There may be a lot of pent up enthusiasm and you may be raring to get back to the sell, but have you taken the time to assess what your marketplace actually looks like today?
My old dog Shelby was a lovely family friend. Loyal to the last, permanently happy to see me, completely excitable and always eager to please her master. I’d come home from work and always be met by her elation at seeing me. At times we would take her to the beach; at more than 2 hours drive from our home in Sheffield this was always quite the trip for her, sat in the back, panting, waiting, pacing, looking at where on earth we were going.
Shelby’s usual trips were to the local field or park – vast open spaces of greenery were her favourite thing and she would run with blind passion after the football I would kick for her the moment we went through the park gates. This was what she wanted, what she was used to, and what she would feel most comfortable doing.
Over 2 hours in a car ride to the beach is a long time for a dog. Couped up not able to do the usual activity to which she was accustomed; running and chasing had meant there was a lot of pent up energy. That energy simply had to find a release – quick!
The second I released her from that 2-hour trip and from the lead, I kicked the ball as far as I could and she was off – head down, bolt out the blue. She ran and ran and ran some more and then smack! straight into the North Sea! She didn’t like the water, in fact, she hated it! The shock and cold was something she wasn’t expecting and the ball was left ungrabbed bobbing along for another more familiar to the beach pooch to come and pick up.
She had been in the back of a car, unable to do what she was used to and then, when the opportunity to do just that occurred, she was off! She hadn’t spent a second more considering the environment around her – she just ran – fast – and lost her favourite ball by crashing in to the sea which she hated!
Step out of your safety net and appreciate the new normal.
Truth is, the ‘new normal’ isn’t really that new at all. It’s just it has taken a seismic global occurrence to make the move to using more of a digital approach to your sales toolkit. Zoom, the seemingly overnight saviour for many businesses has actually been around for over 9 years, formed in April 2011.
LinkedIn, the social media platform specialising in B2B networking and conversation, has been around since 2002. It’s true that over 90% of millennials are active on social media, and 60% (and growing!) of B2B buyers are millennials – so why then, is a modern approach to sales and business development often overlooked by business leaders? How much business are you leaving to someone else, by not having an appreciation or approach that matches the modern buying journey.
Your existing customers have always been there but have you, before March 2020, fully appreciated their value and contribution to your wider business development? How have those relationships grown, changed and evolved since the lockdown. How have you, or how can you, start to use the modern environment to enhance relationships with your existing customer base? They are a massive ally for you and you should not neglect them.
We think there are 4 keys phases to talking to the buyer before they are ready to buy, and you can find out more about that in our sales training resource.
So the new normal isn’t really that new at all. What is new, is the appreciation and requirement for business leaders and sales professionals at all levels to adapt to it and understand that the business marketplace has evolved quickly, and it won’t be going back any time soon.
Reverting back to type – a cautious word of advice.
My faithful pooch Shelby absolutely loved the park. It’s where she thrived. It’s what she was used to. But after a period of time stuck in the car not able to do her thing, once she hopped out the car, she didn’t give a moments notice to where she was standing or what her surroundings were. She just had to revert to type – she had to just run!
We’ve started talking to businesses as the world emerges from an unprecedented lockdown that in most cases has simply prevented you doing business; that has prevented you exercising your sales and marketing muscle, and because of that, you are most likely desperate to hop in to the world and simply sell!
Business owners seem to be falling in to two camps.
The first camp, the ‘this online world is awesome isn’t it’ camp, seem to have forgotten that tradition still exists and have doubled down at the expense of their traditional approach by ditching staff and methods that work in lieu of a wholly centralised and streamlined sales approach, suddenly using digital as their sole and only focus for sales.
The second camp, the ‘just get busy’ tradionalists camp is led mainly by those who didn’t seem digital as a part of their sales planning before and are loath to see it as part of the plan moving forward. But for now, it is a means to an end so the mantra to the team is to ‘just get busy’ and then blame social and digital media for their persistent posting of ‘buy now’ messaging when the ‘plan’ just doesn’t work beyond the first few weeks.
Is either of these camps looking at the strategies as a long term and sustainable plan?
There is a short term benefit to both of these camps and to some degree a certain necessity to get the sales over the line in the early moves of a getting back to normal strategy. But for longer-term vision, can you really tell what the future holds? And if you could, given the environment has changed and will never return to normal, would you feel comfortable that you and your team can deliver results in the same way, with the previous ways of doing business?
If your environment has changed, your buying journey has changed, and your market place has changed – then you must change.
To stay the same and not look outside the window or beyond the frame in which you were living is to leave your potential customers bobbing along the North Sea for a seaworthy competitor to come and pluck away from you.
Sales training webinars to support your journey to modern selling.
We offer complimentary sales training webinars that are designed to help you get an understanding of what a modern selling environment looks like and how your business can adapt to the changed environment. To register, simply follow the link and register for the next session!