In this way you are already preparing for the quick start after the crisis.
Who actually kicks off when the game starts again? – Lethargy in sales is not allowed!
This question from a sales department says a lot about the condition of the people. In the last ten days, our sales coach team has spoken to over 100 companies. The frightening picture often shows paralyzed sales units that talk to their customers, but nothing more than small talk and a little relationship building comes out of it. Now it is important to use the time to firstly gather and evaluate the previously neglected information on the customers’ business models and secondly to prepare the potential-oriented market development strategically and operationally in order to be able to achieve the sales results for 2020 with a quick restart. What can sales managers and sales staff do now? Which competencies does this important area of a company need to use to act proactively? What do your customers want and need now?
Business models in change
Many companies are fighting for survival. With voucher campaigns such as “My favourite place”, the catering trade is asking its regular customers to make sales now despite the crisis. The hotel industry now rents out rooms during the day as “Hotel Office – Here you can work in peace when it’s too loud at home with the kids”. There are many courageous and creative companies that are changing their business model and thus operating successfully in the market. Whether it’s the spirits producer who now produces disinfectants, or the stand builder who builds Plexiglas cash registers for discounters. New business models are created every day. Speaking of business models: Whether in key account management or in normal business customer sales, over 80% of salespeople are not familiar with the business model and the numbers of their customers. This figure is alarmingly high. Speaking of markets and competitors: Market and competitive knowledge is below average in many industries. The media industry shows the greatest catch-up potential here, to put it positively. Let us therefore take a closer look at the media industry. You can apply this example to many industries.
The media consultants of the media houses that are dominated by daily newspapers still sell advertising as product sales without having a precise knowledge of their customers’ business models. In times of crisis, the call for special sales campaigns is always loud and repeated. Like the Pavlovian bell reflex, advertisers are showered with more and more special topics and specials. The sales loss of the previous year should not be too big. If you constantly increase the dose, you weaken the effect of the product. The entire print industry has already programmed itself for declining sales. A potential-oriented market cultivation with a corresponding market transparency only takes place in very few cases. And now, in the current crisis, media consultants are sitting in their home office and have no stringent leadership and no disciplined self-management. Discussions with customers are not going well. Objections and pretexts cannot be transferred to the new topic. Employees find it difficult to break out of lethargy and conduct a normal sales talk starting with the information phase. There is so much new information and old information about the customers’ business models that can now be gained. Just imagine how much time the media consultants have, since they hardly have to enter any orders, but can only generate customer contacts and, above all, new customer contacts. Are your employees customer understanders? Do the sales staff know the structures of your customers? Which benefit is currently the most important for the customers?
To act anticyclically now is the competitive advantage of tomorrow!
Those who act acyclically now can gain competitive advantages. Imagine that one media consultant serves about 650 customers. Now comes the kick-off. The contact ban has been lifted. The economy should start up again. Now all business customers must be positively occupied by end customers. The end customer wants to consume again. He wants to be happy and go shopping. By what and where should he satisfy his desire to consume? And how should a media consultant advise and sell advertising to 650 consulting customers directly after the kick-off? How are the communication goals to reach the target groups with attention and persuasion effects?
According to our customer survey, there is no plan here among the media houses and advertisers. And again, the statement: “Those who don’t have a plan, act without a plan.”
To act counter-cyclically now means to complete yesterday’s and tomorrow’s tasks in the crisis. This also means enabling people to deal with crises better. Managers must be stimulated by the management to live their leadership virtues in a goal-oriented and empathetic manner.
“Talk to your people every day.” “Have a meeting with the entire team every Monday.” Visual contact via the countless meeting tools is so ingeniously simple when a professional concept is available.
The same applies to employees. Managers must stimulate their employees to speak to their customers in a goal-oriented manner every day. And not only by telephone. Advertisers are also online and use video conferencing. This medium must be mastered. I have to be able to share ad hoc presentations on screen. I must be able to develop ideas together via whiteboards on the screen. And above all, I have to make a plan with my customers as to when what is to be done. Because one thing is clear: If I want to be in the mind of my consumer, I have to advertise now.
Now is the time to think about what individuals don’t get to do in day-to-day business. Yes, I can’t get any appointments with bakers, cobblers, caterers etc. at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to understand their business models now. Understanding means knowing where the weak points lie. Then comes the hour of the true seller. I show my customers solutions from a difficult situation. Success creates success, but unfortunately also failure creates success. Now it is a matter of developing a procedure how I want to work on my area in a structured way after the contact block has been released.Are your managers and employees capable of stimulating other people?
Learning from the crisis and being fitter for tomorrow
During the financial crisis, I was allowed to carry out an acyclic training campaign for a Hamburg logistics company in 40 branches in Germany. Not one employee was laid off and no vehicle was sold. The field sales force consistently only went to new customer potential and the office sales force, the disposition, carried out the customer contact calls to all customers. Internally, the processes were digitalised and shortened as far as possible. The result was a leap in sales of 20 %.
In many industries, it is now necessary to identify market potential and draw conclusions from market data and share these conclusions with customers. Insights from market data are the gold of today’s alchemists. Let us take another look at the media industry. Media Summary is a company specialising in market analyses that provides market transparency on advertising behaviour in a region in print, online, radio, etc. Compared to my own CRM data, it can be shown which of my customers advertises elsewhere. And who is advertising in my area of distribution, but is not in my CRM, i.e. also not in the market development of my sales team. These results are then displayed not only in lists, but also on Google Maps. This visualization of market potential has an enormous impact. It shows that a media consultant, contrary to what is often said, does not know his field 100%.
In the case of a media company, over 50% of the market potential was not in structured market development. What is the situation in your industry? Do you have all the market data to be able to provide strategic and operationally structured market development?
Digitization makes a quantum leap
Digitisation is gaining momentum and is making a quantum leap. In just a few weeks, we can achieve as much as we usually do in ten years, says Frank Thelen. The current situation shows very clearly that digitization also brings advantages in all areas. Many companies have completely switched from office operation to home office from now on, and it works. The CRM systems also work in the home office. But despite all the digitalization of their own business processes, people remain the number one success factor. He enters the data into the CRM system. Only from this data can insights be gained, which then lead to new actions via decisions. Activities in the home office require a different type of cooperation and a different type of management. Electronic tools provide excellent support – also in further education, training and coaching. Workshops with individual group rooms, planned or spontaneous queries, working with metaplan walls or moderation cards – everything is there and everything is possible.
As a result, not all face-to-face training and coaching sessions will certainly be eliminated in the future, but many travel costs will be able to flow into productive development measures. This is good for the participants, the companies and nature and ultimately also for trainers and coaches.
Do you want things to be different and better after the crisis than before? You want your team to act more strongly in the market? You want to make up for lost sales? Then follow these tips:
1. Act anticyclically and thus secure a competitive advantage.
2. Conduct target-oriented, strategic and operational discussions with your customers now.
3. Make use of the two basic virtues “Talk to your employees/customers every day” and “At least one visual meeting in the team every week”.
4. Use all tools to make the market and competitive behaviour visible.
5. Make massive use of the digital possibilities now.
6. And above all, stop the lethargy in sales immediately.
7. Integrate our experience and competence for the start-up phase.
For an initial planning discussion, we are available to you by telephone, Skype, teams or e-mail.