The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a drastic change in sales operations. While organizations struggled to set up their teams for remote work environments, employees had to prepare themselves for work from home. At the same time, team managers had to devise methods to keep a tab on the activities of their team members to run operations smoothly.
Today, we may have adapted to the new normal. However, the winning sales strategy for 2022 will be a mix of digital and conventional sales methodologies – with more emphasis on productivity and efficiency.
In this article, we will discuss how to build a winning sales strategy for 2022. But first, a quick look at the challenges in 2020 that paved a path for an innovative approach in sales.
Common challenges that businesses faced during the Covid-19 pandemic:
- How to check up on employees working from home?
- How to get insights into the productivity of your teams and how to keep them motivated while they worked from home?
- Data security: How to keep your data safe while working from home?
- How to track phone calls/meetings/messages?
- How to set up internal notifications and escalations?
Common sales challenges while facilitating remote selling models
- In-person meetings were not possible anymore. Nearly all meetings moved online. Amidst this, some prospects were not tech-savvy, and others faced internet connectivity issues. In general, discussions between sales reps and customers were not smooth.
- Since several sales reps had to shift out of the cities they worked in, access to sales data from a single secure source became crucial.
- Connectivity/network issues led to a drop in sales productivity.
- Physical marketing events came to a standstill. Salespeople had to think of a lot of other ways to engage with customers and prospects.
When we asked salespeople from different industry verticals about the challenges they face these days while selling, 34.48% of respondents said communication challenges, 34.48% said the inability to understand customer’s sentiments (during one-on-one interactions), 17.24% of salespeople said customers have too many options to choose from, and the remaining 13.79% of respondents said competitor’s pricing is their primary concern.
In line with the response, Arbaz Jawed, Manager – Inside Sales, LeadSquared, says – “Changing buyer behavior and expectations, and how to connect with customers is a critical pain point in today’s selling environment. To know how to sell, whom to sell, and when to sell are the three main questions that every sales rep should address. And by answering these questions, we have done 50% of the work.”
Atharva Dubey, Manager – Inside Sales, LeadSquared, says, to address the communication challenge, we usually switch on the camera while starting a Zoom/Teams meeting. It gives a slight hint to the customer that maybe they can also switch-on their camera, and we can have a video call to interact further. Facial expressions are very important in understanding the interest levels of the prospect.
[Also read: Inside sales guide]
The 2020-21 pandemic encouraged the adoption of remote workforce solutions. 2022 will also see an increased adoption of sales productivity tools.
The pandemic brought many unforeseen challenges into the spotlight. Organizations may have allowed and managed flexible working hours and the option to work from home in the past, but they were not prepared to handle a completely remote workforce suddenly.
[Browse: 53 Best Sales Productivity Tools]
Nonetheless, companies immediately adopted remote workforce solutions and successfully overcame the following challenges:
Managers and team leaders wanted to know when their workforce is starting their day, ending their day, whether they are working or not working, who is taking leaves, and more.
With the remote working solutions and tools available, sales managers were able to address this challenge.
Internal broadcast is engaging and communicating with teams internally. The sales team interacts with the support team, customer success team, product team, marketing team, and more daily. In 2020, internal communication also became a challenge. Even if one team delayed the response due to some reason, the entire process would slow down. To address this challenge, remote workforce management solutions like LeadSquared has helped businesses:
- Track the productivity levels of the team.
- Track all the activities of the field force like calls, emails, tasks completed, etc.
- Get automated reports on every remote employee and ensure they are on the top of their game.
- Identify the bottlenecks, and help employees overcome any challenges that might have slowed/delayed the delivery.
Data security was a crucial challenge in early 2020. Businesses had just started to move their data to the cloud. They had to ramp up their efforts at safeguarding the data. SaaS remote workforce management tools ensured data security in the following ways:
- Two-factor authentications to add security layer.
- Restricted access to data to hide sensitive data from unauthorized users.
Enabling business continuity despite poor network:
The LeadSquared mobile app allows teams to work well despite the challenges of poor network connectivity. With this app, salespeople were able to:
- Access the LeadSquared web app from any network.
- Use an inbuilt microphone for calling a customer (as the app/CRM portal allows integration with cloud telephony)
- Use LeadSquared call and SMS tracker. Even if the reps use their phone network for calling, the system can capture their activities and dispositions.
- Reach out to customers via email and WhatsApp directly from the LeadSquared app.
The switch to the cloud.
Initially, there were some concerns regarding using cloud-based solutions. But when the pandemic struck, and people had to resume work from home, on-premise solutions just couldn’t cut it. Cloud became a way to transition into the new normal. The following solutions helped organizations resume operations remotely.
All these cloud-based tools made sales processes faster and more efficient. Whether or not the remote work culture remains in 2021-22, people have realized that these tools can make their sales process more efficient. Thus, adoption of productivity tools have become integral to formulating the winning sales strategy.
Ideas for your 2022 winning sales strategy
We have learned a lot from the sudden disruptions of the pandemic. Months were spent navigating the uncertain times and streamlining operations with remote workforce solutions. We have now put together these learnings to help you formulate a winning sales strategy for 2022.
