Right now, CEOs and sales executives are facing some of the most challenging times of their careers. This strange and unpredictable environment has put our critical thinking skills to the test. We need a road map, and we need it now.
Mobilizing our teams after summer vacation and months of the pandemic, shutdowns, virtual work, and disruptions has left us in a fog. Through the haze we see our people struggling and feeling malaise. The degree of difficulty in leading a team that must drive revenue is as high as it has ever been. Yet the urgency is greater to rally and finish the year strong.
Haranguing, cajoling, pleading, and begging your sales force to just “do more” is not a strategy. Exhausting people mentally and emotionally never works, especially now. Yes, you must be honest about where you and be clear about the goals. And then, you need to lead the way with ideas they can use now.
Every organization has its own sales road map, but how you execute, well, there are principals that always apply. “We Need it Now” sales strategies may be familiar, but are you acting on them? As a leader, the most important thing you can do is show people the way. Rally the team, re-energize, refocus, and reengage them with strategies for success.
Here Are 10 Strategies for Activating Your “We Need it Now” Sales Strategy:
1. Go to War with the Real Enemy
The hidden impediment to increasing sales is not the economy, your customer’s budget, or the pandemic. It is within your own organization – and it is fatigue and malaise. Take care of yourself, reset your mindset every day, and every time you talk with your sales leaders and team. Look for good news, inspire them with stories of wins, and tell them you believe in them and are counting on them more than ever. Make them feel part of something greater than themselves.
2. Use a Mantra to Focus People Now
You may be surprised to know that not everyone understands the priorities right now. Your message must be engaging, encouraging and, unmistakable. I’ve used the mantra revenue, revenue, revenue to give people permission to prioritize – to decide what to do and not do every day.
3. Count on the “A” Team
When the going gets tough, the A players get going. You know who is on your “A team.” Be sure you don’t take them for granted. Spend extra time with them to encourage, appreciate, celebrate and then watch as they lead the way. Top sellers energize others and it is contagious.
4. Create a Stampede to Your Door
If you have something people really need, they will come knocking with real opportunity. Have you brainstormed with your team? Do you know what their clients are talking about? Find some trends, and start talking about those challenges. Be relevant and you’ll uncover opportunity and close faster.
5. Talk to Buyers, Not “Prospects” (You Know Who They Are)
In times like these your best buyers are most worthy of your time. Always be prospecting, but get to your well-known strategic buyers, even if you have not talked with them in a while. Even if they don’t have a project, they will take your call and may refer you to other business.
6. Get Out and Shake “Virtual” Hands
Yes, there is a lot lost because most of us can’t be face to face with our buyers. But just sending emails isn’t the answer, either. Buyers have full inboxes. Send short notes. Just ask for a meeting. Shaking virtual hands and having face-to-face conversations is the path to more sales now.
7. Get Smarter
Too many salespeople send “throwaway” emails that simply are not relevant. To sound smart, they need to be smart. Encourage them to be students of their clients’ businesses. Read the Wall Street Journal, the business and trade press, clients’ press releases and listen to clients’ earnings calls.
8. Be a Forecaster – of Trends
Without giving away any competitive secrets, share trends and insights about what’s happening in your industry. Build credibility by offering thoughts about the future. This is one of the fastest routes to becoming a trusted advisor. Everybody likes to be ahead of the trends.
9. Get Yourself on Speed Dial
Once you are a trusted advisor, make yourself easy to find and be sure your buyers know how to track you down. Make it a quiet, personal goal to be listed among “favorites” on their smart phones. Real buyers never abuse this, but they appreciate being able to find you when they have something to discuss.
10. Follow Your Network
We lose track of far, far, too many people in our professional lives. LinkedIn and industry newsletters are both great tools to stay up to date and connected. Look people up. Congratulate them on a new job. Get a meeting even if you aren’t sure where it will lead. You may just get a recommendation or referral.
We’ve often told clients the only antidote to paralysis is massive action. Ask yourself what you can do today to put some of these strategies in motion. Let us know how we can help your sales leadership team put these and other strategies into practice at firstname.lastname@example.org. What you do now will give you more to celebrate at the end of a very challenging year.