5 Tips For Sales Leaders To Better Navigate COVID-19

Groove’s top 5 ways sales leaders can better navigate COVID and remote working

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Over the last few months, the entire sales industry has seen dramatic changes in the way teams function and interact with customers. With this in mind, Groove has put together a list of the 5 best ways sales leaders can utilize new technologies and remote working approaches in order to maximize sales during this challenging business period.

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5 Tips For Sales Leaders To Better Navigate COVID And Remote Working

Tip #1: Plan for long-term shifts within your sales teams.

With many companies working completely remotely, the idea of onsite or traveling sales representatives is quickly becoming a distant memory. According to a McKinsey and Company report issued last week, “Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a videoconferencing(VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19. Important changes - 58% of sales representatives expect their role to be permanently changed due to the pandemic.”

The fact is that remote sales is here to stay, and the sales industry itself has permanently changed. For sales leaders, this means that account executives will need to take on new responsibilities and expectations, and organizations will need to invest heavily in technologies that will enable their existing sales staff to quickly adjust to these changes.

Tip #2: Look at AI tools and training platforms to optimize the performance of your sales teams.

According to Miller Heiman’s 2020 Trends in Sales Management report, sales managers spend twice as much time on administration and forecasting - 34.1% - as they do on coaching their teams. This indicates a clear missed opportunity for business leaders looking to maximize the effectiveness of their sales teams.

Conversational intelligence platforms can enable companies to improve efficiency for both the sales team and management. These tools use AI to enable sales teams to surface insights into their customers, as well as improve their approaches.  Chorus AI,  Deepgram, Observe.ai, RingDNA, Cogito, and Amenity Analytics all use proprietary natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to extract insights from recorded calls, enabling companies to identify potential sales trends and new approaches.

There are several additional tools on the market focused on training existing sales team members. One standout is  Gong, a startup that provides salespeople real-time, AI-powered feedback on their calls. In addition to providing conversation intelligence tools, Gong’s platform provides what they refer to as “revenue intelligence insights”, enabling sales managers to easily scan all the sales in progress across their company, and managers can browse and benchmark assessments of their reps’ calls.

Tip #3: Remote working can often silo information within departments. Use tools to enable cross-collaboration

High-growth companies have found that their revenue strategy scales exponentially when they break down operational silos and create a structure where sales work cross-functionally with marketing, sales development, and customer success to acquire, service, and expand accounts.

According to the Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study, 91% of the top-performing sales organizations collaborate across departments to close big deals. This process is complicated when teams are entirely remote. The importance of collaboration between sales and marketing teams cannot be overstated.

“Sales and marketing leaders need to invest in technology that enables them to collaborate on accounts and tie sales engagement activities like meetings, calls, and emails through to marketing campaign ROI. Teams that break down these virtual siloes will fill their pipelines with higher quality opportunities at a greater velocity than sales teams can do alone." - Kristin Hersant, vice president of marketing for Groove

Tip #4: Look to implement integrated tools within your CRM that suit your business

In recent years, CRM’s have grown into full-fledged all-in-one app platforms featuring custom-tailored third-party apps and tools designed to fit the needs of specific businesses — regardless of their vertical or geographic location.

There is a reason why Salesforce has become the de-facto standard for businesses: the Salesforce Appexchange. In recent months, Salesforce has built new resources into the site dedicated to providing information and recommended services for the COVID economy. Chances are if you have a specific technology need for your business, there is an app built for it running on the Salesforce platform.

“With companies accelerating digital transformation as a result of COVID-19, it's more important than ever that they align themselves with vendor solutions that are cloud-first. “ - Groove CEO Chris Rothstein

Tip #5: Regularly review trusted analyst blogs to spot emerging business trends and technologies.

As the market continues to change by the day, it is important to be able to identify business and technology trends in order to efficiently allocate resources. Trusted analyst reports can often provide valuable insights with no specific spin. For sales leaders with limited time and budgets, two trusted free analyst blogs come to mind:

  • The Forrester Blog, which regularly features key takeaways from analyst reports, as well as thoughts from industry experts such as Forrester’s Principal Analyst Mary Shea
  • The Gartner Marketers Blog, a series within the Gartner Blog Network, regularly features segments on the current state of marketing, featuring industry trends and guest expert insights into specific niche’s within the marketing industry.
  • The TOPO Blog,  which features custom research and recommended strategies and tactics that have been proven to accelerate revenue growth