Focus on strategic planning and sales enablement

6th November 2020 |   Alex Ellinis

Sales methods must change in a post-COVID-19 world.

It is often said that people buy from people. Many of the world’s top salespeople have relied on their personality and ability to quickly establish a rapport with customers to become highly successful. While this trend may continue in future, the dynamics of sales have to change dramatically in a post-COVID-19 world.

When the world finally emerges from lockdown, and businesses across the globe begin to reopen, we will all need to adjust to the new normal we now face. Strong leadership has never been more important as companies look for that competitive edge that will help them navigate through all the uncertainty.

Things will not go back to the way they were before, so embrace the change and empathise with your customers.

As we all know, nothing is going to be the same as it was before. So leaders need to accept this, embrace the change if they can, and then set out a plan on how their business is going to move forward. In terms of sales, lockdown has changed our world forever, with strategic planning and sales enablement now coming to the fore, replacing the previous transactional focus.

Why sales enablement?

Sales enablement is a strategic, collaborative discipline designed to increase predictable sales results by providing consistent, scalable enablement services that allow customer-facing professionals and their managers to add value in every customer interaction. Sales enablement is important because it prepares salespeople to conduct a more effective sales process and achieve better sales results. The right sales enablement strategy equips sales professionals with the training, coaching, and content they need to be successful.

What’s the difference between sales enablement and sales operations?

Sales operations will interact with marketing, but their primary focus is sales. Sales enablement achieves greater end results by improving both marketing and sales activities. Sales enablement enhances content creation, findability, analytics, sales communication, sales readiness, and reporting.

Key success factors for a sales enablement strategy

  1. Collect all information in a single place – a good CRM system is a must to optimise sales performance. Prior to lockdown, salespeople only spent 35% of their time actually selling, this could be lower now.
  2. Collaborate, communicate, and provide feedback. Strong leadership is very important; give your sales force positive direction and lead by example.
  3. Give salespeople the tools they need (and want) to be successful.
  4. Make sales collateral accessible; digital assets need to be accessible from anywhere at any time.
  5. Educate and train – invest in your people.

How to improve sales post-COVID-19?

It is absolutely key that you listen to your customers, reassuring them and adjusting your sales message. Things will not go back to the way they were before, so embrace the change and empathise with your customers – put yourself in their shoes and look at what their new needs and wants are. In other words, encourage sales to focus much more on value selling.

It is also very important to increase internal communication with your team. You need to support their health and wellbeing, and keep your sales team safe, to encourage optimised motivation and ensure everyone is moving in the same direction.

Positive psychology is going to play a huge role in how organisations get back to work, and it’s vital that leaders realise this and how their leadership skills will directly affect the levels of happiness in the workplace. Leaders need to ensure that three conditions are met to optimise sales performance:

  1. Employees must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress, meaning there is a clear direction and structure to the task.
  2. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback helping the person negotiate any changing demands but also generating increased self-worth.
  3. Workers must have confidence in their ability to complete the task at hand.

Increased communication and support levels are a must; people will feel vulnerable and leaders must realise this.

Greater London Business School

Greater London Business School focuses on blending academic with experiential learning so that clients can quickly implement their new knowledge within their respective organisations to achieve the desired results. It is focused on providing organisations and individuals with training and qualifications which have a direct impact on performance and success.

Founder and Director at Global Online Education

Alex Ellinis is the Founder and Director of Global Online Education at Greater London Business School. He has spent the past 20 years working in management and senior executive leadership roles across various sectors, including, travel and tourism, supply chain, transport and logistics, security, and civil engineering. He holds an MSc in Strategic Management, an MPhil in Business Research, a Level 8 Diploma in Leadership, a black belt in Lean Six Sigma and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in business strategy at Monarch University, Switzerland.