How Much Of This Year's Selling Will Stay Remote?
Where I am currently, WFH government guidance now ends.
I hear from companies caught in limbo about how to make their way back into the office. Underlying tension percolating from the who and the when.
I remain more than mildly irked by this.
In my very first solution sales role, there were enough members of our team living beyond commutable distance from base to show that a 'blended' world happily existed three decades prior coronavirus.
As the Millennium dawned with its dotcom boom, pretty much every Enterprise salesteam I served (with my own SaaS endeavour) had not a single senior player in all five days a week.
Special events, such as Quarterly Sales Team shindigs, and dedicated days to plan around tech team input or in-depth account reviews, each helped manage funnels effectively. Nary a video screen in sight back then.
Newbies gained precious mentoring. Managers maintained alert visibility. And quotas got smashed.
Makes you wonder about today a bit, hey?
Those of us in solution sales have plenty to build on which will make us more productive this year.
There's touted 'evidence' that removing even just a single day's commute each week lets us achieve more.
As well as that when comparing remote versus office staff output, those 'away' benefit from factors such as less 'interference' (in the classic 'managers vs makers' mould) to produce more too.
And that's before you get to the tangible savings. From reduced overhead realised from office footprint reduction and associated expenses disappearing. One London broadsheet reported City firms' belief this freed a bonus straight to the bottom line of 15%.
Yes, many of us need the crackle and fizz of being present in person among our colleagues. With many of whom we forge flowing friendship bonds. Crucially, getting some things done that are best done face-to-face.
Are we ready as a profession to develop in the 'hybrid' manner?
I read FT business columnist Pilita Clark cite the chief exec of the UK's Chartered Management Institute, Ann Franck. Her use of one stat as the sun set on 2021 was astonishing;
more than two-thirds of UK managers have yet to be trained to manage hybrid working.
She believes an enlightenment and modernisation of executive methods is long overdue.
I for one heartily agree. Especially as it surely includes Sales.
I know from my own discussions with B2B commercial companies how few are attuned to this most current and pressing of issues.
Of the 200 or so I've had meaningful conversations with, it is remarkable how seldom any view 'remote' as a skill they need to properly master.
Maybe this is simply a manifestation of the classic adoption curve numbers.
Yet I know when attitudes might just change.
When you begin to lose key salespeople. When you cannot seem to recruit decent new ones. When business slides because you've reverted to how things were done in 2019.
The answer is simple. The good news, it's not to late to make a start on it now. And in my niche of specialism, you can start with this little question, and move out from there...;
How will you use video calls to sell now that WFH is mandated no more?