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Come through the Covid crisis a better person with a better sales team too

With businesses encouraging staff to work remotely and clients cancelling meetings, you and your sales team have a unique opportunity to focus on your own development.

Over the last few weeks I, like many of you, have found sales meetings and other face-to-face client interactions being either postponed or moved online. Initially I was concerned, and I still am, by the impact that these delays could have on my sales pipeline.

But more recently, I have found an upside. Most people will have heard the phrase ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ but who first said it? Read on to find out…

This week, by no means a busy one due to a couple of postponements, I’ve calculated that I’ve created 18 ‘extra’ hours by moving meetings online. Where previously clients would have taken a dim view if I’d suggested a virtual meeting, now they are telling me that it is their company policy. That’s great news if, like me, your clients are spread far and wide across the UK. In the last two weeks I haven’t once had to get up at 5am to get the first train to London, returning back late at 8 or 9pm, feeling absolutely knackered.

And my productivity has hit new heights! No longer have I had to deal with dodgy phone signals somewhere outside of Peterborough turning  useful time to talk into frustration and worse. And that’s before I even mention delayed or cancelled trains. I’ve nearly caught up on my admin for the first time in who knows how long. And I’ve written more blogs this week then I managed in the previous two months (sorry!).

There are even benefits in my family life now that when I finish work, my commute involves simply walking downstairs. I’m far more ‘present’ in the evening and on one memorable evening I was even able to hold a coherent conversation with my wife in which I wasn’t distracted by thoughts of what I’d been unable to achieve that day. Of course, I’m lucky in that sense that I can do a lot of my work remotely but as a Sales Manager isn’t it the case that you are already managing your team remotely anyway?

So, if you’ve found yourself with more time available to you, for whatever reason, now is the perfect opportunity to re-establish yourself as a coach and mentor to your sales team. Here are three suggestions of things you can do remotely:

  1. Coaching Conversations – Whilst many Sales Managers I talk to ensure that they practise good people management procedures, such as objective setting, regular reviews and PDPs (Personal Development Plans) , their coaching is a bit more sporadic. Now is a perfect time to talk to team members, find out what really drives them and tap into this to enhance their performance as Sales People and your performance as their manager. If you want to brush up on your coaching skills, I recommend reading Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore.
  2. 360 Feedback – As a salesperson sometimes the loudest feedback you receive relates solely to numbers and targets. The feedback about real performance; what you do, how you act and what might help; that can genuinely help you to get better at what you do gets lost in the noise. 360 feedback is a great way to quickly get feedback from a wide range of sources, all delivered online of course. Check out our Acuity 360 tool for feedback that is specific to sales capabilities. The online system enables you to see group themes which can give you great insight into what further training or support might be required.
  3. Online Sales Training – With online training becoming ever more sophisticated, it’s a great option that allows individuals to learn at their own pace. Short, bite-sized sessions keep people engaged whilst you, as the manager, can see who has done what. Some online training will contain an assessment element enabling you to see who has performed well and who might need further coaching and mentoring.

So, don’t let lockdown stymie your chances of success when the Covid-19 cloud lifts (and of course it will!). Use this turbulent time wisely and get ahead of the game – but don’t forget to take care of your neighbours too!

Coronavirus does not have to get in the way of recruiting top sales people. Our assessments can be delivered online so that you do not have to compromise on the quality of salesperson that you hire. Click here to discover more.
  • The phrase is commonly misattributed to Plato by Benjamin Jowett‘s popular idiomatic 1871 translation of Plato’s Republic. But the earliest actual usage of the proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” in English is usually ascribed to Richard Franck, who used it in his book Northern Memoirs, calculated for the meridian of Scotland (1658). It is not Frank Zappa who decided to call his band ‘The Mothers of Invention’ in 1968. (All sourced from Wikipedia.)