Sales in the Time of Covid

How can sales teams traverse the bumpy road ahead?

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"How can I get through to my customers right now... and what's the biggest blocker I should pre-empt?"

Of all the curious questions that I get from time to time, this one is the most repeated in recent times. And it's an entirely valid question, right?

After all, we spent most of the year saying:

WAIT, WHAT? NO. CRAP. FISH. I'M GOING TO BE SICK.

Most of us have been feeling like we've been hit by a colossal wave of business uncertainty and are now struggling to stand upright.

We're all looking for a way to understand the present and plan for the future. 🔮

And here's the thing: I truly believe that the answer lies in listening to our customers and reading the signs. After all, it's better to learn how to swim rather than wait for the waves to stop crashing down on us.

So, here's what I did. I called upon my fellow wingfolk and Wingman's powerful AI engine to crunch bucketloads of data from our calls, over January to July end, and distill it to the best, most helpful insights for you.

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The data our AI engine crunched for you

Here's a love letter straight from your customers to you.

Crafted and delivered with care. 💌

In a hurry? Here are 5 top takeaways for your sales team:

  1. Change is here to stay. Pull up a chair and get used to it.
  2. What comes before "discount" and starts with an R? ROI!
  3. Struggling to build rapport? Talk "kids" to me.
  4. Guess what comes up MORE than budget and layoffs? Hint: It's all in the timing.
  5. Poor follow up skills? You're out.


Click here to download
the full report as an infographic and share with your team. 💌

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Hello always-selling Sam,

I know you've been trying to reach me. You've been calling... and emailing... and texting. Even following me on LinkedIn and commenting politely on my posts. No, I'm not complaining. I'm flattered that you care.

I also know I've been giving you mixed signals. Somedays I blow hot, and somedays, ice cold.

Here's the thing. Like you too, I don't have all the answers. But, I do have some thoughts and feelings, which I'd like to share with you.

This way, you can quit guessing and I can quit dodging. So here goes. Here's what's on my mind:

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#1: I'm talking more about budgets, layoffs and CFOs

Here are some of my favorite ways to talk about the dollah 💰

  • "I need to check with my CFO."
  • "My budget has been frozen."
  • "There have been layoffs." 💔

But, the question is: how often am I saying these things?

The answer: 3 times more than before. And much more in recent times.

So, that means I'm price-conscious and budget-constrained, although maybe not as much as you thought.

Tip: You might need to make the deal easier for me by offering better payment options or discounts when I say the magic word "budget".

OR, just show me better ROI.

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#2: I'm still talking about discounts... but increasingly about budget

Here are some fun facts about you and me:

  • Before Covid began, we both talked 4 times more about discounts than about budgets.
  • But, from January until mid-July, this number became 2 times.
  • This means that for every call about budget, we do 2 calls about discounts right now (vs 4 earlier).

And here's the inside tip: I'll ALWAYS want a discount! It's sort of in my DNA as a customer. But, is it a carrot for me or an actual financial constraint - you'll need to get smarter at guessing. 😎

Tip: You may want to keep a script ready for when I talk about discounts, because I'll always want to swing a sweet deal for my company.

(Check out a killer Covid cold-calling script here.)

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#3: I need to see better ROI

Funny thing - even though you'd think that it's important to show ROI for a deal to close, turns out we haven't been talking about it that much in January.

  • But by July, we've talked about ROI at least 2 times more than previously.
  • And btw, reps are bringing up ROI more than I am, probably to help me make my mind. With the way things are economically, looks like ROI is here to stay. So, you better be able to show me the money. 💲

Tip: The sooner you talk about ROI, the fewer the chances of me talking about discounts later because I'll be clearer on the value.

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#4: I'm saying that the timing is not right

Between the both of us, we're talking MORE about timing than about budgets.

  • So, deals are going to get stretched EVEN if budgets are available. ⌛
  • You have to be prepared to follow up for longer periods of time. Don't give up on me or forget me too soon.

Tip: If follow-ups are not your forte, get on it. Fast. Take this time to build a rapport with me so that when I am ready to close, you're right there.

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#5: I'm actually not that bothered about my internet connection

Although, it's naturally taken me some time to set up my space to work from home, I'm okay now.

  • Interestingly, it looks like you're talking more about WFH and internet challenges than you were in the past, and saying things like "bad connection", "internet issues", and "can you hear me?".

Tip: Try and reduce distractions in your home environment, as maybe you're using these phrases as a filler to cover up a nervous tic as you adjust to working from home.

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#6: I'm talking more about my kids and parenting‍

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When the office comes home, the kids go to the office

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Turns out, I am bringing up my kids (literally), parenting and schools being shut, more often on calls than before. But, it looks like you're not too interested in talking about this. Hmmm.

Tip: Not surprisingly, I care more about my family while working from home than your pitch. So, guess what topic would be a good way to build a rapport with me?

Hint hint: It has everything to do with ME. Guess it's time to put that empathy training to good use! 🙂

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Pheww... that's all for now. If you need to ask me something, just call. Interestingly, I've been reaching out to sales folks over the weekend quite a bit - more insights in this Wingman ebook on buying and selling in 2020.

Or better yet, go back and listen to our conversations on Wingman. It's got everything you need and more.

Until the world turns right again,

Your crusty customer, XOXO 💌

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Shruti Kapoor

Co-Founder and CEO of Wingman