How COVID-19 Impacts Your Sales Team
Author: Marilia Dimitriou
COVID-19 established a new reality, forcing businesses to close their doors or adapt to new working conditions.
Many employees embraced the implementation of the new working from home or suspension policy that many companies adopted to protect them.
However, such drastic changes also had a negative impact on numerous workers who couldn’t handle working from home or felt pressured.
As a business owner, you are aware of the feverish stock market. Many brick-n-mortar businesses had a decrease in their sales and had to close doors.
Some even took their businesses online to restore their revenue.
However, did you know that your sales team is the one that is affected the most by the new virus?
Your sales team’s job is already hard enough, generating your revenue, keeping your company under the growth radar, and meeting your sales KPIs.
With COVID-19, your team had to deal with a variety of issues that directly affected both your company and themselves.
In this article, we’ll see how the new virus affects your sales team to help you plan your next steps more efficiently.
1. Not Everyone Has the Same Adaptability to Change
Working from home came as a solution to keep your business running during the Covid-19 outbreak.
For many employees, having remote jobs has already been a reality.
Others, though, who weren’t accustomed to this model, was an extra challenge.
While working from home was beneficial for keeping employees safe, it influenced the mental health of those who were used to having face-to-face interactions.
As social creatures that need to see and communicate with our peers, an employee’s active office life contributes to their success.
According to Gartner, there are different personalities in your sales team with their own skill sets, strengths, and weaknesses.
For example, a salesperson who favors relationships was instantly drawn into a situation where they had no contact with co-workers and clients.
Losing this meaningful relationship can impact your relationship-oriented salespeople and, as we’ll see below, lead to a lack of motivation.
Keeping in touch with your sales team is essential to make sure that they are happy, motivated, and adapt to the new working conditions during the lockdown.
While you can’t meet them in person, you can arrange frequent Slack or Skype calls to share news and updates that’ll make them feel like they are in the office.
This way, you’ll manage to increase productivity and keep them in the loop.
2. Time-consuming Implementation of New Technologies
The new work from home reality also resulted in additional costs.
Businesses that operated through their office needed to implement new technologies and acquire new tools to streamline their operations.
For sales teams that were already familiar with a variety of tools, new implementations weren’t as time-consuming and stressful to learn.
However, salespeople who had never used the tools needed to respond to the COVID-19 situation had to attend online courses and receive additional training.
Even the most experienced salespeople had to learn how to use new technologies to reach their customers and meet their goals.
The most important tools that salespeople needed to have on their hands included software that allowed them to connect and support customers, attract them, and generate more revenue.
For instance, salespeople had to use desktop sharing and video conferencing platforms, host events, and create presentations to capture and engage new customers.
While learning how to use new software can be difficult, you can arrange training sessions to show your team how to stay productive during COVID-19.
Attending demos and webinars will allow your salespeople to learn the ropes, ask questions, and feel comfortable using new tools and technologies.
Despite being time-consuming, you should consider training your staff as the perfect opportunity to expand their knowledge and give them the means to adapt to change faster.
3. Lack of Motivation
Staying motivated and having a clear goal in mind is essential to keep your employees doing their best.
With self-isolation and quarantine, however, salespeople found themselves unmotivated.
According to a study, 55% of female and 43% of male workers had a decrease in motivation during the COVID-19 crisis.
The lack of motivation and its consequent impact on employees’ mental health stems mainly from job insecurity and the struggle to adapt.
What’s more, if leadership fails to address the new virus as an individual and collective challenge, then workers will have to face unrealistic workload and inner conflict due to poor management.
In both cases, your salespeople will feel unmotivated to continue their work as they’ll feel pressured to keep up with unrealistic expectations.
This will not only lead to a further decrease in sales but also lead to a number of salespeople resignations.
Keeping your team motivated is one of the greatest challenges for your company.
As we discussed above, using your video conference software will help you communicate with your sales team and make them feel more comfortable.
Company culture, though, is what will help you deal with low motivation, especially if you have close bonds with your salespeople.
