#2 Sales in times of the coronavirus – threats, opportunities, new trends and the future of business

During the coronavirus crisis, which is bringing such intense pressure, Skondras will be regularly publishing our vision on sales in these difficult times. We will be providing entrepreneurs, sales managers, marketing managers and directors with insights on ways of dealing with the crisis from a sales perspective, as well as sharing cases and new success stories, plus ideas on how to deal with your personal situation.

We will also share observations on the shifts we are seeing in the market, as well as what works and what doesn’t. Because major demands are being made of you, the person with final responsibility for the sales department.

Not a complete economic crisis

The economy on a global scale is suffering. However, is the entire economy affected or are there some industries that are actually thriving? Industries that you can possibly learn from? If we look more closely, there are businesses that are actually doing really well. These are the three big trends that we currently see.

E-commerce is king and it’s here to stay

What we have seen gradually happening for a long time has now exploded: online shopping. Physical retail shops have closed or are placing tight restrictions on the number of customers entering. Streets are empty as people avoid contact.

Since many people are opting to work from home, or have been required to work from home, they are shopping online. Many also consider it to be the safest way, as there is hardly any physical contact when goods are delivered. E-commerce platforms are thriving and foresee their business growing to Christmas-like volumes. We assume that this trend will continue after the crisis has settled. The great shift from physical to digital shopping will remain.

Looking further ahead, we predict that all the suppliers of e-commerce companies will thrive as well. Regardless of their industry, whether it be IT infrastructure, cyber security, hosting or external customer service, they could very well increase their turnover in this segment.

The virtualisation of the working world

If for many people working from home was something to be avoided, or was simply impossible because their employer didn’t have the infrastructure, all of sudden it has become the standard. Companies that can are requiring or allowing their employees to work from home. Although this is very difficult in manufacturing, many companies are able to continue running their businesses in this way.

Again, companies that supply tools and services that support home working are thriving, from IT infrastructure, to advanced video conferencing, e-learning and cyber security. Working from home is now entirely possible.

The future of business – digital first

What we see happening now has already been underway for some time: the digitisation of society and the working world. Basically, it’s nothing new. But if your business doesn’t have a digital strategy in place now, and you haven’t bothered to connect with and serve customers digitally, than you are or will be impacted the most.

Business leaders are therefore urgently re-evaluating their strategy, and that includes their digital strategy. Do we have a digital strategy in place? If we do, how well is it being executed? Can we continue working digitally? Are we able to serve our customers digitally?

Health is an obvious sector that is now in desperate need of a digital way of working, so that health professionals can stay in contact with their patients remotely, work as efficiently as possible and make the best of the shortage of staff. Especially in Western Europe, health industries were already overburdened because people are living longer but not healthier lives. This burden is now heavier than ever, making the need for efficiency greater than ever.

Companies that help other companies to set up and implement digital strategies, whether on a small or large scale,  For instance, if you are able to support restaurants to reach out to their customers digitally – since many restaurants in Europe are physically closed – you might well be able to run a profitable business. That is, if you are able to connect with potential customers who could very well be in fear of what the future holds for them.

This might even be a major trend in sales now:

The need for salespeople who are able to work with a customer who might be experiencing insecurity, and might freeze and wait instead of taking action.

The need to make it about people, their situation and their needs instead of your deals and your company’s profits that in the end pays your colleagues’ and your salary.

To not go into that mode of security is a matter of integrity.

 

 

Willem Plandsoen
Senior Consultant