The phrase “business as usual” has taken on new meaning in the wake of a pandemic. COVID-19 has forced many businesses to adjust operations and adapt their channel sales strategies to keep product pipelines flowing and customers satisfied. With all things considered, companies have made a quick pivot to virtual options to stay relevant, and have had the difficult task of making their channel sales teams adapt to meet the needs of a new, evolving customer. This time last year, for example, an entire segment of the population had never heard of Instacart, a grocery delivery service that’s been around since 2012. Fast-forward to 2020 and, thanks to the pandemic, Instacart is now a household name with billions of dollars in the bank.
From implementing sales and marketing strategies to changing the way we communicate with our teams – the time is now to be innovative.
In this blog, we will provide strategies and best practices for your sales channel team to adapt to changes that have come with operating during a pandemic.
Research the Latest Trends
Uncharted territory and uncertainty have put immense pressure on companies to consider more innovative options in this “new normal” tele-world just shy of “The Jetsons,” with touch-free, self-service and digital interaction. In-person services are becoming a thing of the past, and consumers are turning to digital interactions in ways previously unheard of, such as tele-medicine appointments with their doctors. Shoppers look to convenience, and COVID-19 has only enhanced this.
The pandemic has also impacted the way we do everyday business. Businesses need to stay up on digital trends to maintain market share and retain customers. Some companies are changing their channel sale strategies and finding that remote tools, such as a channel POS management system, help enhance their sales channel by gathering crucial data on customers’ purchasing habits. The use of such channel sale tools have increased these organizations’ efficiency since the pandemic, and they plan to continue using these options even after the pandemic has subsided.
It appears that distant sales and sales operations are here to stay, so don’t hesitate to invest in the tools that can help your partners and your internal sales team sell your product. Research the newest trends and tools that can assist your internal and/or partner sales team in becoming more productive.
Segment Sales Operations
We are on our way to modernizing just about everything, but there are still a few who refuse to give up their traditional methods of brick-and-mortar retail shopping. Sales teams need to understand the ever-evolving needs of their customers and meet them with effective sales strategies.
There is an array of different channel sales strategies that can be executed through segmented sales channels. From direct and indirect sales to consumer sales, evaluate what strategy would best fit your needs, and choose the appropriate sales channels and partners to achieve your goal. Or, you can use an integrated approach that involves various channel sales strategies.
The pandemic has led more people to e-commerce than ever before, and just about everything, even grocery shopping, can be automated. This holds true in the B2B world as well. Just as consumers shop around to find the best deal, customer service, or a hassle-free experience, B2B manufacturers must adapt their sales channels to align with these new purchasing habits.
Online shopping has added a new layer with the pandemic, with an increasing number of people turning to acquiring goods and products online that they’ve traditionally bought in stores. As consumers get used to the ease of technology, they will probably continue these habits long after the pandemic is over and businesses need to be properly equipped.
We suggest managing your business’s point-of-sale and inventory via a web-based or cloud-based platform.
Tighten Up Your PRM System
Ramp up your partner relationship management system to show partners your business is adapting to the times and on point with the competition. Then, streamline your purchasing process for your channel team. Make it quick, easy, and simple to understand or you’ll run the risk of losing your partners to the competition. No one has time to waste on glitchy websites and portals, especially if your competitor’s site is smooth and efficient. Develop your online portal to be optimized for mobile, so partners have a seamless experience. And, make sure your partner management applications are up to date with the latest and most current information.
Take Your Team to Remote Horizons
Update your operating systems to equip your team with remote access. Research has proven that remote collaboration among your team is more productive and cost-efficient. Implement tools that will provide support and foster collaboration, and look for resources from other companies that have achieved remote success, such as GitLab. Or, if you want to hear the latest trends and best practices directly from the mouths of remote workers, check out FYI’s The Remote Work Report.