Will a Return to Face-to-Face Selling Accelerate Your Business?
I have noted more and more dialogue around people and companies looking forward to face-to-face meetings with customers and how impactful this will be. While it will feel great to have interactions with people in a form other than “virtual” will it really change the performance of your sales organization?
1) Will your customers be there to have meetings with?
2) If they are in their offices, will they want to see your sales representatives?
Let us explore these questions.
1) Where are your customers working?
Work from home became extremely common and popular throughout the pandemic. Many organizations were quite surprised by how little productivity was lost. As the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated rises, the view of what the future workplace looks like is quite varied. Some anticipate a return to a pre-pandemic normal (often citing a loss of collaboration and team cohesiveness as the motivation). Many others anticipate a continuation of the work from home phenomena due to its popularity with employees with quality-of-life benefits. There is a growing expectation that some form of hybrid approach will be likely, with employees spending some time working in the office and some time working from home.
If work from home continues in some form, how difficult will it be to get face to face meetings? Even with your customer spending a little time in the office, how much of that precious and limited time do they want to allocate to outside vendors?
2) Do they want to see sales reps?
Even before the pandemic, customers were increasingly wanting to spend far less time with sales reps.
I have written about this in the past. Even prior to COVID-19, 60% of buyers did not want to see a sales representative!
(You can find the article here)
The pandemic has accelerated buying shifts and preferences to ecommerce and inside sales. For your customers, time is valuable. If what they are buying is a low complexity commodity, they want an automated or self-service option. They do not want to be spending time with a sales representative on this.
They want to be able to research product options and features on their own.
There is still a place for sales representatives but they will be part of an evolved sales model that incorporates ecommerce, digital/content marketing, a lead warm up and qualification option (sales or business development), highly trained and qualified inside sales organization and then outside sales representatives for big deals, product demonstrations and the more complex sales.
Evolved sales models already exist and are being widely used in some industries, particularly the world of technology sales.
It works. It is cost efficient. It is how your customers want to buy! And it is not necessarily face to face.