Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every person has seen their life change personally and professionally. In the workplace, the pandemic has brought forth a drastic reassessment and overhaul of standard processes across organizations, and media sales were no exception.
Suddenly, sales representatives needed to upend the usual processes they followed pre-COVID-19, and were forced to operate virtually, monitor budgets closely, and sell new strategies.
With offices shutting down, travel registrations in place, and many people working from home, media sales teams transitioned meetings, networking events, and conferences to online. And on top of it all, the pandemic triggered major budget reductions.
Suddenly, there was a massive magnifying glass on every investment: from people, to support tools, to travel and expenses. Not only were teams forced to find ways to reduce costs for their own organizations, they were also selling into agencies and brands that were dealing with a triage of loss of clients, budget cuts, and in some cases, furloughs and layoffs.
However, through the challenges of the pandemic and difficulties that 2020 has caused, media sales teams have been resilient and learned new ways to efficiently and effectively deliver valuable results for their organizations.
In many cases, teams have found hidden benefits to working in this new sales environment. The first being growth opportunities for new and tenured sales representatives.
Now, media sales professionals work predominantly from home, eliminating the time it takes to commute to and from the office and the travel time required to visit clients or attend events. As a result, there is more time to connect with colleagues and clients over the phone or on video calls, which allows for higher participation from managers and subject matter experts.
With increased engagement across the organization, sales representatives are able to evolve faster within their career tracks and learn from the experiences of their more experienced colleagues. This is invaluable, especially for companies looking to bolster productivity and sales while budgets remain tight.
This ability to engage with colleagues and teams via online chat, phone calls, video calls, and email has opened communication channels like never before. Real-time feedback on what works and what doesn’t is now commonplace, further enabling the professional development of the team while continuously helping them to improve processes and deliver meaningful results.
While this is not necessarily new to business, the pandemic has caused sales teams to spend more time at their computers than ever before due to reduced travel schedules. Now, media sales teams have easy access to other departments across the organization, and they can request input and receive answers more quickly.
One main pain point of the pandemic across departments, especially for media sales, has been budget and cost cutting. Cost cutting initiatives have forced organizations to examine long overdue processes and tool allocations, including usage and effectiveness of subscription-based resource investments.
Consequently, media sales teams have had to become smarter and more thoughtful when it comes to spending company resources. Approaching work with this critical mindset has helped teams focus in on their needs and eliminate superfluous resources.
Overall, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have encouraged media sales teams to strip down traditional processes and optimize for the new work environment. This has had an impact on tool utilization, but it has also influenced how sales teams approach messaging.
Without trade shows and networking events, sales representatives have sharpened and improved messaging and methodology to secure valuable audiences, accelerate new products, and pivot strategies based on industry changes.
2020 has impacted sales organizations in a big way, and now, sales teams are better positioned to be stewards of company resources. The road so far has already ingrained some powerful business lessons. Media sales teams must continue to develop and enhance online and virtual sales skills to optimize budget and company resource allocations.
And beyond budget awareness, the impact of the pandemic has resulted in a people-first approach among managers and sales representatives. The value of career development and the importance of participation from managers and experts is undeniable, and this is a trend that will certainly continue into 2021.
When it comes to client interactions, forging deeper relationships with customers and adding greater value to those relationships has become critical.
The last few months reinvigorated employees’ will to work and created more resilient, inventive, and efficient teams. Sales professionals have gained a better understanding of what they can do to deliver value to their organizations, and this trend will undoubtedly transcend 2020.
James Moore is Chief Revenue Officer for Simpli.fi. In this role, he is responsible for leading the sales team and driving the growth of the company. He joins Simpli.fi with more than 20 years of sales leadership experience at some of America’s most successful sales organizations, including Airborne Express, ADP, and Careerbuilder.com.
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