Image courtesy of Kalawin/Adobe Stock
Marketing and selling in our industry during these uncertain times can feel like a night at the casino. Many of the sales and marketing managers I know are buckled up on this rollercoaster called 2020, having the ride of their lives!
The truth is, some of the most experienced people I know are just doing their best with the events which manifested in 2020. They’re checking in with their annual plans- occasionally now, as a mere suggestion. The good news? Helmets are on for the month of July, and we’re about as ready as one can be to integrate, with compassion, for our own organizations and the local communities we love and support. With whatever is tossed our way this July, we will adapt. We’ll work to the strengths of our teams, leverage our own expertise, and we’ll do this with care and panache.
I spent a good portion of my career building marketing and sales programs, often introducing new product lines to new territories across America. “Start-up” is my middle name. I’ve been told I have a certain” je ne sais quoi “ for building teams and coaching marketers through times of uncertainty, in the world of the unknown- not unlike 2020. I’ll be the first to admit my performance wasn’t always perfect, but I learned a lot. From this experience, I developed a mini “playbook” to help me navigate the seas of the unknown. Here’s a couple plays I’m happy to share.
The Quaterback Sneak
This is one of the coolest plays I’d take out when I have a phenomenal leader on my team, who is an outstanding performer. Maybe this star quarterback is a canvasser, or a representative for inside sales. Encourage their raw talent, help develop it through higher incentives, and watch them soar past normal performance standards. Who is a star quarterback on your team, and are you doing everything you can to motivate them beyond their normal performance?
If you’re short on ideas, a safe bet to motivate your talent is cash. Gamify processes—could be based on converted leads or customer reviews, there are plenty of options—to not only encourage better performances from your star players, but to also identify new ones. Incentive programs are a great place for team members to showcase their ability and drive. Daily contests are especially effective for identifying potential.
Here’s one that’s easy to forget: It’s tough to schedule your team when you don’t know what’s around the corner daily. When prospects are pounding down your door for an order, you often work longer hours to accommodate because you know if you don’t respond, your competition’s door will be knocked next. It’s easy to find your team, very literally now, in overtime. Your team is tired and probably, and understandably grouchy. At the end of a game, fumbles and interceptions are common. Your players need to stop the clock to win the next touchdown.
What do you do when you need to take a time out, but don’t have any time-outs left? You spike the ball. You hold short, daily huddle meetings with the entire team. You schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member, and you share your time with them exclusively. That means no phone calls, no emails, no rescheduling. It’s a reminder of your commitment to each one of them. It gives your team time to re-position and refocus. It stops the clock.
Now this is one of my favorites. I’ve learned the most in these situations, where I just need to try something. There’s space in every budget to experiment here and there. Take the chance. Learning what doesn’t work is just as important as learning what does.
Try out that sweepstakes program; reinvest to harvest some of those old, dead leads through cross-selling or rehash. Play to your teams’ strengths. Ask yourself: What does my team do well that can be replicated on a larger scale in the current climate? When building your strategy to execute, setup a safety net, but go big.