It's not just you: Salespeople everywhere are struggling.
Covid-19's consequences have been nothing short of devastating. Retail sales have slumped. Restaurants and entertainment companies can't bring people in the door.
One source of optimism? The SaaS sector. A report by sales outsourcing group SalesRoads found 62.5 percent of B2B sales professionals had either a "positive" or "very positive" outlook on sales during the second half of 2020.
Why? Because the SaaS sector is thinking ahead. I'm consistently around sales speakers and have figured out a few keys for keeping revenue rolling in:
1. Embrace Remote Work
In the SalesRoads study, more than 30 percent of respondents reported that 26 to 50 percent of their team members were working remote for the first time. Evidently, it's going well: More than nine in 10 of those surveyed said they're more likely to consider remote work in the future.
To be fair, this trend was underway long before Covid-19 hit U.S. shores. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 39 percent of employees told pollster Gallup that their employers offered them flex time or the ability to work remotely. That number has increased in recent months, with 57 percent of employees reporting the same in Gallup's latest survey iteration.
Remote work isn't going away. Develop processes around remote sales that will work for the long haul. When it's time to hire new salespeople, prioritize candidates who've proved they can work remotely for months or years at a time.
2. Focus on Late 2020
Especially in the B2B space, sales aren't made in a day. In many cases, they take months. There's not much you can do about your sales figures today. What you can control is what they will look like around the end of the year.
Especially if you sell software, piggyback on the push for virtual services. Remind companies of the risk management value of digital solutions. Point out that online models tend to be cheaper than traditional ones, especially in areas like marketing.
Like sales, new technologies take time to implement. Start the conversation now so that you see the bump in your late-2020 sales figures.
3. Support Working Parents
Quarantine has changed the role of working parents. They have to wear all sorts of new hats, from working alongside their kids to acting as their teachers.
The good news is, less than a fifth (16.6 percent) of SaaS professionals told SalesRoads that child care or home schooling impacted their ability to sell. To put things in perspective, over three times as many respondents (49.3 percent) reported that remote work had affected their sales.
While not everyone struggles with child care -- and of course, not everyone has children -- SaaS pros have found ways to stay productive. It's up to employers to guide them toward those by, for instance, providing a quiet workspace or babysitting funds to workers who might need it.
4. Leverage Live Video
Are you a Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype aficionado? Since at-home work became a norm, video conferencing platforms have grown increasingly popular.
With video conferencing, sales teams can conduct meetings and webinars live, which engage leaders in a more personal manner. Use it for webinars, product demonstrations, and even for follow-ups.
For all the damage Covid-19 has done, there's a reason SaaS salespeople are so optimistic: They're using the right tools and rolling with the punches, and their sales figures show it. There's no reason teams in other sectors can't do the same.