The Expert’s Guide to Managing a Team in Crisis: How to Guide Your Sales Team to Results During COVID-19

COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by WHO, and since then the world has changed drastically.

Large corporations like Airbnb, Google, and Twitter have all asked their employees to work from home in order to reduce the spread of this virus. There are also many companies that have canceled events or changed business strategies because of it.

With so many restrictions and the changing market, it’s important to have a way for brands to access regular sales.

We’ll show you ways of managing a team in crisis so they can keep working hard and be productive while the company is struggling. Here are some tips and techiniques in managing a team in crisis.

It All Begins with a Plan: Selling Strategically During a Crisis

In order to be successful, a plan of managing a team in crisis must always exist as the foundation.

Now that the world is changing rapidly, business leaders need to think carefully about how they can manage remote employees.

If your company is in crisis due to budget cuts, you need a campaign that will help keep the team motivated and productive. New tools for workforce optimization, time tracking, and team management are necessary.

Richard Harris, the founder of a consulting group called Harris Consulting Group, says that early adopters will succeed if they research new opportunities and find new ways to keep their employees motivated through training.

To figure out how to get through this crisis, you should think about:

  • Businesses need to decide how many employees they should have during this difficult time. Hiring fewer people might hurt their reputation.
  • Talk about how you’ll use communication strategies. You might not get to have in-person conversations, but video conferences and real-time chat will keep everyone informed.
  • Beyond CRM for managing customers, what other tools are necessary? Do you need a program that tracks individual performance and gamifies it to keep people on the ball?
  • Support your teams with the right training and technology, but also reassure them. Give regular updates to make sure they know what’s going on.

When you ask your employees to work from home, it’s important to remember that there are more factors than just giving them a laptop and sending them on their way.

Adapting Your Team Management Techniques to the Circumstances

Remote work is different from working in an office. When I first became a remote manager, my employees lost some of their motivation.

When you first hire employees, your instinct might be to micromanage them. However, if you do this too much it will suffocate the creativity and innovation of your team members.

It’s likely that in a new working environment, you will need to provide clear guidance and direction for your employees. You also want them to have the freedom of making decisions on their own.

For example, you should have guidelines on how many leads your employees to need to be collecting every day. You also want them to have access to the tools and training they need so that they can meet their goals.

I know it’s important to allow your employees time for their families or hobbies outside of work, but at the same time, you need to make sure they are giving 100% during business hours.

  • Explore different strategies
  • Allow them to work on a flexible schedule so they can spend time with their families and still meet deadlines.
  • Switching from the sales mode to the assistance mode is a good way for companies to grow their client base.

In this challenging time, it’s more important than ever to use your sales team as the front line for gathering information from customers. They should be able to give you feedback on what they need and how their strategies work best.

Social listening is a great way to monitor customer discussions, and it can help you adjust your sales strategy. Ask account management or the front lines what responses they’re getting from customers.

Utilize Brand Awareness to Amass New Leads

Now that customers are more likely to be at home, we’re going to see a lot of them spending time on the internet. Verizon has already reported an increase in web traffic by 20%.

With the current climate, now is not a time to sit back and relax. It’s crucial that you focus on prospecting new leads.

One way to build brand awareness is by helping your sales team focus on more frequent communications. Ramp up cold calls and emails, adjust the pitch based off of customer needs.

  • Worried about whether you can access our services?
  • If you’re not sure if your supply chain can handle what you need, then it’s time to start looking for a new one.
  • Concerned about the safety and origins of your products?
  • Worried your inventory may run out?

When you’re developing a brand message, think about what your audience might be upset or worried about. Develop messaging that’s all geared towards reassuring them.

Nancy Nardin, the founder of Smart Selling Tools Inc., suggests that even in this time of crisis it is important to not overlook some traditional forms of communication like email.

Brynne Tilman says that the pandemic environment might make it more difficult to reach prospects over the phone, and LinkedIn or social media may be a lot easier for B2B stakeholders in this digital landscape.

Safeguard Your Clients and Sales Team

In managing a team in crisis, one of the best things you can do is to listen to your clients more and adapt your sales pitch based on what they need. You may also want to think about how you’re going to protect both existing customers and staff members during this unusual situation.

As the world goes into lockdown, your clients will still need support. But if you normally offer face-to-face service, it’s time to think of ways that you can serve them in this digital landscape. For example, B2B team bonding brand “Team” Building started developing new virtual activities for companies who want to improve staff engagement without in-person training.

The way we deliver services and support to customers will be important in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Alice Heiman recommends that you share techniques with your staff to maintain a positive mindset and manage their emotions. Encouraging them to be more effective at work, as well as establishing an appropriate balance between their home life gives you happier team members.

A positive attitude is always necessary for any sales strategy. The more your team feels supported, the better they will be able to adapt to different customer needs.

Ready for a Revival Following the Crisis

This situation won’t last forever, so it is important to be patient.

In managing a team in crisis, you might be focused on maintaining your sales and protecting the bottom line, but you should also consider how to come out of this crisis in a better position than where you started.

The COVID-19 crisis will likely force companies to cut costs, rethink the way they use their cash reserves, and make changes for customers who have less money available.

It’s important to work with your remote team during a crisis in order to find ways of thriving when it ends. For example:

  • Could you continue to offer remote working opportunities, like what we talked about before? It would reduce your monthly expenditure and make more room for other investments.
  • Maybe you can change your sales model to offer to lease or renting of software and equipment.
  • Could you work with banks and other financing options to make sure clients can pay for what they need in different ways?

When there’s not much going on, it is important to revisit customers and address their needs. As Lori Richardson suggests, one of the key challenges for companies right now is figuring out how to deliver real value over time.

It’s important to have a plan for your pipeline, research what new clients need, and prepare yourself to face different kinds of business.

Final Thoughts

Sales leaders have to be role models for their teams. They need to energize them and make sure they take care of the existing customers while unlocking new opportunities with different clients.

These leaders all agree that planning and managing a team in crisis will help your business come out of this global pandemic stronger than before.   

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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.