The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a drastic change in our lives. Almost everything changed in recent months: how we interact with our family and friends, how our children are taught in school and / or university, how we train our teams, how we connect with colleagues and clients, how we do sports and leisure activities… and the way we work and lead our teams. What at first was a necessity in response to forced confinement has now become our “new normal”, with great implications for everyone.
Facing these changes, a quote from the British philosopher and writer Alan Watts comes to my mind: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
We see it every day in our projects as consultants and trainers: there are companies that remain seated on the station bench, waiting for the “old normal” train to pass at sometime soon and others that decide to get on the train of change and take action. We cannot expect that the long-awaited vaccine will solve all the current barriers we confront in the face-to-face visits and that everything will return to the “old normal”.
We cannot expect that the long-awaited vaccine will solve all the current barriers we confront in the face-to-face visits and that everything will return to the “old normal”.
Excuse me for being so rude, but this pandemic has brought many changes that are not seasonal. In fact, according to a study by McKinsey & Company, 70-80% of B2B companies have already declared that they prefer remote interactions and services, and the reasons they state it are: the ease to schedule visits / meetings; savings in travel expenses; and security (because let’s not forget that “the bug” is still loose). Most of the CEOs interviewed stated that, at the beginning, they jumped on the “remote train” due to the demands of confinement, but now they choose it with the utmost conviction that it is the future.
70-80% of B2B companies have already declared that they prefer remote interactions and services
It is undeniable, and even more so for us as a Mediterranean country, that face-to-face contact with clients has nothing to do with interaction through screens; we must learn to work with the tools and the actual reality and get the most out of technology in this new situation.
Trying to replicate face-to-face visits exactly in a remote environment does not work; the context is different: the preparation of the visit and its follow-up will now carry much more weight than before. The rhythm will be different, the duration and the timings, too. The sales rep will have to prepare more than ever to undertake these remote visits. We have been working closely with our clients for months on business transformation projects, preparing their teams to become true “hybrid sales reps”.
But what is a “hybrid sales rep”?
He knows how to switch easily between the face-to-face and remote visits combining the skills and techniques of each of them. In short, he feels comfortable working in both worlds: face-to-face and digital. At the moment it is clear that these changes are here to stay (to a greater or lesser extent) and that these skills are essential; so everyone has to roll up their sleeves: the future is hybrid and it is here to stay!
Hybrid Sales Rep knows how to switch easily between the face-to-face and remote visits combining the skills and techniques of each of them.
There is no room for general “canned” courses or webinars on “teleworking” to carry out a shift in paradigm of this caliber. We must redesign a new tailor-made route-to-market that adapts to the new market forces and that delivers the best possible performance in the new environment.
It is not enough to prepare our teams to keep their heads out of the water, it is time teach them how to swim.