16th Apr, 2020
, , Designation
Outbound sales accounts for 55% of generated leads.
41% marketers feel that phone is the most effective sales tool.
The two stats bring home the truth behind lead generation tactics that revers outbound sales. Outbound sales are the proactive way to connect with leads either via email, social media, cold-calling etc to deliver quick response and targeted lead generation
This brings us to the question that how businesses in the times of corona outbreak should continue to bet on outbound sales strategy. Well, the answer is simple – you may stop selling but do not stop supporting customers. While the core of seller-buyer relationship remains unaltered, their interaction has taken up a contextual variation which should continue to be the sales parameters if businesses are gunning to maintain the sales continuity.
Here are some of the ways around corona:
Focus on existing accounts
While pursuit of new logos is an important factor in hiking up to that business growth the current lockdown and business environment isn’t apt for it. Businesses are bound by trust backed by targeted actions and at the time of lockdown it is difficult to establish this trust with a stranger. Hence, directing efforts to fortify high-trust relationships is the key.
A key to prioritize customer from the pool of existing customers is to evaluate the ratio of your resource in strengthening relationships with customers vis-à-vis shortage of offerings to renegotiate customer relationship. The disruption can be looked at positively as it gives the chance to businesses to evaluate long term gains with profitable customers and reverse it with profit draining ones.
Communication for engagement
Following from the above, the outreach efforts should no longer be selling or generating pipeline. All communications irrespective of the channels, should be oriented towards the current context. And this holds true for all the times that you are going to sell, irrespective of the crisis or not. This is not to say that customer should be bombarded by problems, but the best way is compassionate outreach. ‘Where exactly you need help with’ or ‘How can we help’ goes a long way in building trust. Inviting your customers to brainstorm together for innovative ways to strategise for risk-mitigation also helps in cementing the bond between seller-buyer. Reassurances, regular communication in terms of ongoing sales efforts only help validate the reliability factor of your business. The sales team should orient their efforts in ensuring customer focus even amidst uncertainty.
Catering to referral ready pipeline
Corona has brought about softness in pipeline, no denying that, but it has also made time for consideration and evaluation for high bracket products/services. A time-consuming task that was often relegated to back-burner can now be taken up easily. Even for customers, this is the opportune time to try and test, go over minute details to their satisfaction and channelise their budget efficiently – a much desired requirement when cash flows have been hit.
It is also pertinent to use the time to gain deep understanding of concerns of every stakeholder at the client side to tailor your pitches when the new normal sets in. Remember, the concerns of CEO are different from that of a CMO or sales head.
Investment in technology
Digital tools for outreach, qualification and interactions have gained ground in the wake of crisis. For outbound sales, given the lockdown, the infrastructure support has shifted to homes. VoIP tunneling at calling team’s end to ensure continuity in customer’s experience can be an important consideration in this aspect. It greatly avoids usage of personal numbers by the calling agents thereby protecting their personal identity. It also help in the compliance of ‘Do not call’ protocols for better.
Solutions to target coronavirus concerns
Every obstruction gives rise to innovation and this has never been truer. We see the marketing landscape shift to digital world in a big way with virtual meetings gaining ground. Businesses are also customising their offerings like Microsoft offering Office 365 version platform and their virtual meeting ground ‘Teams’ free for six-month while Tata telecommunications is offering variety of remote working solutions. All these offerings are targeted to meet the new requirement of ‘work-from-home’ seamlessly.
Optimizing digital channels
With travel and in-person meetings completely cut-back, there has been never seen shift for virtual platforms. Pitching over web, using collaborative technologies for virtual product tour or an all-round demo of the product involving technology team – all can help make connect in the absence of real-life presence.
Your digital channel strategy must also be aligned with customer’s channel priorities to ensure an omnichannel sync so as not to hamper strategic marketing plans. An important consideration that fits the bill for all the times to ensure your viability to the customer in the long-run.
Slipping deals, cancelled meetings, eliminated physical demos are all the collateral damage of today’s crisis. However, looking at the brighter side – it is an opportunity for revitalising the sales effort with innovative ways. Corona disruption may have impacted pipelines and rendered existing pipelines soft but keying in messaging with focus on state of market from the lens of business’s standpoint still continues to be an important factor. Lead conversions may face a roadblock, but relationships can continue to be kept warm as it is these relationships that help rebound the business when it is time to rebuild.
Can also read – How technology is reshaping Indian retail