It’s now been a little over a year since the authorities designated COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and even a year on, we are all still feeling shock waves. Whether your company is large or small, whether you have experienced serious disruptions in your business or managed to avoid those disruptions, if you are a company leader, it is likely that the last year has taken a lot out of you.
It’s okay to acknowledge that. It’s also okay to congratulate your team (and yourself) for still being in the game. Once you’ve acknowledged reality and issued those congratulations, though, we’d like to suggest that you take the time to address three powerful questions that are inspiring, motivating, and transforming the teams we work with around the world. The answers you give to these questions can help you ensure that you maintain momentum as you emerge from these challenging times.
Question 1: How healthy are your pipelines, and what can you do to make them healthier?
In a recent Sandler Research Center survey, only 6.8% of business leaders reported that their pipelines were “very healthy.” This is in line with other data we are seeing suggesting that marketing teams are under increasing pressure to create bigger streams of sales-ready leads. Many organizations are discovering that, with online lead-generation campaigns more erratic, they now need to develop a much stronger prospecting muscle and execute dramatically more relationship-creation behaviors within their sales teams. This performance gap may have emerged after a long period of time when prospecting processes were minimal or dormant, and may have gone unnoticed while viable online leads were still plentiful. The longer the problem remains unaddressed, the more serious the consequences for the organization.
Question 2: Has your organization turned the corner on remote selling?
Virtual and digital selling are here to stay. However, many salespeople are not equipped to succeed in this new environment. Without the right training, reinforcement, and tools, they are finding that access and engagement with buyers is more challenging. If there are skill gaps in this area – or if the resources you are sharing with your sales team are basically identical with the ones you shared in Q2 of 2019 – you are officially at a competitive disadvantage.
Question 3: What are you, personally, doing to help protect key customer relationships?
Make no mistake: Your key customers are seeing more of your competitors these days…and your competitors, in the present environment, are willing to give up some margin to secure their business. Key contact relationships need to be nurtured and secured, and C-level to C-level contact is one of the best ways to secure them. You personally need to be close to your most precious accounts. It should be a top priority to work with your sales team schedule and take part in regular business-review meetings with the most important contacts.