• August 28, 2020
  • By Deepthi Kothapalli , associate director, customer engagement solutions, Brillio

5 Steps for Impactful Digital Sales in the New Normal

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New challenges are emerging daily with the ongoing pandemic. Business leaders are tasked with the seemingly impossible responsibility of ensuring business continuity while managing expectations and promoting well-being of both customers and their workforce.

Within just a few months, sales teams have experienced sweeping operational changes by having to engage with customers in a virtual setting and interact with them digitally. This kind of change is demanding for them since it requires a change in mind-set, technology, and even the business model. Despite these challenges, certain essential steps and approaches can ensure the effectiveness of sales teams in this new normal.

Nurture Customer Relationships While Working Remotely

Now is a good time for sales teams to reach out and offer empathy to customers. Consider making short-term adjustments that help build a long-term connection based on trust and partnership. Reach out to customers via call or email or other digital channels to help them solve a problem or inform of temporary promotions and offers that are in the interest of their well-being.

In fact, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we helped one of our customers, which offers a planning-platform-as-a-service, to run a campaign providing a free short-term workspace upgrade to clients, including essential services. The campaign made it easy for prospects to request free trials by quickly implementing a web form feeding information directly into their Salesforce workflow. This level of customer engagement and empathy not only helped our client build long-term trust but also established its presence as a leader in social responsibility.

The key is to be sincerely empathetic to the situation and respond with flexibility.

Be Agile

Today businesses must build flexible frameworks that can be quickly reconfigured with a product development mind-set. This can help sales teams launch context-relevant offerings, promotions, and trials quickly. In fact, connected processes and applications that reduce friction between sales teams is crucial in this new-world order.

In fact, in May 2020, we enabled our premier customer in enterprise cybersecurity solutions launch an offering to help businesses manage their suddenly remote workforce and navigate through the unique set of challenges protecting people and data. This offering allowed sales workforces to select relevant solutions and features and generate personalized pricing.

Hence, companies need to develop frictionless solutions that coexist with the current landscape, can scale in the future, and provides options to migrate as business conditions change and improve for sales professionals.

Establish Data Culture

Unpredictable events can have a dramatic impact on business forecasts. As sales drives the engine of business growth, turning raw data into actionable insights and building strategies based on intelligent data-backed recommendations should be ingrained in a business’s DNA. 

Creating the right data visualizations can provide sales teams with in-depth visibility into recurring business and analyze trials and promotions usage, churn, and upsells and cross-sells. This data-validated information forms the basis for free trials, promotions, and customer retention strategies.

One of our customers, a leader in unified communications, exchange email, VOIP, and other business cloud services, identified the need to look beyond data strategy and embarked on a journey toward being a data-led organization. We enabled their journey with a strategically phased implementation of an analytics and data visualization platform that consolidated information from multiple data sources and presented a unified view of key business performance indicators. This initiative shed a harsh light for the sales teams on the volume of offline revenue loss driven by trial requests. Interestingly, the analytics surfaced gaps that led to platform enhancements.

It is more important than ever to understand patterns and trends revealed by data and respond to customers effectively.

Reassess Team Enablement Strategy

Remote workforces, largely anticipated to be the implicit “next normal” of the workplace, may be both more viable for the organization and more desirable for the workforce.

This is an opportunity for businesses to reimagine their process and application landscapes and make them work for hybrid sales teams that include onsite and remote employees. As the pandemic exacerbates existing gaps and inefficiencies, companies are required to audit user workflows and align with business processes based on deal pathways, geographical locations, or distribution channesl.

Although having access to the shared knowledge of sales team members is invaluable, consider implementing alternative channels to provide similar guidance—for example, in-app guidance tools and recommendations providing contextual product packaging and pricing; chat groups fostering deal recap discussions; and conferencing tools/channels for users.

Develop a Road Map to Recovery 

As digital adoption accelerates, market realities are constantly evolving. The speed at which this phenomenon has occurred is permanently rewiring customers’ behavior patterns.

Customers are reevaluating their priorities and budgets, so it is essential for sales teams to reinvent their business and revenue models. To successfully do so, they must be enabled with necessary digital processes and tools to build strategically personalized proposals with pricing backed by data-driven insights.

As business leaders anticipate and strategize their reopening strategies, sales must be ready to assimilate new information, rapidly reconstruct and incorporate new approaches, and deploy changes incrementally to achieve their targets.

Successful implementation of these five steps can help sales team weather the uncertainties and navigate through these unprecedented times. Hence, resilient leaders and organizations must reimagine their digital sales strategies and technology landscapes to shape outcomes that ensure continuity, growth, and success.

Deepthi Kothapalli is associate director, customer engagement solutions, at Brillio. Kothapalli has been an application architect and CPQ specialist with more than 13 years of experience in complex lead to revenue processes and solutions for enterprise-level information technology. Kothapalli has deep expertise in Salesforce platform, CPQ, and billing solutions. 

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