For Sales Leaders

Why Partnership Co-Selling Is an Important Focus During COVID-19

COVID-19 has dramatically shifted priorities for sales teams. Here are 3 big reasons why now is the time for Partnership Co-Selling.


As we enter into what McKinsey is calling The Next Normal, it’s clear that COVID-19 has dramatically shifted priorities for sales teams. The same-old methods will not work as we navigate rapid fluctuations in the economy.

McKinsey & Company report on Digital Interactions

 

Looking at business in this new environment, it’s clear that these changes have been in the works for some time. Virtual selling. Partnership CoSelling. Contactless Selling. 

Perhaps you’re not happy about this. I get it. Change is difficult. New habits are tough. But to keep the lights on and the sales flowing, now it is imperative. Now is the time for Partnership CoSelling. 

Let’s look at 3 big reasons why this is true:

 

#1. Connect As Humans First

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s unprecedented. The world has changed, is changing and will continue to change. While we want to restart business as usual, nothing is usual.

The thing to remember is: we are human beings. People who you are selling with and selling to are also facing irreversible changes. They are equally experiencing the challenges and difficulties of this time. 

Human contact. Empathy. Compassion. These are not words classically associated with sales. Right? 

In the old normal, sales focus was often on numbers not humans. We may have thought exclusively in terms of metrics, sales, quarterly performance and other less human-centric concepts. These important measurements have not gone away. However, they are not the first order of business.

Now, the number one priority is: connect as humans first. 

#2. Optimize Digital Workflows

With lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing—many old sales strategies have died. Sales involving in-person contact, nurturing and closing is historic. It may not come back at all. At least not today.

While it is tempting to bellyache about this as a loss, there is no going back. It is just the way it is. I know. Not the easiest pill to swallow. But once you accept that it the old way is either on ‘pause’ or on ‘over’—the options get clearer.

What are the options?

Simply, coordinated digital workflows. You may call it by different names in your firm: Partnership CoSelling. Strategic Account-based Selling. Cross-functional Account-based CoSelling. 

Let’s break it down into the 3 important elements.

First: Optimize and Collaborate

In response to COVID-19, the economy continues to fluctuate dramatically. As you’ve no doubt experienced, sales prospects are harder to find. 

When you do make contact, what do you get? It’s likely your sales team is finding that people, businesses, and funding are locked down. 

Words include the ones that no one wants to hear. “Tight.” “Locked.” “Frozen.” Or the gut-punch of repeatedly hearing: “Change in priorities.” “Not at this time.” Or my least favorite: “Finance is handling all decisions.”

How can you optimize your efforts?

Ditch the old ways of working harder doing what used to work. Scrap the ‘spray-and-pray’ methods once and for all. Stop trying to do more of what didn’t work so well before. 

How can you collaborate?

Be strategic. Collaborate with your team. Get thoughtful to determine the best way to optimize your resources. As you work together, you and your team can identify target accounts, support CoSelling partners, and lead each account through the sales cycle.

Second: Embrace Digital

Partnership Selling can be complex, frustrating, and time-consuming without the appropriate tools. If you’re trying to do it without the proper technology, it’s a task like Sisyphus. Pushing a boulder uphill, over and over again, only to fall down back to the bottom of the mountain. Each time. Not only near impossible but fully impossible.

The switch to digital meetings, digital introductions, and digital closing is here. There’s no going back. The businesses that are embracing this are making headway. The ones who aren’t—well, there’s a R.I.P. for each one of them. 

Third: Streamline Workflows

Partnership CoSelling requires clarity of terms, roles, and responsibilities. It requires identifying high-value accounts and coordinating a cross-functional approach to define interest, nurture, and convert those accounts. 

With the imperatives of virtual selling fully in place, streamlining process is even more critical. You won’t be able to sort things out at the water cooler or over lunch. It’s time to truly clarify every aspect of the workflow. You may feel that you are over-delivering, over-specifying, or over-doing it. But you’re not.

With the absence of in-person meetings, it pays to make the extra effort to build human connection, detail process, and streamline workflows. With the analytics and tools in place, you’ll be able to monitor results and make necessary course corrections.

 

#3. Strategize For Highest ROI

Looking for ways to strategically get the highest return on investment? Here are 5 tips to adapt to your sales team.

01. Restart Basics

Tracking simple metrics includes tracking your sales team’s outreach success, and monitoring changes in progress throughout the sales cycle. 

02. Refine Value Context

In addition to simple metrics, track the value in broader terms. This includes key indicators such as annual account value (ACV), customer acquisition cost (CAC) and lifetime value (LTV) to measure progress. 

Share this approach with your sales team to define and refine a targeted strategy. By understanding the long-term value of investing in each client at the front-end, you’ll encourage your sales team to look for the value-context. The outcome? Your team will be positioned for success, realizing increasing revenue over time. 

03. Reconnect As Humans

With the right technology tools, your sales team can personalize outreach and connect with human touch. Instead of bombarding contacts with insensitive cold calls, encourage your team to assure safety, be empathetic and build trust. It takes a gentle, steady, and personal approach to connect with your contacts as people are experiencing lay-offs, budget freezes, and difficult outcomes.

04. Refocus On Strong Industries

Some industries are harder hit from COVID-19 than others. Some of the industries that have been hurt include hospitality, restaurants, entertainment, gaming and media. Some of the industries that are holding strong include enterprise solutions and workforce enablement. 

If your main clients were in industries that have been hurt, start to reach out to partners with contacts in industries that are holding steady. 

05. Revitalize Compassion

Compassion is in high demand. Empathetic listening is what many people—your clients, associates, sales teams, and partners—are longing for. 

This is easier to do when you seek ways to show you care. What can you offer? Send a thoughtful note. Check-in as a human being. Ask if this is a good time to talk. Listen to what is said and not said. Show respect. Share free resources. 

Now is the time to rethink how you can serve customer needs with compassion. Now is the time to take a human-first approach in Partnership CoSelling.

 

Sum Up

With COVID-19, successful businesses are putting humans first, optimizing digital workflows, and being strategic about sales practices. Partnership CoSelling is an important focus during COVID-19 and beyond. 

Using a platform like CoSell.io is the simplest way to get your sales team on board. CoSell is a robust platform that makes it easy and fast to help automate and scale co-selling across sales teams. 

If you’d like to explore how partnership co-selling can help you and your team boost sales and win major clients fast - check out our selection of free eBooks.

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