This is how Sales professionals are REALLY approaching COVID-19

Change has impacted us all

 

We find ourselves working within unfamiliar frameworks, adjusting to a new normal and for all of us, this is not easy. In the midst of uncertainty, we believe the main thing to remember is that you’re not alone.

At the end of March, we launched our “Thriving In Sales” webinar series, dedicated to helping sales professionals adapt to the current disrupted world. Ian Helps, Director of Consalia, hosted a series of 60-minute webinars that reminded sales professionals about what they could be doing to further support prospects and customers in their time of need. The webinar sessions were delivered to over 5000 sales professionals from all over the world, as well as in-house at companies we worked closely with.

A core section of the webinars was dedicated to the ‘SARA curve’, which is a model used to describe an emotional process during any type of dramatic change in our lives. The four stages are as following:

  • (S)hock
  • (A)nger
  • (R)esistance
  • (A)cceptance

The image below shows additional stages that we believe are ‘mini-moments’ that sales professionals are currently going through.

Through these interactive webinars, we encouraged participation from all attendees and asked them to suggest where they felt they were on their own SARA curve, as well as asking them to share words that described how they were feeling. The results were very insightful!

7% of attendees were still in the beginning phases of the curve (change instigated, shock, loss, anger) which suggested that they were still coming to terms with what was happening in the world. A highly encouraging sign was that 55% of attendees felt that they were already at the start of the acceptance phase (32% within the hang-in point stage, 23% within early engagement respectively). The remaining 37% seemed to be in the latter stages of the acceptance phase (13% Buy-in stage and 24% Action stage). A very uplifting perspective to the strange times we are living in.

From one of our in-house sessions, Company A (as we’ll refer to them here) had a very positive outlook on the situation with 47% of attendees suggesting that they were in the Action phase. However, comparing this statistic with the following activity around sharing their words of feeling caused a few raised eyebrows in the Consalia camp – it seems as though there may be cause for concern amongst all the perceived positivity.

 

“Frustration”

We have been developing the diagnostics to help leaders surface the true feelings and change status of their teams. For example, with one webinar group, “frustration” was the most commonly used word to describe how attendees felt about the current situation. 47% of attendees in the session suggested they were in the Action phase, which is typified by a feeling of “flow” and getting things done. Are these people therefore truly in Action? Are some of the 47% actually in the Shock stage? This then allows for a more targeted conversation to probe further, for example in a coaching discussion between manager and employee.

 

Where do you feel you are on the SARA curve?

 

How can you progress through the stages?

 

Are you being true to yourself?

 

Having the right mindset

 

At Consalia, we regularly echo the concept of Mindsets through the ‘Thriving in Sales’ series and through our approach in the development of sales professionals. Mindsets are a set of values which enable sales success, which we developed through our extensive research into what makes successful salespeople. These are:

  • Authenticity – building credible trust with your customers
  • Client Centricity – customer at the heart of your approach
  • Proactive Creativity – thinking of ways your customer can succeed without waiting to be asked
  • Tactful Audacity – fearless approaches to solutions brought to your customer

Now, more than ever, Mindsets will play a huge part in how you shape the conversation with your customers.

 

Our message to you:

 

In today’s world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) it’s incredibly important to look after yourself first. It’s about going back to basics: ensuring you have a routine, taking regular breaks, exercising as well as switching off from the screen and making time for mindfulness and reflection. It’s when these basics are achieved that you can begin to look after others including your customers.

Having a heightened sense of awareness (harder said than done as we communicate through a screen now) and emotional agility has arguably never been so important. You may identify yourself as being on the right side of the SARA curve but that doesn’t mean your colleagues are, or that the other person at the end of the line is. Through our data, it is evident that the closer you are to the frontline of sales (think demand generation) the more to the left on the curve you are. If you’re reading this as a sales leader, make sure your team feels supported.

Operate from Authenticity; be open and honest with one another, check in and be available. Ask questions like how can we help you through this uncertainty? After all, we’re not alone in isolation!

 

What can you do next?

Remember, this is not just about Sales. It is about the human side of adapting to the disruption, looking after yourself, learning to thrive in new circumstances and to find new and creative ways of helping your customers, right now.

In the next webinar of the ‘Thriving in Sales’ series, we’ll be looking at how you can kick start your preparation to thrive, as well as the steps you need to take before getting back to work. Over 97% of attendees from the in-house webinar session said that the learnings taken from the webinar will help improve their work performance going forward.

To schedule an in-house webinar where Consalia take your employees through a private session, please contact Will Squire at wsquire@consalia.com.

 

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

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