Survey Results: B2B Sales Under Unprecedented Circumstances

How do you continue selling in the current situation? Will companies invest or scale back their sales activities? What effect do all-remote sales teams have on productivity?

We all have a lot of questions.

We don’t have all the answers. You don’t have all the answers. No one does. But now is a time to be proactive, to communicate clearly, and to learn from each other to weather the storm. We’re all in this together. Community matters more than ever.

Last week, we created a questionnaire to understand better how our fellow salespeople are adapting to the changing environment. These are your responses, followed by some key takeaways from the results, and how we, at Vainu, have adapted.

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Key takeaways: Sales activity doesn’t stop

Crisis affects every business in a unique way. Some industries have been crippled overnight (travel, hospitality) while others are seeing unprecedented demand (online services, collaboration tools). The whole impact on B2B companies is far less obvious yet. We still don’t have all the answers. But looking at these survey results, we’re all a little bit wiser.

Evaluate if you need to change your sales target groups. What’s the sweet spot now? Which cases keep moving forward? Adjust your ideal customer profile and buyer personas accordingly if needed. Selling to an industry that isn’t as affected? Focus on them first.

Collect data every single day. As we navigate uncharted territory, closely examine your sales activities to generate new insights. Sales ops analysis is critical. At the end of every day, you want to put together a report highlighting what type of companies we prospect, what type of meetings we manage to book, which cases move forward in the pipeline and what types of companies we start doing business with.

Increase sales activity levels. Nobody has stopped selling yet. Keep your team active and encourage your reps to try new ways of selling.

Anticipate new objections and find a way to handle them. Your prospects might feel too busy to take a sales call or commit to a meeting. Remind them their sales activity hasn’t stopped either.

Take charge and be relevant. Everybody’s busier and more stressed in the current situation. When reaching out show empathy and have a reason for calling. Do your research well.

Keep the sales team engaged and productive. Improve collaboration by organizing daily stand-ups, setting up virtual offices and online whiteboards. Over time, salespeople will find their rhythm and day to day routines to be productive.

Over-communication is necessary. Marketing during a time like this is really, really important. Your customers and industry need to hear from you, so communicate clearly, be genuine and empathetic. More than ever, marketing teams can support sales by providing additional content and setting the right tone.

Invest time and money in sales training and tools. When going all-remote, it’s obvious you need collaboration tools like Zoom and Slack. It’s less evident for a CRM, marketing automation, or other essential sales tools. Ensure your team has the right tools and organize internal training so that everyone feels more confident using them.

Revise your KPIs and metrics only if necessary. Even if you expect a decline in sales, you don’t necessarily need to lower your KPIs, especially those related to activity.

We invited sales leads from different companies in the Nordics to join us for a webinar and discussed their takeaways and their plans of action. You can see the full recording recording here.

Hang on. We got this

There’s a lot of uncertainty. For those in sales, you probably feel like you aren’t sure exactly what do to. None of us are. Offices have been closed and we are all still trying to figure out how to do remote sales the best we can. As a sales person, your job is to adopt an ‘always be helping’ attitude. More than ever before, when reaching out, you must have a good reason for calling.

Sales teams have not closed. Quite the contrary, the sales activity will be frenetic in weeks to come. We only need to be a bit more creative and resourceful (and a good dose of grit and determination) to overcome these unprecedented times.

Topics: B2B Sales

Mikko Honkanen

Mikko Honkanen is Vainu's CEO and Co-Founder with a strong background in SaaS industry and B2B sales.