How to adapt the sales process to the Coronavirus crisis

Updated: May 20, 2022
How to adapt the sales process to the Coronavirus crisis

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The world is going through a forced digital transformation. Companies have to adapt their sales process in record time to stay alive. 

That has impacted Rock Content and, especially, our customer base. After all, most of them don’t have a customer acquisition model based on Inbound Marketing to generate leads in volume or a well-trained Inside Sales team that can prospect, negotiate, and close deals online.

Now imagine: if Rock Content has that model and is suffering an impact on sales, what about the customers?

Thinking about this, I dedicated some time to structure training that contains the same content I passed on to my sales team during this Covivd-19 crisis

These are points that I think every sales organization should know to leave this moment as a winner.

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The problem

The pandemic caused by the new Coronavirus has impacted the business world mainly by forcing people to do social isolation, which prevents several organizations from selling their products.

To make matters worse, this crisis in the sales world came in a delicate moment. 

The buying process has been going through a major transformation, and the sales teams were unable to keep up with the changes and provide buyers an adequate experience.

See what a recent survey shows about the sales processes:

  • only 31% of sales teams say they’re effective in identifying and having access to the Decision Makers;
  • only 39% can provide customers new insights and perspectives during the commercial process;
  • only 40% say they have success when using diagnostic skills for understanding customer’s needs and pains;
  • 51% can connect their solution to consumer’s real needs.

Proving what this research pointed out when talking to customers, I often hear:

  • “My market is different, they will never buy that product through a videoconference”;
  • “People would never buy online a product that cost as much as a car”;
  • “To sell online, I must set up e-commerce, and I don’t sell products but services”.

It turns out that things have changed, and these excuses are not going to save anyone from the crisis caused by social distancing. Therefore, the first thing I want to tell you is: now is not the moment to get desperate!

The emotion we feel, of us getting frightened, is important to alert us. 

However, now is not the time to feed fear, as this would make us stop acting, executing, working, living — and this is the biggest trap of our emotions.

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5 fundamental tips for you to face this crisis as a successful salesperson

1. Remember that everything starts with you, individually

Whether you are a salesperson, a leader of a sales team, or a business owner, do not wait for the other to react, especially the buyer.

If you are a salesperson, keep the discipline, call more than ever, improve your proposals, and do not wait for your leader to ask you to do better.

If you are a sales team leader, do not wait for a salesperson to sell and then realize that it is possible to keep selling in this moment of crisis. Be the example for your team.

If you are a business owner, do not wait for your sales leader to tell you things are difficult to go into action. 

Search now for tools that will help your team to get over this crisis. Be an example of what you expect from others!

2. Look for opportunities that arise in chaos

Think about how many of your competitors may be completely paralyzed amid this crisis, waiting for it to go away and everything to go back to “normal”.

Well, I must say the old “normal” will not be coming back. Therefore, say welcome to the new “normal”, in which you can be in 2 groups:

  1. those who gained months ahead of competitors, and can stand out through the digital transformation of the business;
  2. those who stayed behind, shocked, while the competitors bought time.

In which group do you want to be? I hope you wish and act to be in the first one. 

There is always something to be done.

3. Do not ignore the problem; be empathetic

Yes, some companies will be dramatically impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. We shouldn’t ignore this and try to sell to such companies.

Therefore, to deal with this, whenever a customer mentions the pandemic and says they don’t want to or can’t buy due to it, don’t deny what the world is going through.

Provide the necessary support and dig in to understand how specifically the situation is impacting that company.

Why is this deepening important? 

Do you remember I mentioned at the beginning of the article that we should not get desperate but make rational decisions?

It turns out that several buyers can act under strong emotions and are afraid to take initiatives that are more important than ever.

4. Awaken your customer’s sense of ownership

In times like this, despite external events, successful people and organizations take responsibility for failure or success during a crisis.

So, as salespeople seeking to move buyers from the status quo and help them with our solutions, we must help them wake up! 

