Between the restrictions, look for the power
Corona has been a big part of many organizations when it comes to sales and account management. Many sellers find it difficult to do their job well during this time, now that you can’t visit prospects or customers. “Understandable” says Reginald Verhofstede, founder and owner of CRM consultancy company and Archie implementation partner A-Switch. “We have seen the personal visit for years as a form of courtesy, as a way of expressing how important that customer is to your business. And that makes sense, because no matter how easy digital ways of customer contact are, nothing impresses as much as a face-to-face conversation. Nevertheless, at this special time you will have to change your sales tactics.”
Opportunities in the field of online sales
He therefore advises to look at video calling and other forms of online contact in a different way. Because although digital communication has its limitations, there are also many opportunities in various areas. He mentions three.
1. Easier contact with more customers
Verhofstede: “Video calling is very efficient. We notice that daily in our work as a CRM consultancy company. Previously, my schedule was full if I could visit two clients in one day. Through video I can now speak to five or six customers in a day. The threshold to make an appointment is also much lower. That’s why I’m looking for more frequent contact with customers that I know are struggling in this coronary season. Right now, we can show our added value by sparring with them over new sales methods or business ideas.”
2. Capturing customer information instantly has become easier
Another advantage lies in the area of internal communication, he believes. “We are an implementation partner of Archie and of course we use this CRM software as a central source of customer information. We’ve been dealing with archie for years. But even we used to forget something. For example, because after a long car ride you no longer know exactly who you have called. If you make the interview report of a meeting only when you return home after such a long car ride with all kinds of phone calls in between, then you have already forgotten what you have agreed. We noticed that working from home was a driving force for us to better capture information about customers. Because now that a conversation with a customer is still done via video, I immediately tap the call report. I make a phone call with a customer, then I type in the conversation. In short, Archie has not been as well stocked in our company as it has been in recent months. And we see this in our sales results: we have never run as good a half year as the second half of 2020.”
3. Implementations, training and after sales are more efficient
A-Switch also does the remote implementations today. And that works wonderfully, verhofstede sees. “If you used to do an implementation at a company with five branches, it was a crime to get people from all five of those locations together at the same time. It could be a month before the deal was made. Now we’ll make a video call in no time. It’s as if companies are also quicker to see how they’re going to set up Archie. Under pressure, everything becomes liquid, so employees are more willing to let go of old ways and habits and start working in a new way.”
The online training courses are eagerly deducted, he sees. “Previously, the lion’s share of customers preferred face-to-face training. But now everyone notices that getting to know a new application can also be done online. We also notice that the threshold for customers to ask questions is lower. Where previously they tended to save small points until the next account call, they now call directly at a question or a complaint. We can then solve these points much more quickly for them. This increases their customer satisfaction.”
Embrace remote sales as a new strategy
Anyone who had said a year ago that A-Switch would run its best year ever without seeing a customer in person was laughed hard in his face by Verhofstede and his colleagues. But it really happened. “I see that we are not the only company that has embraced remote sales as a new strategy. The great thing is that all the companies that have made the turnaround are performing better than expected in this strange time. It requires some adaptability and flexibility from your sales department, but online contact with customers and colleagues just works and will always take a place, even if we are allowed to visit customers in person. It’s not or-or, it’s and-and.”
Would you like to spar with us about opportunities for online sales? We are happy to get in touch with you and share our experiences.