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All of us have pesky and persistent things that we swear we’ll get to when we get time. At home, it might involve cleaning the garage or scanning old photos into digital format. You say you’ll do it, but never actually get the time.

As the initial shockwave of COVID-19 subsides, there’s a chance you’ll have some time to focus on those types of items in your work life that you know you’ve been neglecting because they didn’t have immediate priority or payback. While we acknowledge that sales leaders will never actually admit to having extra time or cycles, there’s a chance you may have some underutilized resources or people who could use a project to work on.

Consider this short list of things you might want to start tackling if you find you have some extra cycles (or have people on your team who are looking for something to do). It’s a better use of time than binging another TV show.

This post is the last in a series called “The COVID-19 To-Do List for Revenue Leaders,” and will compile and present some of the top insights from TSIA researchers and members, as they deal with the problems of the moment, and look to emerge stronger on the other side.

Dig Deeper into Why You Won (or Lost) Your Deals

If you go into your CRM, you’ll find a laundry list of typical loss codes for reasons that you couldn’t close the sale or lost the renewal. These options are often vague, and include options such as “budget” or “priority.” 

As sales leaders are under so much pressure to hit the monthly, quarterly or annual number, they don’t often circle back and get to the bottom of what really happened. This pandemic provides an opportunity to dig deeper. 

Is there a failing with the value proposition? Was there a disconnect between the promised outcome and what was sold or delivered? Did the customer never adopt the technology, jeopardizing the renewal? Those who don’t study history are condemned to repeat it.

On the flip side, now is the time to look at your successes, beyond the marketing case studies. Look for common attributes in your successful customers. 

Are there any patterns in the customers that bought from you(other than, of course, your outstanding salesmanship)? Are there verticals or market segments where your value proposition really seemed to connect?

This sort of honest, self-focused analysis will help you shape your priorities and sharpen your message as you emerge from the crisis and the green flag goes up for the race to restart.

Other Ways that You Can Put Your Slowdown to Good Use

  1. Data Hygiene and Cleanup: Cleaning up your sales database is the work equivalent of cleaning your garage at home. You don’t want to do it, and you manage to function while it’s dirty, but you’re so much better off after you’ve done it. Plus, if you want to lay the foundation to utilize data in a better, smarter way in the near future, it’s best to start from a clean palate. For some ideas on what that might look like, read this white paper or data-driven selling.
  2. Conduct Customer Polling and Outreach: Take the time to understand your customers better, especially those who are not overwhelmed by the crisis (good or bad...don’t call a customer who just laid off 30% of their staff). Ask them what they want and care about, what they want from a vendor, and how well you align with that. And remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them. If you deliver value and help customers reach their desired outcomes, everybody wins.
  3. Quantify the Value You’ve Delivered for Your Customers: Work with existing customers to articulate the outcomes that they’ve achieved and quantify the financial value that have benefited from as a result of the solutions that you’ve implemented for them. You may feel like you’re asking them for a favor, but remember, quantifying the value they’ve received from their purchase helps both parties.
  4. Enable Your Sales Teams with Outcome Selling Skills: We’ve heard several members say they are taking this time to do some training and up-skilling for their teams. TSIA recommends this. However, your future competitive differentiation will come from your ability to convey how your solutions contribute to your customers’ priority business outcomes. This requires a new set of capabilities at an individual seller level and requires your sales managers to reinforce a new set of behaviors. Use this time to upskill your people with these new muscles.

TSIA is Here for You

We understand that our member companies, the technology industry, and the world at large have been impacted by COVID-19. Now, more than ever, we need to work together to get through these challenging times. TSIA is committed to providing visibility as quickly as possible into the changing industry trends and practices that come as a result of COVID-19. Visit our Rapid Research Response Initiative resource page for more information.

If you have any questions related to how COVID-19 is impacting your organization, we’re here to help.

This blog is taken from TSIA’s report, “The COVID-19 To-Do List for Revenue Leaders.” It is available for both TSIA members and non-members.

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Steve Frost

About Author Steve Frost

Steve Frost is the vice president and managing director of revenue research and advisory for TSIA. He also serves as TSIA's vice president of CRO Council research, dedicated to revenue optimization. Throughout his career, he has held various leadership and business development roles at companies like Google, Netscape, and Loudcloud, helping them define their go-to-market strategy and business development tactics. Steve is dedicated to helping technology organizations grow their services, subscription, and XaaS revenue by optimizing their practices for growth throughout the customer lifecycle.

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