The pendulum swing
It has been one crazy year, that’s for sure. Most of us are still figuring out which behavioural impacts on our B2B sales teams arising from the pandemic will become permanent and which ones will be transient. Many sales teams were forced “off the road” for significant periods. The corollary saw a switch to Zoom, Teams and other forms of video conferencing for Sales Execs to stay connected to customers and prospects. Some organisations increased resource in Telesales, as a replacement for face-to-face representation. E-commerce increased in some sectors, as did despatch of product samples (which otherwise would have been delivered personally by Sales Execs). Numerous organisations have relinquished rented office space as they plan for a new world order where a degree of work-from-home will remain permanently.
We know that many sales orgs will be crunching the numbers to investigate permanent downsizing of the sales team, planning on a post-pandemic rebalance to incorporate forms of remote Sales Exec-Customer interaction. What began as a forced behavioural change is now being embraced, at least partly, on a discretionary basis. Fair to say, consideration of taking on erstwhile forced behavioural changes now on a discretionary basis will play out for all those elements mentioned above, to varying extents.
Be careful in so doing, as you gauge the swings of the pendulum.
People have missed the social interaction and relationships. Both customers and Sales Execs may experience a recoil effect and feel like they have had enough of remote comms and means of trying to do business. They may want more of a return to “normal” than we might initially think. At the end of the day, people like to do business and interact with people and “The Full Monty” (face to face) rather than via a screen might be missed more than we think.