The world has changed in just the last couple of months as COVID-19 closed business, trashed plans, and forced nearly everyone to become a remote worker. One thing is for sure, the way we do sales has probably changed and it will likely be a long time before we can get back to normal, hop on a plane and go visit customers on the other side of the globe.
History has shown that companies that take advantage of major disruptions become the leaders in the new economy. It seems like a time to panic but I would suggest it is a time to make changes that will get you set up for the future and take advantage of the slowdown to get it done and get ready.
There are a lot of organizational issues that you could and maybe should evaluate but since we focus on the sales process let’s start there to see what could be done to change your stars for the future.
Based on our discussions with leaders in the industry here are a few of the things you could be taking care of now while there is a break in the normal hectic pace of business.
Create full transparency in the new business development process
A comprehensive opportunity tracking system covering all the major new business opportunities being worked on by the sales and management team is a very powerful tool to find out where your growth will come from next quarter and next year. When you can see all the key new business opportunities, track what has happened (or what has not happened) recently, and using analytic tools focus efforts and resources to close the best, highest potential deals faster. Transparency provides insight to make wise judgments and priorities that you just cannot do by listening to the salesperson who makes the most noise. Sometimes the best deal is not the loudest deal but if you can’t make reasoned comparisons and judgments you will miss out when you should win.
Solve the forecasting accuracy problem that has plagued the industry forever
Forecasting is hard but is a critical part of business management. The hardest part is getting it as accurate as possible without making it too optimistic or too conservative. It also takes a lot of time from the management team to negotiate a forecast that operations, management, and salespeople will accept and own. Forecasting in the NEHANET system has been shown to improve accuracy and reduce the amount of time it takes to agree on a forecast you can depend on to drive manufacturing and reduce cost.
Integrate Sales – Marketing – and Operations to make everyone focus on the issues and opportunities that drive the best bottom-line results
If your team is typical, they try to work from sales presentations and business reviews, build marketing plans, plan manufacturing in another system, and keep it all coordinated and try to do the right thing. Now is the time to merge all these separate systems into one integrated solution so marketing can help to win with everyone – marketing, sales, management, and operations are driven by customers and sales plans without any of the time-consuming meetings and discussions in between. Imagine having a market plan that identifies key customers, customer development plans tied to opportunities and forecasts, and annual plans. With an integrated system, this all can drive manufacturing actions and priorities that are consistently image drive the best bottom-line performance.
Build a toolset to enable remote selling that makes sales effective, provides customer support that makes a difference, keeps the organization focused on growth, and the bottom line.
With an online, cloud-based end to end business solution, remote workers all work from the same real-time information, up to date, and integrated with actions to drive to win the best new business opportunities. When everyone starts with the same information, working remotely becomes simple and can improve overall results-driving efficiency that you just cannot get by holding meetings and discussing what to do. Becoming a data-driven organization can profoundly change the future and help you take advantage of this market-changing event.
Communicate-Communicate- Communicate —get things done by basing needs on results
Communicating with everyone from a consistent up to date set of data lets you drive activities without endless discussions and meetings. Meetings have become the communication/decision default activity in most organizations. Communicating priorities and plans through a customer-driven opportunity database make the decisions you make and the priorities you set to be driven by the business it will bring in. The data can become the basis of all the business reviews, planning discussions, and investment decisions you need to make to reach your goals for the coming years.
Align team members driven by an integrated database from end to end
With an integrated database of customer-based business opportunities, you can set individual goals and objectives that will drive customer success faster than you have ever seen in the past.
The chance to make changes so you are ready when business restarts is here now.
If you would like to discuss the areas, you could attack that will have the most impact please give us a call for a free consultation and demonstration of what we can do to help.