The ongoing pandemic has presented several unique challenges to businesses in the New Bern area.
One of those is that outside sales reps have found themselves persona non grata in many areas thanks to the new social distancing rules and some companies having their employees working remotely.
The sales reps now have to conduct business through online chat and video conferencing while working from home. This presents a new set of challenges, such as mittens, the kitty cat walking over the keyboard while on a Zoom call, or the lawnmower and leaf blower guys performing a concert outside.
We want to share with you a few tips that you can use to prepare your outside sales reps for “the new norm” of conducting business from home while at the same time improving productivity.
The first few months of the lockdown saw millions of Americans working from home. Baseball caps, barking dogs, and t-shirts were the norm when hopping on a video conferencing chat. Back then, everyone took it in stride, as most of us expected things to quickly go back to the way they were.
As time has proven otherwise, working remotely is now the reality, with no end in sight. To that point, your sales reps should act and look accordingly. Sit down with them and create an essential list of do’s and don’ts for working from home, such as:
- Do dress as if you were coming into the office.
- Don’t allow Fido to interrupt your sales meeting.
- Do have a professional background when on video chat, such as a backdrop or rollup banner.
- Don’t eat while on conference calls.
Laying down some guidelines will provide your sales reps with a more professional presentation—as if to say, “we’ve met and overcome the challenges presented to us, and we’re ready to do business.”
Before the pandemic, sales reps would ask their managers to have marketing materials printed up to distribute to their customers by hand. They can still do that, but instead of hand-delivering them, they can now simply mail them to their customers in advance of a virtual sales meeting.
If you have .pdfs and other digital materials you want to turn into printed marketing pieces, a good graphic designer can help you. This not only allows you to update your marketing material but can turn a .pdf into a 3-page brochure or sell sheet.
Have the IT Staff on Standby
Make sure that your internal or external IT department is aware of which employees are working remotely. They will help keep things running smoothly when the inevitable technical gremlins arise, such as a poor internet connection, email issue, or software support.
Consider purchasing newer computer equipment for your sales reps. Many reps are using their own laptops, computers, and printers to conduct business—this not only causes wear and tear, but it’s also a security risk.
You’ll also need to decide upon which software services and tools that you’ll use. Each person has his or her own favorite program—this can lead to compatibility issues that are challenging to sort out. Pick a software tool and require all reps to use it.
Back before the pandemic struck, outside sales reps were pounding the pavement and knocking on doors like the rock stars that they are. It’s somewhat challenging to do that virtually—unless they’re experts in online marketing. You can help them out with lead generation, prequalify, and then pass the warm ones off to the reps.
A professionally and properly set up lead gen program can generate a flood of new interest in all aspects of the marketing funnel. You can even combine both on and offline tactics—such as email and direct mail marketing—to create an even more robust lead gen program.
Implement a Human Element
One of the biggest downsides to virtual sales is that it can be very impersonal—and have an almost clinical feel to them. A few of your customers or prospects may have technical issues or be camera shy. This means your sales reps are talking into a camera and not seeing someone on the other end.
You can add a much-needed human touch to the virtual sales meetings by sending out promotional products or a personalized direct mail piece as a way of saying “thank you” to prospects who participated in a sales call.
Sales and Marketing Help in New Bern
By implementing one or more of the above suggestions, your outside sales reps will have the tools and info they need to virtually perform their jobs. At AlphaGraphics of New Bern, we’ve helped many local businesses and their employees adapt to remote working through our marketing services.
If you have any questions about political signs and marketing for the greater New Bern area, give us a call. To learn more about how AlphaGraphics of New Bern can produce and design your next project, you may email us, request a quote, or call us at (252) 633-3199.