As companies start to address the myriad of short and long-term impacts of COVID-19, sales leaders have a unique opportunity, if not a mandate, to rethink their sales models in preparation for changing business and competitive dynamics during the recovery period

There has been an enormous amount of disruption to all areas of business in recent times. Much has changed, and will continue to do so. Some changes might only be temporarary but linger in the short to medum term, but others are likely to continue well into the future, if not permanently. Reimagining and realigning sales investments in response to changing demand and customer expectations will be critical for all businesses as we transition to the ‘New Reality’.

The pandemic is bringing a significant and nearly instantaneous decline in demand, except for those whose offers benefited from the need for the world’s population to work, live, and play at home. As societies across the globe begin to emerge from quarantines, lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, there’s no doubt that all companies, even those that were fortunate enough to experience a surge in sales, will need to rethink where future revenue will come from considering the demand for their portfolio of offers across the spectrum of customer segments.

Sales leaders must address the realities of managing sales spend in the near-term, realign pull and push strategies, and their investments to address expected changes in demand and customer expectations. All while addressing inefficiencies built into their models in order to be more focused, lean, and nimble. Benchmarks, growth forecasts, and predictions have to be reset.

The questions sales leaders need to be asking right now

Many sales leaders have been focused on short-term spend management, bundling and un-bundling solutions and services, refreshing pricing strategies, and evaluating direct to customer channels. All of this while motivating and maintaining the morale of their teams and introducing new ways of working.

However, they will also need to examine and rebalance their sales investments in accordance with their company’s path into the New Reality. Here are some key considerations:

  • Sales leaders must not only understand the timeline over which they need to carefully manage spend in the short term, but also how much time they have to realign their sales models as the business starts to recover.
  • Behaviors are bound to change when customers, both B2B and B2C, have been locked down and are away from normal social orientation. Understanding how customers will be impacted long-term will provide insights into where demand will come from during the recovery period, so that sales leaders can direct sales investments to target the right customers with the right offers.
  • There will be lasting effects on customer needs and expectations. Sales leaders must determine how their sales models must adapt to address these changes so they can engage their customers with the right sales motions and interactions across the end-to-end customer buying process. Leaders need to be thinking about new data points, augmenting teams with automation and thinking about scaling technology solutions for increased productivity.
  • Becoming more nimble and agile will help sales leaders respond to what is likely to be a bouncy ride through recovery and help adapt to future disruptions. Drawing on learnings and working across the front office to shared objectives focussed on the customer will help to remove silos.

Every business will look different in the coming months. Some will look to just survive through the crisis, others will approach it as an opportunity to re-emerge stronger than the competition.

One thing that is certain - the future sales function will continue to rely on increased digital interactions, requiring the use of data to better understand and serve customers, to address a new set of customer needs and expectations.

If you have any questions regarding the possible impact of COVID-19 on your business or are looking to prepare your sales organization to be stronger in the New Reality, please contact us.

"Realigning sales investments in response to changing demand and customer expectations will be critical for all businesses as we transition to the ‘New Reality’."