- Consult and advise: The usual hard-core selling approach did not fare well for most of the segments. Winning their trust became crucial to win a deal. We had to become trusted advisors, instead of just typical salespeople. We took up a more consultative approach, mapped the KRAs and KPIs of their business model, and earned their trust.
- Having multiple POCs (operations head, marketing heads, sales heads, etc.) opens many other gates to tap into their business requirements. While interacting with several POCs might be needed, it is important to have a cumulative view of all the conversations. Account management helps in such instances.
- Vet requirements to identify functional and non-functional requirements of the prospect from the first level of interaction. As you must know, functional requirements specify the services that are expected from the product/software, whereas non-functional requirements represent the specific operation of a system. Understanding these requirements will help you prepare precise sales presentations.
- Prepare tailored solutions/customized demos: Anything customized is always better than something generic. It helps you bind the use case firmly and gives the client confidence to go ahead with the solution.
- Every industry has its unique processes, workflows, and use cases. For instance, the sales cycle and everything will be different in the EdTech and BFSI sectors. Therefore, to be relevant to their requirements, customized demos always help.
- Rethink your USP. This year, businesses will become more sensitive about their investments in products/solutions. Therefore, sales reps must ensure that their USP addresses the most important pain points of the clients.
Also, the buying pattern has changed drastically since the onset of the pandemic. Earlier, people would come with a requirement to which you would give a solution. Today, you must understand their business, identify their needs, map your product use cases with their business, and propose an appropriate solution.
We asked sales professionals that how has the buying pattern changed since the onset of the pandemic?
51.72% of respondents (from the education, energy, and research sectors) believe that the sales cycle has increased and 48.28% of respondents (from healthcare, marketplaces/aggregators, IT, consulting, lending, and hospitality sectors) believe that the sales cycle has reduced.
“For us, the sales cycle has reduced,” says Arbaz Jawed, Manager – Inside Sales, LeadSquared. “Also, we have been able to reach out to more customers in a short span. Businesses have realized that digital tools and technology are the way through in a post-pandemic world. That is why many corporates are making quick decisions to invest in technology.”
Further, he adds, “when you can picture what customer needs before they pay for your service, that is the point where you gain the confidence of the customer. And that is when you win a deal. You must put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand their requirements. After all, we want to sell them something that stays with them for a long time and benefits them.”
Winning sales strategy 2022: why existing customers are essential to growth?
- Client retention: case studies and referrals from existing customers are the keys to bring in new customers in 2022. Reps can achieve 15% of the overall target by retaining a client.
- Upsell/cross-sell: selling to existing customers is an efficient way of increasing revenues, building rapport, and improving brand advocacy. Salespeople can achieve 30-40% of their sales quota via upselling and cross-selling.
To build a winning sales strategy for 2022, you will also need to optimize your internal sales process. Try to shorten your sales cycle. Identify what is taking up a lot of bandwidth and try to optimize that process. It will help you achieve a quick ROI.
Sales managers must also perform microanalysis on the deals they have won and lost. There is always a reason behind winning or losing a deal. Identify those reasons and implement the results in your sales strategy for 2022.
Align your sales and marketing teams:
In terms of bringing in qualified leads, the following marketing strategies have worked for us.
- Repurpose content: If new content creation is still a challenge, try repurposing your old content. For instance, you can create eBooks from old articles that are still relevant, transcribe webinars and other online events from the past and share them with your leads.
- Organize virtual events: 2020 was all about virtual events. Webinars, podcasts, and virtual roundtables were among the leading lead generation sources. Also, there was an 80% increase in webinar attendance in the early part of 2020.
- Email marketing still tops the game. Emails worked particularly well in 2020-21. The email was, in fact, the main promotional channel for our (LeadSquared) virtual events.
Social media marketing:
- Leverage LinkedIn. LinkedIn was the clear winner in 2020 with its innovative engagement features and content sharing capabilities. It also became a way for salespersons to build rapport/relationships with gatekeepers and decision-makers.
Winning Sales in 2022: Quick Tips
- Reset the sales approach: Focus on selling to the highest probability opportunities. Your best rep should work on the best lead.
- Re-enable your sales team: Give your sales team a 360-degree view of the customer. Notify them about an update in lead activities. Use real-time analytics for faster decision making.
When we asked sales professionals, what can help them be more productive in remote work culture, 40.74% of the respondents said Mobile apps for CRM and other software they use, 37.04% said better team collaboration and 22% of the respondents said better communication tools.
“LeadSquared is used by our retail sales managers and third-party agents who are on the field selling our products. We needed an easy way to create and track leads on-the-go, and various roles/access levels as we work with different third-party agencies, and LeadSquared does that perfectly,” says Hena Mehta, Product Manager, Ezetap Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
LeadSquared Mobile CRM is helping businesses track and manage their field sales efficiently.
The road ahead is still uncertain, but there are positive signals with the opening of the economy. Some businesses plan to increase their marketing budget by over 40%. Plus, nearly 20% of organizations plan on increasing their workforce.
Amidst this, sales productivity tools can always help your team work more efficiently and close more deals. Check out LeadSquared remote sales solution.