When the pandemic hit, in March 2020, companies had to move teams to work from home. In many cases, staff was also put on either mandatory holidays or government-supported schemes where they kept their jobs but were off work for weeks or months.
As the first phase of the pandemic settled — and business and the economy slowly got back to normal, in most sectors, but not all — sales teams worked from home for over a year. Spare rooms, kitchen tables, bedrooms, hallways, cupboards, and even bathrooms suddenly became semi-temporary workplaces.
Chatting with colleagues was suddenly happening through digital channels, such as Teams and Slack. Face-to-face wasn’t possible, safe, or even legal in many countries. Screen sharing solutions, such as CrankWheel, became one of the main ways salespeople spoke with prospects and clients.
Sales teams have been doing calls, while also juggling them and those they live with. It hasn’t been easy for anyone.
Now we are entering a new phase. As a result of the roll-out and uptake in vaccines around Western Europe and North America. Around the world, we aren’t out of this pandemic yet. But things are gradually improving. What does this mean for sales teams and implementing sales strategies in this new and evolving normal?
What is a hybrid sales strategy?
Hybrid working, and for sales teams, operating a hybrid strategy means working from home (WFH) and the office. Not being exclusively in one location or another. Work is split between both, depending on a flexible schedule.
Managers need to trust that sales teams are going to be working whether they’re in the office or not. As salespeople have proven working from home during this pandemic. Not everyone wants to continue doing that. Some want to be back in the office full-time, or back in the field meeting prospects and leads in-person if they are field-based.
At the same time, not everyone wants to do that, either. It depends where staff feels safe working, as Covid-19 is still surging through many societies. As this reduces, a LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index survey found that “half (47%) of U.S. professionals believe their companies will allow them to be — at least partially — remote after the coronavirus pandemic wanes.”
The sectors, where hybrid working is more likely or as a preferred solution, are those that were already embracing it before the pandemic: “tech (73%), finance (67%) and media (59%)”, according to LinkedIn data. A BGC survey of 250 sales reps, also found that “ fewer than 50% expect to return to the office or resume traveling full time.”
Now let’s look at what that means for sales teams, and how to implement or strengthen a hybrid sales strategy.
How to implement a hybrid sales strategy?
As hybrid sales apply to any type of sales team — inbound, outbound or field — we won’t differentiate as to the role of the particular team. Instead, we will look at what works for any kind of sales team when implementing a hybrid working strategy.
#1: Internal communications
As most companies have been working from home, or in some sort of hybrid format for over 18 months now, you should have fairly tight internal comms.
Take a look at how well the team is communicating.
Are there any gaps that need filling? Any way to make things feel a little more natural?
Look at the systems you are using. Ask staff for feedback. Are there too many meetings, for example, or not enough?
Also, ask the team how they want to work after the coronavirus pandemic wanes. Align internal comms and the systems used around the needs of the team, company, and culture. Base it on what’s working, and adjust and remove the systems that aren’t fit-for-purpose any more.
#2: Screen sharing with prospects and clients
As many companies have found during the pandemic, screen sharing and video calling solutions are far more effective than voice-based calls.
Sales teams use screen sharing when speaking to prospects and clients. Demo their products and services. Do presentations and pitches. Accelerate sales cycles, and close more deals. One of the major advantages is that prospects and clients don’t need to download anything to join one of these calls, and it works on any device and browser.
#3: Processes and systems
Processes and systems go beyond the tech stack you are using.
Although this is important, you need to take a holistic approach. Consider how your team is performing. Does it look like they need more support?
What does this support look like?
Maybe mental health apps and support would be useful. Or gym memberships and other health-related perks, moving office-based budgets to things that would benefit sales teams outside of work.
Also make sure to think about where staff is working, when at home. If some of them don’t have a suitable workspace (such as a spare room), maybe they need to be back in the office full-time, or more often than not. Or if they would prefer, giving them a membership to a flex-working space.
Put everything in place that would help your team. Processes and systems mean providing the right kind of support, in the most effective ways possible, which includes everything from screen sharing solutions to gym memberships.
CrankWheel: Cut your sales cycle in half with instant screen-sharing. Go from two or more sales calls to one: Become a one call close sales team.