Free digital copy
Get Speciality Food magazine delivered to your inbox FREEGet your free copy
The 21st of June is the date that most business in the UK await with bated breath. Is your business ready for the easing of trade restrictions and operating in a new sales environment post-lockdown? Are your team and customers ready?
Below is a list Skynamo has compiled of the top things to do to prepare your business, your team and your customers for getting back out into the field and selling successfully in a post-lockdown trading environment.
1. Account planning: Review your accounts at a company level, categorise and prioritise them based on who the top spenders are, who has outstanding invoices and what they are buying or have stopped buying, i.e. are they buying from a competitor now? Spending time doing account planning will help you determine where your sales reps should be spending their time to maximise their sales.
2. Review sales processes: Strike the balance you need to keep competitors at bay whilst strengthening your customer relationships cost-effectively. Ask yourself the following questions:
3. Enable working from anywhere: Things have changed; we have now proven that we can do our jobs remotely. Plan for and enable your sales reps to work effectively from anywhere – from home, from the office or on the road – to reduce time spent commuting and increase time visiting customers and selling. Make sure you have the technology and processes in place to do so.
4. Create new territory plans: You might have or need fewer reps post-pandemic and your frequency of face-to-face customer visits may need some adjusting in the short-term. Some customers might not be accepting face-to-face visits. You need to re-work your territory plan to increase the number of customers each rep manages.
5. Review budget and commission structures: With new territory plans, higher numbers of customers managed per rep and a hybrid approach to engaging with customers, you need to ensure your budget is adjusted to account for this and commission structures are set-up accordingly.
6. Review Covid-19 protocols: Review or develop your own company protocol that your reps follow to minimise the risk for them and your customers of contracting Covid-19 during a customer visit. Communicate your safety protocol to your customers to set their minds at ease before a visit. Find out what your customers meeting protocols are for visitors and whether they are accepting visits at all.
7. Check stock levels: Check which products’ sales were impacted by the pandemic and whether there will be a surge in demand for them with the easing of trade restrictions. Make sure you are stocked up on enough to cater for the increase in demand. If you need to rely on imports, ensure you’ve taken import delays due to backlogs into account. Also, check for damaged or expired stock.
8. Identify any competitors you want to displace or keep at bay: Customers may have re-evaluated what products they want to stock and sell and may be open to new options. Check your customers’ shelves to see if there are new competitors since the start of the pandemic. Equally, asses whether any competitors have gone out of business/products removed.
9. Establish or rebuild relationships as a priority post lock-down: After so much time without a regular face-to-face visit, it’s extremely important to go back to your customers and check in with them and re-establish your relationship. You may also need to build new relationships with contacts who may have replaced your previous contacts due to illness.
10. Read up on any industry changes: The pandemic may have resulted in changes in protocols and procedures or new regulations in your industry. Make sure you are familiar with them and prepared to adhere to them before your team goes out into the field.
11. Communicate to customers: Let your customers know you are still in business and ready to resume business with them. Perhaps start off with a special offer to kick-start business and encourage or reward your first purchase post-lockdown.
And finally, don’t forget the small stuff!
Check to make sure that petrol cards and mobile contracts are still valid for your team. Also, make sure your fleets have been serviced after standing idle for so long and that all technology you may be using is still in working order, e.g. mobile devices, laptops, desktop computers.
There are likely many more things to take into account going into a post-lockdown sales environment, but these were the things Skynamo’s customers agreed were the most important. We give special thanks to the following customers of ours for helping to curate this content: Rockcliffe Group, Cave Direct, Penderyn Whisky & Easier Sales.
If you disagree with any of the above or feel like we should add to this list, we’d love to hear from you! Please email Brian@Skynamo.com with your thoughts.