Leading Your Sales Organization through COVID-19

March 30, 2020

SalesGlobe recently published a white paper entitled Leading Through COVID-19: Addressing Your Real Sales Challenge. This white paper is a direct reaction to the current COVID-19 crisis that is disrupting every aspect of life, including the selling environment that threatened revenue and sales rep earnings. Using Sales Design Thinking™, authors Mark Donnolo and Michelle Seger address how to provide leadership to meet sales teams and customers in their situations, rather than applying quick fixes to retain sales team members through this time. Key areas of focus include:

  • Addressing sales organization fears – this includes fear of results and implications to compensation during the pullback of the economy. Possibilities for addressing these fears include:
    • Helping the sales organization focus on the longer-term of building the pipeline, not the immediate sale
    • Booking deals further out
    • Working on strategic account planning
    • Understanding what your sales team needs for help
    • Communicating with the sales team on a regular basis
  • Helping customers through this crisis – this includes having a more compassionate view of the customer and addressing them in a genuine way. Possibilities for helping customers include:
    • Focusing on helping rather than selling
    • Recrafting value propositions about how your company can support your customer during this crisis
    • Implementing special pricing, offers, and policies
    • Communicating with customers on a regular basis
  • Finding real growth opportunities – this includes putting efforts into unexplored areas that may not have been the central focus during peak selling times. Possibilities for finding growth opportunities include:
    • Optimizing territories
    • Selling virtually
    • Changing your offers or partnering with other organizations
    • Forming a customer ideation team
  • Assisting the sales team financially – this includes sales compensation relief that invests in the sales team for the long haul, rather than making quotas in the short term. Possibilities for assisting the sales team financially include:
    • Creating short-term bonuses for attaining key milestones
    • Adjusting sales quotas and sales quota timing
    • Lowering performance thresholds
    • Testing your options
    • Creating financial models for potential compensation solutions

In considering each of these areas, establish the long-term perspective, rather than making adjustments that will only help in the short term. Ultimately, your investment in the sales team and in your customers will pay off after the crisis, so put your efforts there rather than burning bridges by trying to squeeze out deals and money when there is little to go around right now. Holding a compassionate view of sales teams and customers will fundamentally change your approach during the COVID-19 problem and lead to a better outcome for all.

To learn more, download the Leading Through COVID-19 White Paper. The main points in the white paper are also available in the Leading Through COVID-19 Infographic.

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