Incentra Insights

Adapting Sales Incentives during a Pandemic

Posted by David Chittock on Aug 20, 2020 11:23:00 AM

sales incentives during a pandemic

Creating a New Sales Playbook

Even though you’ve made some drastic changes to your sales strategies over the past few months, it looks like COVID-19 is going to be with us for the unforeseen future. This means we’re in a whole new ballgame and the old playbooks are just not going to work. You’re going to need an entirely new approach if you can ever hope to maintain a successful sales function and beat your competitors. So where do we start to succeed in this new environment?

A Guide for a New Sales Go-To-Market Strategy

Recently Sierra Venture, a venture Capital Company working with their portfolio companies, came up with a plan entitled Five Fundamental Sales Strategies During COVID-19. The plan was based on lessons learned from past recessions, and direct sentiments from senior technology executives on the Sierra Ventures CXO Advisory Board. The plan includes the following guidelines:

  • Communicate With and Motivate Your Team - Promptly educate your sales and marketing teams on new organizational expectations. Don’t play on fear; be aware and considerate of how everyone is feeling in this situation. Keep the teams incentivized when debating whether or not to make changes to compensation plans and/or quotas for your sales teams. Double your current schedule of update/check-in meetings and encourage communication outside of standing engagements.

  • Reset Your Strategic Plan and Engagement Strategies - Adjust forecasts, triage your pipeline, curb sales and marketing expenses, have an improved cash collection plan, move from a “proof of concept” to a “proof of value” approach, find alternatives to in-person demand generation,offer free trials and special deals, launch community support initiatives, and develop new products/services to support those affected by COVID-19.

  • Serve as a Partner to Current Customers - Proactively engage with customers; set up time with each of your customers to see how they are doing and discuss how things have changed for their business. Expect concession requests; customers will test if their providers are willing to build goodwill in this time of need. Encourage sales and customer success collaboration. This is a great opportunity to find ways for your sales and customer success teams to work together more closely.

  • Be Thoughtful When Selling to New Customers - The current climate will require new business development professionals to exhibit more creativity and thoughtfulness on how they engage with prospective customers. Be sensitive and empathetic to build trust and credibility. Determine if you’re essential vs. non-essential for their business. Make use of storytelling and case studies to earn the needed trust to advance the sales cycle. Have pre-crafted responses for COVID-related objections and make sure your sales team is trained to handle these conversations.

  • View Time as an Opportunity - Perform an audit of all the sales, marketing, and customer support business processes. Revise collateral and messaging to update your customer-facing materials. Implement internal think tanks to strategize and share ideas on ways to improve issues and practices that can drive results. Ensure you have the most updated contact information for the key buyers in each account. Improve your team’s skillset by mapping the weaknesses or areas of improvement that must be addressed.

Acquire a Robust Sales Incentive Technology Platform

Adapting your sales incentive strategies in response to COVID-19 is no easy task. Whether you have an in house sales team or sales channel partners, you’ll need an extraordinarily flexible technology platform to manage your shifting sales incentives environment. This is our wheelhouse. This is what we do. Give us a call.


Categories: Rewards Technology, Sales Incentives