetings are now happening over smart devices and not in person. There has been a fair bit of redefining and redesigning of how sales communication is done during remote working. The sales personnel, or the street hunters as I like to call them, need to realign their methodologies to match the need of the hour. It will require constant upskilling and reskilling as well. In the end, sales is all about connecting and creating value that leads to benefits for both the sales person and his stakeholders.
The global pandemic and the subsequent remote operations model have changed the business dynamics considerably, making the sales force learn to connect remotely while also managing continuity to meet business objectives. In other words, this means successfully articulating value propositions and building trust with conviction, remotely over digital platforms. This is an obvious challenge for most sales personnel because sales as an activity requires a set of interpersonal communication skills that is best exhibited and optimized when communicating in person. For such personnel to discuss propositions with their stakeholders over a computer-controlled communication platform, will take adjusting. But it is not an unsuccessful endeavor. Here are five golden rules that sales teams can follow for effective and positive closures, with least disruption.
- Routine is the key: Work from home can lead to lethargy and complacency. It is important to set a definitive routine and stick to it in this changed work environment. While there is no traffic to beat to reach your office by a particular time, the best practice is to plan your day around all the things you have to accomplish, and leave little room to the possibility of meandering from the routine.
- Physical conditioning: In a fast-moving sales landscape, the physical effort required demands fitness and agility. With operations moving home, it is your responsibility to keep yourself fit. Choose a suitable fitness regimen, exercise requisitely, and stay fit for better days.
- Reading is wealth: With no need to waste time on driving, waiting for traffic signals to turn green, or queuing up for meals, you can now devote that time to increase your knowledge by reading and updating yourself. Read about emergent technologies that can help your professional endeavors and ambitions. You also have plenty of information available to build on your customer/prospects towards improving your value propositions, to increase your chances to win. Similarly, stay abreast of the various geopolitical developments that are altering the macroeconomic dynamics of your businesses.
- Business sanctity: Thanks to unified communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom, remote meetings have become more effective. Much like meeting in person, the various audiovisual tools in these digital platforms facilitate life-like communication. It is therefore crucial that you groom yourself, even working from home, much the same way as you would while meeting your stakeholder in person. Underline your intent by presenting yourself with due conviction and commitment during remote meetings.
- Rejuvenating the mind: While this forced lockdown has disrupted lives, it has also offered us the opportunity to spend quality time with our families, without forgoing our livelihoods. Now is perhaps the best time for you to rejuvenate your mind, vitalize your bonding with family, and strengthen your mental conditioning before you are back in office. Enjoy the present while prepping for the future.
The virus has swept the world and has reminded us to value the smallest of things. It has also highlighted the need for us to assume our individual and collective responsibilities earnestly. When the good times are back, we must not forget what these bleak times have taught us. The learnings of these times will shape a better and safer future.