By Raoul Monks
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on how tech sales teams need to approach working with their clients. Many teams have seen a drop in demand while their customers are less willing to pick up the phone only to be sold to.
These changes have also had dramatic implications on leading a sales team. Not only do leaders have to adapt to teams who are working from home, they are having to lead teams who are selling to industries in flux and often in crisis.
Everything is very, very different.
The biggest mistake a sales leader can make right now is to look at everything from their own perspective and not from their team’s. Let’s consider what’s changed for your team and what sales leaders can do differently to help them sell.
In your sales team’s shoes
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A lot of tech sales teams now have clients that are finding it hard to buy. On top of that, they’re probably working from home, possibly alone, possibly with family, maybe in a house share with some not-so-great flat mates and a lack of space. Whatever their situation the impact of all of this on the sales person should not be underestimated.
There are a lot of factors at play here and every situation will be different, however, let’s imagine a typical situation:
Firstly, they have probably experienced a change in what does and doesn’t motivate them. In the past, they wanted to do well and they wanted to be seen to do well. However, all of that changed overnight. There is far more risk out there for them now. They may well have seen many of their colleagues leave the business and they just want to come through this with their job intact. That change in motivation has changed the lens through which they see everything. Now they are in flight or fight mode. Different elements of their personality may become exaggerated. Some will become passive with clients for fear of being seen as insensitive. Others, driven by targets, will become aggressive.
Looking at what your sales teams are going through allows us to better understand what the sales leader’s role is right now. The purpose of the sales leader has always been to make it easier for their team to perform, but, right now, that is more important than ever. Helping them work with their clients is going to help you and them survive.
Sales: Getting your story right
Now, more than ever, sales teams need focus. They need to know what good looks like in this new environment and they need to know their end goal. The sales leader’s job is to focus the team, co-create new behaviours and regularly review what they’ve done well and what isn’t working. This is crucial for your team to feel like they know why, what and how they’re meant to behave.
We want our teams to get out of bed and think: “I know what I’m doing, I’m focused, I want to be doing this”. This drive will be come from high levels of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose; however, it can also come from new incentives that are not just focusing on the end goal, but how to get there.
- Sales Innovation
The most impactful sales leaders concentrate on coaching, and ‘sales innovation’- helping sales people unblock deals that have become stuck in the pipeline. Run sessions with your team focused on:
- How do we get this deal over the line?
- Put your team into their client’s shoes and get them thinking what would and wouldn’t work.
The sales leader’s role is arguably harder and more important than ever before but by following the three steps of Focus, Drive and Sales Innovation you can make a difference to you, your team and your clients.
To learn more about how to effectively lead remote sales teams, download Flume’s whitepaper here
Flume Sales Training are committed to leading the charge on helping re-define sales excellence for a changed world.