All kinds of work has been affected by the pandemic. We know about the food service/hospitality industry, front-line workers and even retailers – but one of the roles few of us hear about in these locked-down times is sales. How do the people who specialize in serving clients face-to-face keep the lifeblood of any business going while social distancing?
It’s a question few of us think about but a critical one for sales leaders who have been challenged as never before to search for new ways of keeping in touch with customers – either B2B or B2C. And it’s a trend that will likely remain post-pandemic.
Michael Taylor, program director for Schulich ExecEd’s Masters Certificate in Sales Leadership program, says “Covid has changed everything”, especially for those who lead sales teams and are responsible for making them successful:
- How do you sell virtually?
- How do you manage virtually?
- How do you coach virtually?
- How is everything sustained?
“Everyone has had to embrace agility in their selling skills, learn new skills, get more effective at digital selling – really understand their value for the customer and continue to provide those insights to set them apart from their competitors,” says Taylor.
The Masters Certificate in Sales Leadership program had a running start on some of these changes and, in a demonstration of the agility sales professionals need to have, all the facilitators in this 13-day virtual classroom learning experience have incorporated important new solutions into the program content. Here are just a few examples of techniques for selling virtually.
In the program’s first module, the section on “Problem Solving and Innovating for Improved Performance in Complex Environments”, facilitators were already looking at topics such as, issue Identification, innovation and engaging employees. All sessions in the program are being updated in real time to reflect the current needs of operating virtually.
We are all clear on how to manage “sales cycles” but how many of us are clear on how to manage our “people cycles”? As a leader of sales-people, your most important priority is to achieve success through their performance and this program includes valuable information and techniques for managing your people. Doing this virtually adds to the challenge and the importance of keeping in touch with your team on a regular – and online – basis is even greater. With the number of pandemic-induced changes in customer behaviour, many of which will become permanent in the “new normal”, learning how to do virtual coaching and managing will be key.
“Exploring Social Selling Mastery™” is a under-explored aspect of modern selling that is discussed in the third module. Social media, by nature, involves being active in the virtual world. With so many customers active on social platforms, sales professionals must have a good understanding of how to build a successful social selling strategy – and also keep up to date with industry trends – all online and with multiple platforms. Participants will learn how to maximize the value through LinkedIn.
Sales leaders of all types, experienced and new to the role, can benefit from the strategic, applied-learning approach in this program. With the substantial changes brought on by working during a pandemic, there has never been a better time to review methods, get inspiration and set a new course for your sales team.
The Masters Certificate in Sales Leadership (starting June 15, 2021) is a 13-day program delivered in three sessions held through September. For more information and to register, visit the program web page today.