The business world doesn’t stop, even if it feels like it at times, but you know who really doesn’t stop? Your competition and they will gain new clients, clients that could have acquired.
I feel bad for companies who freeze their business development hiring efforts because those very companies will feel the effects later in the year.
This pandemic has forced us to embrace a remote work environment. Personally, I have preached the concept for years, especially in the industry that I operate in where companies are selling technology enabled solutions. Why would people have to come to an office, other than socializing, gathering and being able to see each other? Yes, it’s good for morale (at times) but you can build a healthy company culture even when employees are not physically together.
And before you feel that I am opposed to being with people, let me explain. I am probably one of the most sociable people you will meet and not many folks I know enjoy company as much as I do. But when it comes to work though, I am most effective by myself. It’s not that I’m not a team player, I am but I don’t need to see people in-person to ask for advice, get or give guidance. And, I also don’t have to see my prospects and clients in order to successfully sell. As a matter of fact, I have been working remote for 17 years and have been able to acquire clients all around the US and internationally without a problem. I had a client for 5 years and didn’t meet here until year 3 and it was perfectly fine. And what do we have all the systems for (CRM, Workflow management) if we still feel we all have to be in one room?
Hiring during this crisis
The other day a recruiter told me that they were not hiring until they can see people again. That’s just crazy talk to me during times where we really don’t know when that will be the case. He said that it would be hard to determine if that person can sell without meeting them. To me the question is, how can you determine if a person can sell when you actually meet them in-person?
The May 7th Revenue Collective Benchmarking Report observed that “Most companies using Revenue or Bookings as the KPI for returning to normal business operations but a healthy chunk (33%) have not defined “normal” at all which puts the team at risk.”
Use Assessment Tools!
I believe what people are afraid of is that they feel that the invisible (or what seems to be invisible) cannot be measured. In fact, there are many sales assessment tools out there to measure whether a sales person will be good at what they are doing.
Unless, you are a business where you only sell to people in-person, most of the transactions will take place over the phone or via Zoom/Skype, etc. So, what better way to measure whether a sales person will be successful than observing how they conduct themselves during the interview process.
For years, I have been telling my clients to not only invite candidates to on-site interviews, but to extensively spend time with them on the phone, to see how they follow up after interviews (because how they do it during the interview process will be how they conduct themselves following up with prospects & clients).
Let’s face it. We have all been a bit lazy and complacent and many companies have been flying by the seat of their pants. They used measures such as “how many times the sales person was on the phone when the manager walked by”. Yes, you know who you are and now is the time to change it. Once we establish Key Performance Indicators, such as…..
· How many prospects have you researched this week?
· How many touchpoints with prospects took place?
· How many actual conversations have you had?
· How many times did you agree on a next step?
…we will have a much clearer picture of productivity and success.
Now, we are forced to operate in an environment where productivity will matter more than anything else. Sales is measured by numbers like no other profession, it shouldn’t matter where you are in the world as long as you have a computer and an internet connection.