The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for society and the economy. All over the world, the lockdowns have led to a considerable slowdown and even the closure of public and economic life.
As can be seen in the surveys of the Bundesverband für Vertriebsmanager (German association of sales managers) as well as in the current “COVID-19 Pulse Check” study produced by CAMELOT Management Consultants, sales and marketing departments in almost all industries are facing extreme challenges.
With our customers, we can see strong movements in different directions:
- On the one hand, there are customer groups that have had to significantly change or increase production due to the services and products they provide. In some cases, employees from marketing, sales and IT need to help out in production, for example, to assemble ventilators.
- On the other hand, we have customers who are struggling with a major slump in sales.
The management of both groups faces the following challenge:
They have to re-evaluate their current business situation due to the market conditions, which are changing every day.
A meaningful sales pipeline as the basis for making management decisions is usually not available
In order to be able to make fact-based, well-founded and forward-looking business decisions, you need a reporting system which, among other things, displays ad-hoc information for your future incoming order situation. This must, above all, also take the current situation of your potential customers into account. This represents a challenge for sales departments, which must use all sources of information in order to consider and evaluate customer perspectives. But how should these perspectives be obtained with the current contact ban?
Sales employees feel overwhelmed
Management expects immediate ad hoc reporting and a continued high closing rate, to ensure liquidity in this critical phase. But have the necessary processes and tools in the company been fully integrated and coordinated, especially in the age of the home office? Were the required digitisation of marketing and sales processes (Sales 4.0) already successfully tested and integrated into everyday business life prior to COVID-19?
View of the sales employees:
Sales employees still have limited opportunities to generate new leads, because trade fairs and events have been cancelled. Known contacts are still in a “state of shock” and have no idea themselves how to deal with the current situation. Telephone acquisition, which had generally been viewed as a thing of the past, has suddenly become one of the most important instruments again, both for cross- & upselling with existing customers and for the acquisition of new customers. But who should I call first? How can a modern CRM system help me here – possibly with artificial intelligence? Most of the time we see various social media channels being used to conduct extensive manual research, but often there is no integration into a primary CRM system, nor does the procedure follow a defined process. Employees were generally not empowered to use the tools in a targeted manner, nor are there any defined KPIs for social selling. Management often believe it has met Sales 4.0 requirements with the provision of a system. However, the lack of integration into the overall sales process becomes particularly transparent, especially in such times as we are now experiencing.
Investment in a modern CRM system with holistic integration into the sales process is a MUST HAVE
Our survey, which we conducted at the beginning of this year before the corona crisis, confirmed the need for valid sales key figures for corporate management, even in normal times. In the current climate, however, this issue is more relevant than ever before.
The study also showed that a CRM system is an indispensable prerequisite for the generation of such key figures, which are relevant to the success of the company.
We at the CAMELOT Consulting Group dealt with this topic at an early stage, and last year we revised the sales and marketing process and implemented a new cloud-based CRM system from SAP. At the beginning of the crisis, this enabled us to see what the current sales pipeline looked like, including forecast and pipeline simulations. This allowed the sales department to quickly decide which prospects, customers and contact persons should be targeted with the highest priority via digital channels.
Our customers often experience a significantly different and sometimes even increased demand for parts of their product range. They also benefit from being able to draw appropriate conclusions from their sales pipeline, such as a necessary expansion of purchasing and production capacities due to increased demand for very specific product groups.
These are just a few examples that highlight the strategic importance of a state-of-the-art CRM system like the SAP Sales Cloud.
In times of crisis and beyond, investment in a modern CRM system is decisive in determining whether you can work more efficiently in sales in the short term, and whether you will be able to achieve rapid turnover. Smart instead of hard selling.
Analogue and digital selling – process, method and IT: they must be interconnected
The corona crisis clearly shows that telephone and communication skills were, and are once again, a “must have” in sales. Because an emotionally intelligent approach is usually more successful when spoken than it is when written down.
Social selling, digital selling, digital natives, hard selling, emotional selling? At the end of the day, isn’t it all about responding individually to your target group and, above all, to the people themselves? And social media and digitisation are simply further building blocks in the chain of contact with customers, which also need to be addressed.
Get in touch with us without any obligation, and we will be happy to show you how we can create sales potential for your company, even in times of crisis. In a free, virtual half-day workshop, we will determine the potential of a modern CRM system for your company.