The way of selling for most sales professionals has changed forever. Whether they realize it or not will be up to themselves, their managers and Sales Training departments, and the customers who are looking for a different approach and value proposition. In other words, a majority of the Sales Professionals out there are going to continue pounding out ridiculous emails screaming “Even though we are in a pandemic and the world is about to end, I am running a special at reduced prices so can I set up a meeting with you at 1 PM next Thursday?”
For the next 6-9 months, smart sales organizations will understand the realities of the times we are in and adjust accordingly. The graph below presents ideas for our new reality:
Existing Products to Existing Customers: Try to Survive
It’s going to get ruthless out there. The other day, I read a story about how the rats in New York City are starving because all the restaurants are closed, and the streets are empty. As a result, the rats are in a war for food and they have already resorted to cannibalism to survive. I think that’s how it’s going to be with existing customers accounts who still have budgets and are willing to spend on products and services. If you are a sales professional and are the incumbent, you better wake up every day prepared for battle and focus on making sure your value proposition remains perfect. And be prepared to match prices as your competitors engage in price wars. If you are a sales professional trying to take the business, then be prepared to offer a better value proposition and not just a lower price.
New Products to Existing Customers
This is going to be very hard. Your existing customers are going to be very risk adverse and your value proposition for the new product must be close to game changing which means helping your customer achieve their goals and objectives with a true and immediately measurable ROI.
New Products to new Customers
New customer acquisition is going to be extremely hard unless you have a value proposition that nobody else has. A great example of that is ZOOM. ZOOM was already a great product with a growing customer base, but they literally woke up one day a month ago and their business model had changed with millions of new customers ready to pay whatever it costs for the ability to have virtual meetings. If you don’t have a ZOOM-like product, then you are going to have to work extremely hard to position a new value proposition that has measurable impact and ROI.
Existing Products to New Customers
I don’t think you have a good shot here. If you were struggling as a sales professional taking existing products to new potential customers before COVID-19, then it will be exponentially harder to do that today. Especially of there is no unique value proposition that is extremely different than what it was two months ago. Barraging potential customers with endless, mindless, insulting emails will actually have a negative impact on your brand and make those potential customers really dislike you.
In summary, the next few months are going to be extremely difficult for Sales Professionals. Selling the same old way will dramatically reduce brand equity. New skills and tools are required and now, more than ever, Sales Professionals must have the Business Acumen skills to be perceived as Business Professionals who add real and measurable value in the sales process.