For instance, if you used to have lunch together, why not plan “e-lunch breaks” where everyone can share their thoughts with each other?
Effective communication during quarantine periods should be your priority.
So, finding new creative ways to engage with your employees will get you one step closer to keeping them motivated.
4. Losing Sales Opportunities
During these difficult times, salespeople came across an unexpected reality where their sales opportunities decreased.
Surprisingly, a number of salespeople for B2B businesses didn’t say that losing their job was among their biggest concerns.
Among others, salespeople were concerned about their buyers’ budgets and losing their ongoing deals.
Along with consumers’ unwillingness to purchase, salespeople had to find new ways to approach their roles.
Instead of meeting with customers, your sales team had to occupy themselves with similar tasks to feel productive and contribute to your company’s growth.
Moreover, the confidence that salespeople had during the coronavirus outbreak decreased.
Losing hard-earned partnerships and deals can lead your sales team to question their abilities, also affecting their mental health and overall performance.
To avoid the impact, you need to be extra careful about how you handle your salespeople.
While the feelings of disappointment will be strong among them, you shouldn’t neglect to encourage them as much as possible.
Praising them for small wins will show your team that you appreciate their work and make them feel less worried about meeting your sales KPIs.
Consequently, your employees will strive to achieve more knowing that you value their efforts during COVID-19.
5. Feel Uncertainty about the Future
COVID-19 affected the majority of businesses regardless of industry.
No-one knows when the threat of COVID-19 will cease to exist and for salespeople, this creates uncertainty for their jobs.
Along with unexpected pay cuts and insufficient support, numerous employees were fired, laid off, or put on a temporary layoff.
According to data, in February 2020 the US had its lowest unemployment rate at 3.5%.
With the emergence of COVID-19, though, 6.6 Americans sought unemployment benefits to cover their needs.
The numbers can be frightening for people who are still working even though their business might not have taken a big hit.
Nevertheless, economic uncertainty has affected employees and especially salespeople who are responsible for keeping a business afloat.
The responsibility alone can be too much to handle, so it’s important to be patient, guide, and be there for your sales team through these difficult times.
6. Insufficient Account Management
To thrive, you and your sales team need to find ways to lead your customers a step further down your sales funnel.
To do that, you need to ensure that you have strong bonds and a healthy bottom line to guarantee your success.
During the coronavirus 9 pandemic, numerous businesses lost touch with their customers or didn’t have the chance to build post-sales relationships with their new clients.
Not only that, but coordinating the communication exchange between the customers, sales, and customer service was also difficult for your sales team.
As customer satisfaction is the main reason for customer retention, salespeople came across a point where they couldn’t promote the growth of their business any longer.
Acquiring new customers was of paramount importance to survive amidst the coronavirus crisis.
So, salespeople had to pressure themselves to go after their valuable customers and make sure that they wouldn’t leave them for a better deal.
And while video conferencing software came as a solution to the problem, for salespeople who had genuine interactions with clients it’s still difficult to achieve the same effect.
Focusing on maintaining relationships with key accounts through phone calls, emails, and video conferencing will help your team focus on specific individuals and help them overcome the lack of interpersonal communication.
Of course, don’t forget that soon COVID-19 will belong to the past, so make sure to show your sales team that everything will get back to normal sooner or later.
Rising to the Coronavirus Challenge
Every business out there had to deal with numerous challenges and uncharted waters as they went through the coronavirus outbreak.
Knowing how the new situation influences your sales team, though, will help you rise to the challenge and plan your Covid-19 response strategy more effectively.
Keep in mind that for the time being your sales team might be vulnerable.
However, with the right guidance, motivation, and support you’ll overcome the problem and help your team and business get back on track.
Marilia Dimitriou is a Creative Writer working for email marketing automation software Moosend. Her passion for writing has made her find new ways to combine the art of Creative Writing with SEO Copywriting. When she’s not writing articles, you’ll find her enthusing over marketing tech and automation.