Check out some questions to awaken a sense of ownership on people:

  • Will the company’s management stop demanding results after the pandemic is over?
  • How will you get results if everything you are doing gets canceled?
  • You told me that your company is cutting spending on marketing. It looks like they don’t see the value in what you are building. Do you believe you’re not delivering any value, or do you trust you are on the right path to generating demand on the digital scenario?
  • Are you looking at this crisis like everyone else, or do you see an opportunity to stand out and be more valued within the company?

At last, all of this will only make sense if you are setting your own example as someone who feels owning their future rather than a victim of the crisis.

5. Avoid negative messages and reinforce the positive ones

If anyone wants to see scary or negative messages, they will just turn on the TV. 

When your prospects are talking to you, they need to be impacted by messages of disciplined people who are prepared and getting stronger.

Therefore, avoid saying things such as:

  • “Wow, you are the third customer to cancel because of the pandemic. Everyone is being affected”;
  • “How is Coronavirus affecting things there in your company? Are things bad there too? Wow…”;
  • “This Coronavirus is affecting everybody around the world. I got it. No problem, it is better to wait”;

Practices for managing the sales force in times of social distancing

If your staff is working from home, as Rock Content is, and you need to manage your sales force without physical and daily contact, look at some practices that we are applying, that have real effects on the team’s productivity.

Daily goals

Why should salespeople have daily goals at this moment? And which goal specifically?

Some of the real dangers for salespeople at this moment are distraction and the lack of discipline. 

To prevent your sales force from falling into this trap, create daily objectives that make it tangible whether the salesperson’s day was a success or a failure.

That’s is even more important when it comes to sales that happen in a much smaller volume or salespeople that make few sales per month to reach their goal — as the case of realtors and sellers of services and products that have a higher value-added.

See some examples of daily goals:

  • make 40 calls to prospects;
  • book 4 meetings;
  • present 2 proposals.

Tip: let salespeople set individual goals for themselves instead of doing this for them. 

As a benefit, this becomes a commitment made by themselves and not a number that you, as their leader, have imposed. 

Only intervene if the goals don’t make sense.

Daily reports

There is no point in setting goals for salespeople if nobody is going to check if they are doing it or not. 

Therefore, send a report of the daily progress presenting the seller’s performance compared to the proposed goal.

Check out some examples of reports that make a comparison between the goal and what was accomplished:

  • make 40 calls to prospects x 50 calls made to prospects (125%);
  • book 4 meetings x 6 booked meetings (150%);
  • present 2 proposals x 1 presented proposal (50%).

If a person consistently has days with good productivity, they certainly will have a positive result at the end of the month.

Tip: send the public report to the whole team. In sales management, transparency is a key factor. 

People who are producing well will realize they are ahead, and those who are having less productive days will realize they need to catch up.

Daily meetings

Not being together at the office should not be a barrier for you to keep close to your sales team. 

After all, right now, they need a strong and present leader.

So have daily meetings, preferably in the morning. Understand how the progress of the day before was, and what are the plans for the current day.

Tip: always have the daily report in hand to see which salesperson had productive days and which didn’t. 

That way, you can understand what happened and proactively offer help.

Finally, I would like to leave a message to salespeople that are also reading this content. 

This crisis, like the thousands of others that have happened in the world, will be over.

Indeed, this doesn’t make things better or worse right now. But it reminds us this is the environment in which we live, and we have to live glory days preparing ourselves for crisis days. 

And we need to live crisis days in a disciplined, resilient way to live the glory days.

Each crisis requires transforming or creating processes and skills. But trust me, this is not the hardest side of facing a crisis.

With a quick search, you can discover, for example, all the necessary tools to make video calls, as well as their prices, advantages, and disadvantages. 

The biggest danger, as I said in the beginning, is panic and lack of reaction.

So, remember: do not wait to see signs of improvement to react. Be an example of what you expect from others and help your clients to go through this moment!

Want to know how the content experience will evolve after Coronavirus? Check out our content about it!


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