This year there has been an undeniable shift in the world’s professional landscape, especially for sales teams. With many companies going virtual, including our own, sales professionals have had to reframe their definition of success when it comes to creating business models and launching new products. Through these changes we have learned that in order to survive and thrive, sales organizations have to be agile. Here are three ways to adapt to the changing sales landscape in 2021.
(1) Harness the popularity of self-guided customer demonstrations.
With companies conducting much of their sales development interactions remotely, we’ve learned that many customers actually prefer fewer face-to-face interactions. Self-guided trials are gaining popularity since customers are able to drive and manage the sales process at their own pace. Encouraging your team to harness the power of self-guided customer demonstrations lowers the cost of sales and increases performance in some areas. Throughout this new process, make sure your sales team is paying attention. They should be asking what messaging is working, what’s causing a product to fail and how can we learn from our mistakes? Whatever the sales strategy to launch new products, the key is giving your prospects the ability to drive their own experience.
(2) Focus on customer relationships more than ever.
Virtual interactions have been the only option during the pandemic, but this trend may become more permanent based on customer preference. While in-person meetings make it possible to read, react and respond to verbal and non-verbal cues, sales professionals need to create other ways to powerfully connect. Brainstorm with your team about the various ways they can still be impactful without being face-to-face. It is possible to recreate the intimacy of in-person conversations and product demos even if it’s through a screen. It simply takes creativity and commitment. The key to managing front-end sales development and market testing is through cultivating relationships. Ask your customers for their input on product-launch sales strategies and product testing. Through this type of close collaboration, you will create a sales process that works for both you and the customer, as well as create a stronger relationship.
(3) Identify your past mistakes and learn from them.
Breaking into a new market can be difficult, but when it does happen ask your team to immediately identify past mistakes and how they can be avoided in the future. The lessons learned will help you select the right people for future projects. Set the expectation that the team takes the lead in creating a sales strategy and clearly defining what success looks like in three, six and ten months. This tactic will keep everyone accountable, focused and on schedule. Also, don’t forget that it’s important for management to act as a cheerleader. Create the employee buy-in you need by encouraging enthusiasm and boosting morale. Entering an unknown market or launching a new product is a slow and sometimes daunting process so upper-level management should sit in the driver’s seat.
As this year draws to a close, business and sales processes will need more refining as companies continue to reflect on all the unexpected changes. Do you need help analyzing and adapting your product launch strategies going into 2021? Contact us today for a strategic conversation.