After the arrival of COVID-19, companies will have to reset their sales network to change and adapt to the new paradigm of purchase and consumption. Using multichannel, understanding the consumer experience, finding purchase motivations or following sales protocols will no longer be a nice to have, it will be a must.
The period of confinement that we have experienced in recent months, the de-escalation presented by the government and the next few years have turned -and will- consumption and purchase and in consequence, to the commercial organizational model of organizations: face-to-face will be less frequent, digital relationships will intensify, processes will be streamlined, etc.
Likewise, our sales network will act and will be very different from the old normality. A priori, it might seem that saving time on trips and saving costs would multiply the efficiency of the commercial network and, therefore, the business result; however, this is not going to be the case. And it will not be like that because the human being, in himself, is mostly resistant to change.
What can we do as managers to transform our sales network?
The reality is that there will be different scenarios where organizations can intervene and help the commercial force to change course, so that professionals from sales networks do not tend to return to "normal", but to "new normal". The normality that we used to know will no longer exist; the paradigm has changed. For this reason, if we do not quickly orient the commercial forces towards the new context, they will seek to sow in a desert field, where there used to be life, but no longer. Where before with little effort something flourished, but no longer.
Where we come from and where are we going
The starting situation is different in each organization and, therefore, each company must contemplate deep reflection and a different plan of action. Some starting points that we can clearly identify can be:
- We sell a worthy product: "I have an infallible hair growth". A sales network based on the product transaction. In that case, our teams were used to differentiating the product face-to-face by counting the benevolences and advantages. This is the clear pattern of all life.
- We sell recurring services: "Virgencita, Virgencita, let me stay as I am". Right now there are services that we continue to bill as if there were no tomorrow - house alarms, telephone service packages, electricity, insurance ... - and few dare to be consistent and anticipate. Few offer reduction of fees, adjustment of services to current consumption, price reductions due to no accident rate ... Either because of the fear terrible fear of lowering -even more- the billing or due to other organizational issues, what we are achieving is making it very difficult the recuperation. And this the client does not pass or ignore.
- We sell without excess differentiation: "Where do I come from? Where do I go?" There are many companies that have been born with a wonderful purpose, however, some organizations have forgotten why and what they were born for. It is time to go back to our roots, to make our purpose known to clients and employees, to make known why we are different. We will all remember Inditex, Mercadona and Healthcare as a whole because their purpose - whether or not their doors are closed - has been more alive than ever.
- We sell with little margin: "good pretty and cheap". When the production chain depends on economies of scale, imports from China and consumption for consumption, and now we will find a selective consumption.
Actions to adapt to the new normal
Wherever we start from, we must run to transform sales networks, business visits, processes, brand promise, products and services and our business relationship model towards that new paradigm, towards the “new reality”. And, for this, we propose 7 basic recommendations:
- Notify A bombo and a platillo your purpose. But act from solidarity and generosity because on this journey we are all having a hard time, but we will all always remember the journey and, therefore, who were true heroes, friends and companions.
- Evaluate the reliability and real link of your sales network with the market. Stay with those who will sell more thanks to the constancy, resilience and bond with their customers, and not with those who used the discount, the picaresque or opportunism.
- Ask your client how is their experience with you and change the processes based on the experience desired by your clients, instead of acting based on your internal processes or your intuitions.
- Make a diagnosis of your digital situation to find out how leads enter, how your marketing department is positioned, what your customer really likes, what content they read and what they want from you. Listen to the networks and act accordingly.
- Act humanely if you have to restructure the company. Do it from responsibility, helping those who leave and motivating those who stay. People understand the situation and the environment, but it must be done by creating a future for everyone.
- Shape to transform. The commercial network will tend to act as it knows, but we must teach it to use digital channels well, to understand its buyer, to manage time in a different way, to diversify its modus operandi.
- Define your future business strategy very well -linked to a relationship model and a unique and coherent brand promise - and acts accordingly to go "on the block" with consistency and rigor.
Solo if we do different things we will reach the new reality. Let's risk and innovate, let's ask the client, the team and the suppliers. Without fear we will advance faster. Let's transform the future now. Let's start today.