Better Account Management in Sales
Strategic approaches to incorporate for supporting clients
A global pandemic, COVID-19 — is currently the major concerning point for every society and economy (and to be frank, for humankind). Every government/country is taking relevant precautions and steps to flatten or lower the curve-line of this disease, which is spreading at an R0 (R naught) between 2–2.5 (which can change time to time). People are becoming more aware of the changing scenario, and adapting to minimize the threat to personal and public health.
Economy and businesses are being impacted negatively & are trying to take precautions & to implement contingency plans. The coming future is unpredictable and according to the research by McKinsey and Company, there are a couple of scenarios predicted as a result of this pandemic.
The DELAYED RECOVERY scenario states that the growth of the virus will start declining from Q2; however customer’s confidence will be significantly down till Q2 — thus will cause a recession and the global economy might start having some recovery from Q4 end. The PROLONGED CONTRACTION scenario depicts that the pandemic’s growth will be halted but the pandemic will continue till the end of 2020, which means the recession will continue throughout the year and the global economy will start to fall-back from Q2, 2021.
Now, CAUTION is the keyword here — we have to be cautious in maintaining the physical distancing (aka social distancing), to be cautious in planning and implementing the business contingency, and to be cautious on how to engage.
As a Sales-professional, we have been taught that every call you make, every connection you create and every client you engage should be for a purpose — SALE. Definitely, it’s not from a rule-book, but most of the personnel abide by this rule and incorporate it in their customized way. And even when the existence of humans is threatened in every corner of the world, leaders and managers are asking their Account Executives to connect and sale- following the ultimate rule of sales and also to make sure that the business still thrives (aka, survives).
SURE, it is required to connect with your clients or prospects frequently and this situation doesn’t alter it, but you have to consider the changing scenarios and client concerns to make your connect-points.
The following are a couple of things you should/might consider, if you are communicating/connecting with clients or prospects during this vulnerable scenario.
1. EMPATHY, not sales.
Discover your client’s’ current business scenario, understand how they are operating in this crisis scenario, ask about their changed requirements/priorities, and empathize with their growing concern genuinely. You are not a pop-up ad or a call-center product promoter to market your product, you are a person and a compassionate one.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou
2. LISTEN and IDENTIFY client’s business contingency plan.
Please do not push your agenda to your clients, rather ask yourself whether you’ve understood their business priorities.
The business model might transform into a completely remote-work (home-office) based scenario, communication platform might be restricted or the client might implement a ‘make shift-work’ scenario to minimize gathering / create physical distancing. Know about their current journey, key deliverable they are looking into and business agendas they are expecting to continue for upcoming time.
Provide CONSULTATION and CUSTOMIZE your actions based on their current situation. If a client requires remote work support, CONFIRM whether you can provide it or not. If a client doesn’t require any support, communicate the available touch-points they can use when required. ASK, who are the contact-points from the client’s side (plus, the emergency contact-points).
4. ON-BOARD clients on your organization’s initiatives.
INFORM the key initiatives your organization is taking in this scenario for employees and clients. SHARE helpline numbers, emergency contact-points, support-line information to the client. ENSURE client understands the availability status of yours (whether you will be remotely-accessible or you can visit the client if required). COMMUNICATE clients the conversation took place to highlight and confirm. The simpler, the better.
5. CREATE new contents to share.
Not always you have to send an information package to the clients. There are several business websites and social platforms available, where you can share your content for clients and prospects. DESIGN and create new content/templates/information/articles or SHARE relevant information on LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, Facebook, Portfolio, GitHub, or other platforms. Make sure those are TIME-RELEVANT or relevant to your targeted client’s requirements. Don’t just send junk-emails to your prospects (Anti-Spam regulation will get back to you then).
6. MAXIMIZE your digital communication.
Social distancing / physical distancing is important, so in-person appointments will be reduced significantly.
Use digital communication tools; like — Skype, zoom, go-to-meeting, etc. to do digital/virtual conferencing. Utilize your conference-call system to do call discussion or proposal discussion. Engage with Microsoft Teams to conduct team meetings and client meetings. Make YOU-TUBE content with product features, training, simplicity, or highlight how your solution can help the clients in this scenario. Probably create your client engagement introductory video through VIDYARD and send it to the client or prospects. Be FLEXIBLE in approaches.
7. Stay VISIBLE.
The point is, most of the people do not care if you are just introducing yourself from your organization or selling anything valuable.
In this vulnerable scenario, just connecting is not a good enough reason to call. So, you should connect to HELP and SUPPORT and should offer CONSULTATION based on clients’ / prospects’ scenario. Most of the businesses will not require your product anyways, but you can SUGGEST your service or SHARE your expertise to support their changed scenario.
If not, you definitely can ask about the time-line they might reassess their scenario (means, you can connect afterward). Connect after that certain time-period. Share contents or product links in platforms. Establish a connection with other contact-points or create new.
As a Sales-professional, you are required to be visible and definitely in a HUMBLE way.
8. ASK to be their consultant.
You are a Sales professional and you require sales to grow.
Now, scenarios are gloomy and businesses are in difficult-state — but that doesn’t mean they won’t require anything from your organization. Identify what they are thinking about their business and what time they might consider reassessing their procurement requirements. Ask whether they are considering any of the services your organization is offering that might help them in this scenario. You never know — they might need special stationery to do their home-office operation, which you only can supply.
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”―Teddy Roosevelt
Remember, businesses are run by INDIVIDUALS. THINK about how you would react if someone calls you and try to sell something in the first place or try to provoke you to take their products/services. Do not be that sales-guy, who always pushes for sales without knowing the context or without assessing the scenario. This pandemic scenario is unprecedented and it requires our empathetic and compassionate actions. So, be genuine to understand clients’ business state, be adaptive to support their business, be trustworthy to be visible at their end, be flexible to adhere to a virtual platform for simplicity, and be a consultant to help in their contingencies. SALE will follow in-between.
How should you connect with your clients during this pandemic scenario was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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