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In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 3, Dan offers a variety of tips on managing a sales team that is now working from home offices, as well as how to take advantage of this time for much-needed database "housekeeping."
Tip 5: Manage the Sales Team
Keep your customers close and your salespeople closer. Your salespeople are road warriors, whether they travel by planes, trains, or automobiles. They are used to being in front of customers, but they are not accustomed to staying in an office—especially if their office right now is their dining room. It is up to you to structure their time as much as possible. Set up frequent meetings with them. Have one-on-one meetings to mentor them through these strange times. Have team meetings so that they can talk to one another as well and increase the comradery. Limit negative talk about the virus and steer them to discussing business. You are the one who has to come up with ways not only to keep them productive but, more importantly, stay in front of the customers in whatever creative ways you can come up with. To my amazement, I have found that many salespeople don’t know how to work from home. As their manager, you have to teach them how.
Tip 6: Clean up Your Databases
The biggest thing you can do right now is to be productive. Get to those projects that, although they were important, were never at the top of the list to work on or you never seemed to have to time, but now you do. Sort through business cards you’ve collected and create a customer database or update your old one. The key is to work on projects that will make you a better salesperson when we get back to business as usual.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.