This is a guest post by Greg Armor, Executive Vice President of Sales at Gryphon Networks.
At some point around the middle of March, with few exceptions, virtually all US salespeople are working from home. It will likely be months before non-essential workers begin returning to offices. Before that can happen, returning employees will need to be tested for COVID-19 or its antibodies, or a vaccine or treatment will need to be readily available.
I predict that many employees may never return to a traditional office. Office space is expensive and if companies bring their workers back to an office, the layout of the space will need to be reconfigured. If we are still advised to physically distance from one another, for example, fewer people will fit into an open space work environment. Open workspaces may be a thing of the past, with cubicles and offices becoming the norm once again.
In all, there are 3 major changes sales teams will face in the post-COVID-19 era.
Sales in the Post COVID-19 Era
A Shift in Geographically-Based Sales Teams
Commercial sales teams (i.e. teams selling to small and mid-sized businesses) and enterprise sales teams may start operating in a less geographically-based structure. If salespeople aren’t traveling to meet prospective new clients, and the vast majority of communication becomes reliant on video, what difference does it make if a sales rep on the west coast is serving companies in the northeast or other countries for that matter? Today, all good sales reps need is a laptop and the communication technology to enable connection and collaboration.
Back in March, when we were quickly shifting to a work from home environment, the focus was on the basics ― making sure employees had the equipment and access to do their jobs remotely. Then, in April, most companies moved on to the next phase ― expanding access to technology tools that enable better communication and collaboration, including video-based communication platforms. After an initial adjustment period, sales team members and leaders started developing the new skills required to work efficiently and effectively from home. Now employers, and sales leaders, in particular, need to focus on making their teams more productive.
While companies initially halted spending to understand the financial impact of the pandemic, I believe at some point soon, companies will begin to refocus on growth. This includes onboarding new employees and training them in a remote environment. There will no longer be the week-long training at the corporate office for new salespeople. Technology will play a more important role in new employee onboarding and training. Robust video content, stored in the Cloud, will be how new employees receive training and tutorials to get up to speed in their new positions.
2. Technology Priorities Will Gear Towards Remote Access and Visibility
Companies will also need to revisit “bring your own tech” (BYOT) policies to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. The days of having a personal mobile phone and a work mobile phone were already on their way out. What today’s salesperson needs is a single device that can be compartmentalized to enable use anywhere, for business and personal needs. Nor can companies dictate what device they will allow employees to use. The business needs to run device agnostic.
As things change for reps, so will they for sales managers. Before COVID-19, sales managers could roam the floor and listen to their business development reps (BDRs) or sit down and plugin with a rep to listen to an entire call live. Then managers would use the knowledge gleaned in real-time to coach individual reps and the whole team. Sales managers would also hold in-person team meetings to discuss challenges and share best practices, role play, and ask questions.
With that in-person aspect of the job no longer viable, sales managers need new tools to understand reps’ behavior. These sales acceleration tools must provide metrics, analytics, and dashboards for sales managers to see (and hear) who is succeeding and who is struggling.
Real-time coaching in our new environment requires the ability to easily record calls, listen in real-time or have calls automatically transcribed, and see real-time data on call activity and dispositions. This provides the information to understand which behaviors should be replicated and what language is driving success. Speech analytics can also help better understand client pain points and the language prospects use to describe the business value provided by the product or service.
3. The Profile of a Successful Salesperson will Change
It is important to note that the profile of the salesperson who is successful in an office environment is different than the profile of the salesperson who will thrive working from home. For example, while camaraderie and a sense of competition among teammates will still be important, other characteristics, such as being a self-starter and an excellent time manager may be more important.
That said, sales managers will still want to promote a sense of competitiveness and new technology tools will enable gamification, leaderboards, data, and stats to support that.
Sales acceleration technology makes sales teams more productive and more effective through new data, analytics, visibility, and insights. Likewise, it helps sales leaders forecast more accurately by providing superior data, visible immediately to base forecasts in real-time. Of course, a new technology comes at a cost, but this cost will be more than made up for through reduced travel, real estate expenses, and most importantly, increased revenue.
As sales leaders, our lives have changed. Fortunately, we have access to tools and technology to not only help us adapt but to help us thrive in the post-COVID-19 era. To learn more about how Gryphon Networks is supporting top companies across various industries grow their sales performance, visit us at www.gryphonnetworks.com.
Greg Armor is the Executive Vice President of Sales at Gryphon Networks. Greg brings over 20 years of sales experience leading hyper-growth sales organizations. Greg thrives on scaling successful businesses, building strong teams, and establishing long term client relationships. As an executive leader, he has helped drive successful go to market strategies at companies like BitSight, Tangoe, and MaaS360 (sold to IBM) and Avaya.