The way we deal with customers is changing due to the Corona crisis. And even in the post-Corona era, the classic sales force will be severely limited in its options for an indefinite period of time.
Our partners diva-e give tips on how to make the sales force even more customer-friendly and successful through digitalization.
For sales and customer relations, the vital personal contact, which is of great importance for revenue generation, will be avoided more and more. Whether B2B or B2C - shaking hands, a friendly pat on the back or a large group meeting will be challenging for a long time.
We may have fewer concerns in our family and circle of friends, but the close interaction with strangers will be more difficult for us. Despite the changes, there are opportunities to strengthen the classic field sales force as a consulting channel.
TIP 1: React to changes in user behavior
Even before the Corona crisis there was a constant trend towards digital sales solutions. The current situation will lead to increased use of digital services - in the short term and, due to the changed user behavior in the crisis, also in the long term.
The customer now adopts a purchasing behavior that will stick after the crisis - even if sales representatives return to their offices and the clients in two, four or eight weeks. Prepare your sales force for the changed user behavior and provide an optimal digital infrastructure in the home and office.
TIP 2: Support classic field service with technology
With technology we are now able to bridge distances and to market products online or virtually, as well as to advise and make individual offers. What was only possible in a 1:1 consultation so far, can now be done as (self-) service with intelligently designed configurators that combine multiple requirements into one offer. With the current push in digitization, we are even reaching consumers who were previously not interested in the Internet or were critical of digital developments. Conversations via Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom are becoming just as routine as phone calls or personal consultation appointments on site.
TIP 3: Digitally connected field service
A new era is dawning for the sales force, but it does not end with agents and sales representatives sitting in front of video cameras. Sales must be linked to the company's existing digital capabilities and commerce applications. In addition, the customer journey and attractive content of the company's website must be integrated. New functions and services must be created to ensure that sales remains authentic, creates customer proximity and is digitally successful.
TIP 4: Making field sales interactive
Sales, e.g. of insurance and financial services, must be carried out with interactive elements, in which the consultant has a more moderating role and, in the best case, is available immediately via chat and video. Products and services must be expanded, digitally experienced and configurable in order to be able to satisfy information needs completely interactively. For companies, the time has come to take full advantage of this opportunity to supplement or replace their field sales force. Ideally, the skills of the field sales force will continue to be used to serve, advise and inform the customer better than before. After all, know-how and empathy are still needed - only via digital channels instead of on-site discussions.
This article was first published in diva-e's blueprint Vol. 7.