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Two Shifts Every Sales Team Should Be Making Now

June 5, 2020|Change, Crisis, Leadership, Sales, Strategy, Team Effectiveness

Over the last few months, our world has been rocked in many ways. Most of our sales teams have been grounded due to the pandemic, and now we are all dealing with the results of terrible injustice and inequity. From a business standpoint, we are all currently somewhere on this spectrum:

So what can, and should, sales teams be doing to move further to the right of that spectrum? What are those that are thriving right now doing differently? They are innovating their PROCESS and PRODUCTS to excel in this current environment, instead of waiting it out and hoping their model and strategy works again someday.

Travel restrictions and stay at home orders may be lifting, and some of the unrest may be settling but things are not, and should not, go back to the way they were. Regardless of where you are on that spectrum above, there are two things EVERY sales team should be doing that will help you win now and in the future:

  1. Increase diversity of your sales teams

  2. Continue to sell virtually, either completely or more than you did before

If you need a business case for either, here they are.

Diversity is good for your team, your buyers and your bottom line

Diversity is about more than just making sure you have people of color on your team. A diverse workforce is one that is made up of varying gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion, languages, education, abilities, etc. 

These different characteristics lead to a wide range of abilities, experience, knowledge, and strength which feels good to talent, in fact a 86% of job seekers consider diversity an important factor when deciding where to work. Regardless of the employment market, we all want to be an employer of choice to get the best talent. Diversity is a big part of that equation.

Diversity also drives innovation, like coming up with new solutions to solve your customer needs. Another HBR study found diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people. Of course that isn’t just on the sales team. Diverse leadership teams mean that diverse employees are more likely to be heard, and those organizations produce better results, with companies in the top-quartile for workforce diversity 33% more likely to financially outperform their less diverse counterparts.

That’s all well and good, but why do SALES teams need diversity? In sales, the all-important factor is how we connect with clients and deliver results. A team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% more likely than another team to understand that client. More diverse teams connect with more diverse buyers.

Bottom line: diverse teams deliver better results.

Virtual Selling Facilitates Better Connection with Buyers

Second, virtual selling fits the current global environment. There are the obvious benefits: less health risk, improved work-life balance, increased selling time, reduced selling costs. But there are less obvious reasons a more virtual sales approach can lead to better results.

Buying decisions are increasingly being made by committee, and right now in particular with more of us working from home, those decision makers are not co-located. This makes it harder to get groups together for sales conversations. Virtual conversations allow you to pull together the necessary decision makers from wherever they are, and engage them all in productive dialogue that helps you uncover their concerns and work through their objections.

As that buying process changes, our sales approach must shift as well. These more complex deals often benefit from team selling, which can be better facilitated with virtual engagements. When your meeting takes an hour or two instead of a day or two, and you don’t have to worry about travel, it’s easier to bring the right team to the deal every time.

Finally, when your hopes and dreams are not all hanging on a few in-person meetings, you can set up an approach that works best for your buyers and allows you to respond to their needs. Virtual selling lets you make those adjustments easily. Something shifted in your client’s priorities? Let’s have another discovery call. New decision maker asking questions? Let’s pull them in to the current process. Need to see the solution in action? Let’s switch to a quick demo since we are already online. Adapting to your buyers process and needs is much easier with all that built-in flexibility.

Bottom line: eventually there will still be a time and place for face to face selling, depending on your industry, solutions and buyer preferences. But MORE virtual engagements will help your sales process, and results, now and in the future.

At Luminaries Consulting, we want to see all businesses thrive and do our best to help our clients get there every day. These are two things that we feel every sales leader should be focusing on right now, regardless of your current state.

Have some perspective to share? We are all ears!

Holly LaBoda is a Partner and Co-Founder of Luminaries Consulting and the Logistics Sales Academy. Need to improve the skills of you or your team? Check out our 6 week course targeted at the skills you need to connect with decision makers, identify opportunities, build relationships and close deals, all virtually – Accelerating Virtual Sales Success.

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