In April, “The Great Quarantine” threw sales organizations out of their bull pins and into the home office. This forced sales managers everywhere to accept working from home in a major way.
The sudden shift of workforces to the home was unimaginable at the beginning of this year and now sales people were sequestered in their spare bedroom turned office space. Days have turned to weeks and weeks into months with seemingly no definite end in sight. Understandably, most managers and leaders expected their teams to to perform worse during the pandemic, however, something else has proved to be the case.
The concept of working from home never truly gained momentum before 2020. In fact, managers everywhere saw it as more of a joke and an excuse to take the day off. A rather interesting TEDx Talk highlights people’s attitude towards working from home with the clever quip, “Shirking from home.” The idea was never widely accepted.
But, since April, many organizations haven’t set foot in the office. Now leaders are beginning to see working from home as a viable option. Anecdotally, several major corporations report some of their best recorded months of sales. And this is all while their salespeople were sequestered in their home offices.
There has been a major shift in the way people view the at home office. It seems that more work can be done in less time, simply due to fewer distractions. No more chatty co-workers or strolls to the break room to stretch the legs. So, has working from home really been effective or have people been shirking in their PJs?
Blending Virtual and In-Person Selling Strategies
Recently ringDNA surveyed over 1000 sales leaders to find some very interesting and necessary data which reveals the efficacy of working from home. The survey finds that 84% of the respondents felt their sales teams were either more productive or as productive selling from home as they were at the office.
Strikingly only 15% thought that their teams were more productive when exclusively working from the office. About 20% of the respondents felt that their teams would not be back in the office fully until 2021. 20% felt that they would be back by the end of the year. While another 20% felt that they would never truly be back in the office as they normally were before the pandemic.
These results reflect what many economists had predicted in the past. The working from home model actually makes people more productive on the whole. Many salespeople even report creating more opportunities simply because they can conduct several more meetings a day virtually compared to the in-person meetings they had before the pandemic.
Companies will more than likely move towards a blend of in-office and at home work schedules even when the world eventually returns to “normal”. They will rely heavily on salespeople’s ability to sell virtually and maximize their sales process efficiency by blending virtual and in-person tools.
While many companies have been able to flatten the decline of profit, or even do just as well as before the pandemic, there are also more than enough examples of businesses and industries that have struggled in the past few months.
So what is the difference?
The primary differentiator between companies that have benefited from the pandemic, compared to ones that have been hurt by it, is an investment in their salespeople.
Organizations that thrived during the pandemic invested heavily in sales training that focused on developing a few key skill sets.
First, firms that used fundamentals-focused training were able to soften the blow. The fundamentals included prospecting, discovery, and negotiation. The pandemic drastically affected every major industry and sector. As a result, many salespeople who had full pipelines ended up with very little at the end of April.
Second, these organizations focused on virtual training. They honed in on sales rep’s ability to conduct virtual meetings, proposals, presentations, and negotiations. This skill set included engagement and presence techniques when they were on camera.
The same organizations didn’t just ask their sales professionals to be great on camera. They also required their teams to have great camera, audio, and staging equipment in their home offices.
The most successful salespeople and sales teams understand that, “to succeed virtually you do not have to stand on your head. You just have to be good.”
Sales forces have been launched by a terrible virus into the most efficient selling environment that the world has ever seen. What are you doing to take advantage of it?
Now more than ever, salespeople must leverage technology to engage prospects, advance pipeline opportunities, and seal the deal. Learn how you can capitalize on virtual communication channels in Jeb Blount’s Virtual Selling, available now on Amazon.
About the author
Jeb Blount, Jr.
Jeb Blount, Jr. is a graduate of Berry College with a degree in Political…