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How COVID-19 Has Changed Sales Teams and What to Expect Next

Written by Etienne Turner on 16, June 2020
How COVID-19 Has Changed Sales Teams and What to Expect Next

“The new normal.”

You’ve heard that phrase over and over (and over) again since a global pandemic shattered everybody’s routines in the first quarter of 2020. At what point do you think the “new” will wear off and we’ll just be left with normal?

Sales teams that have made changes and adapted to their new normal are pondering that question right now. What exactly will an ordinary day look like on the other side of this crisis?

Chances are the effects of COVID-19 on sales teams (along with the rest of the world) are going to last much longer than anyone ever anticipated as we inch closer to a new business reality.

Here are three key ways sales teams have changed because of the pandemic that will also affect how they function in the future.

Does Remote Work Actually Work?

The coronavirus outbreak forced many businesses to have their employees do their jobs from home instead of coming into the office.

Now, after weeks of successful execution, management has realized that remote work not only works, but also abiding by a digital model is actually more profitable. This epiphany will prompt sales leaders to decide if reps really need to be in the office at all.

If it’s not necessary to gather salespeople in person, the need for a big office will diminish and companies may look to downsize from leasing expensive equipment and real estate. Though there will still be a need for a space big enough to accommodate a large group of people (for example, quarterly team meetings), it won’t require the year-round rental of office space.

The rise of remote work will also compel sales reps to separate office space from home space. They will need to sync with their partner’s schedule (if they are working from home as well) and figure out how to handle childcare. Something that may help is the growing trend of virtual babysitting, where you hire a professional to engage with your children digitally for a set amount of time.

How COVID-19 Has Changed Sales Teams and What to Expect Next


How Will Leaders Measure Sales Performance?

If sales reps do not have to go into the office and meet with a manager, they may need a little help in the self-discipline department.

Salespeople will have to work hard(er) to remain focused and continue to meet quotas and other expectations when they work from home. However, they’ll also need to refrain from leaning too much the other way—overdoing it and becoming a workaholic. This is where the designation between work time and home time is essential.

Without the ability to drop by someone’s desk and see how they’re doing, sales leaders will need to pay more attention to data to track performance. They’ll have to rely more on accurate reporting to see if reps are succeeding or falling behind. Management must stay on top of digital communication with sales reps and offer coaching and guidance when they need it.

Why Is Digital Communication Important?

Everyone in the sales department needs to be on their A-game when it comes to digital communication post-COVID-19. Leaders have to stay in touch with reps, reps must connect with each other, and, of course, reps must contact prospects and clients.

Sales reps must become more digitally savvy overall.

Closing deals in person probably won’t go away permanently, but there will be far fewer meetings of that sort. Sales teams must be able to make the sale through video conference calls and reach out to new clients through social media networking. Reps need to build their own following with a digital Rolodex they can take with them wherever they go.

It is possible to recreate in-person office interactions for salespeople in the digital world. With platforms like Slack and Zoom, management can foster camaraderie and connection through co-worker chats and video conferences.

From participating in virtual happy hours and coffee talks to taking a break and sharing funny GIFs back and forth, relationships can be built and sustained through digital communication.

How COVID-19 Has Changed Sales Teams and What to Expect Next

What Is the Future of Sales?

Now you know how life will look for sales teams post-COVID-19. The digital pipeline that’s been opened is not going to close again; businesses moving forward with that mindset will have the best chance for survival and success.

Seizing the advantages of remote work, staying on top of performance evaluations, and depending on digital communication are all consequences of the outbreak.

There’s no turning back now.

Living and thriving in a digital environment are attributes that should not only be mandatory for current employees, but also new hires down the road.

Embracing these transformations will improve your sales teams, reduce risk during the next impending crisis, and help workers maintain a happy work-life balance.

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